Keloid Treatments and Home Remedies

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List of selected comments and questions/answers

  1. When a keloid might not be a keloid
  2. Keloids that spread / recurring infections
  3. Surgery-related scarring and internal keloids
  4. Can tattoos lead to keloids?
  5. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can lead to irritation
  6. Special precautions when using garlic
  7. Keloid formation is linked to iodine deficiency in diet
  8. Iodine — applying it topically on keloids and ingesting it
  9. Why are most home remedies not sold commercially by pharmaceutical companies?
  10. Itching and pain associated with keloids
  11. How to remove remaining scar tissue after successful keloid treatment

Other keloid remedies and assorted advice/observations

–  Cutting off blood circulation to the keloid by tying it off with a string or rubber band
–  Contractubex gel
–  Healthier diet (more fruits and vegetables)
–  Foods that affect keloids
–  Silicea
–  Kenalog injections and silicone gel sheets
–  Castor oil
–  Tea tree oil
–  Silver nitrate
–  Tips for preventing keloids in the first place
–  Tip for those considering surgery to remove their keloids

Poll (closed) — which keloid treatment method has worked best for you?

What are keloids?

Keloid formation is a topic that desperately requires more medical research and attention. Keloids are scars that have continued to grow past the size of the original wound. Some keloids occur on parts of the body that restrict movement. Some cause pain and itching.

They can afflict people of all races, but tend to occur most frequently across races with darker skin tones like Asians, Hispanics, Italians, and Blacks. The Japanese tend to not have keloid scarring, probably as keloids  are linked to iodine deficiency and the traditional Japanese diet is rich in iodine (seaweed). Keloids may also be hereditary.

Why are keloids so difficult to treat?

Often, keloids grow larger with further injury. Treatments like surgical excisions and lasers can cause keloids to grow even larger.

Keloid treatment is also tricky because results tend to vary across treatments. Treatments like corticosteroid injections have worked well for some people, but made some cases worse, and others to work initially, then rebound.

Some traditional chinese medicine (TCM) have also worked well for some, but not all.

Newly-formed keloids also respond better to treatments than old ones.

Because of these, I can’t recommend anything as being the “definitive treatment”. Instead, I have compiled a list of treatments that have been known to produce results for some. Thus, a combination of treatments may be the best answer.

If you have had success in treating your keloid, please help others with this quick poll on which method worked best for you. 

Commercial treatments that may work

  • Silicone dressing
  • Steroid injections
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Hei Ba Gao paste (TCM/traditional Chinese medicine)
  • Tea tree oil

A lot has already been written online about the above commercial treatments, so I won’t go into further detail here.

Home remedies that may work

  • Make a paste by mixing one part baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and one part 3% hydrogen peroxide. Apply directly on keloid, and reapply as necessary.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar (ACV) on the keloid and let dry. Re-apply every half hour and do this for at least several hours. If ACV is too irritating, you can safely dilute it with water. (Rebecca kindly shared her method of applying ACV here and described her progress here. Her keloid is 2 years old and on her chest. )
  • Make a thick paste by crushing aspirin and mixing it with water. Apply directly on keloid, and reapply as necessary. (Sarah shared her method here, “First crush about 3 aspirin tablets into a powder. Then add only a few drops of water, until the mixture becomes a paste.Apply it on the keloid with a Q-tip and let the mixture dry (about 15-20 minutes) and then wash it off rubbing gently with water. This can be repeated once everyday until the keloid goes away. I only did this twice along with the tea tree oil and it worked. Also, for anyone who just got a piercing, I would highly recommend H2Ocean antiseptic.”
  • Garlic oil or crushed garlic (use with utmost caution and wash off should you feel too much burning!)
  • Potassium Iodide/Iodine is another simple remedy that may work well on keloids. Apply it over the keloid several times a day until you see some flattening. Look for SSKI (Saturated Solution Potassium Iodide) at health food stores and pharmacies. If you cannot obtain SSKI or have difficulty doing so, a weaker substitute can be found in Lugol’s Solution. Lugol’s Solution is a simple mixture of potassium iodide, iodine, and water and can be bought at most aquarium/pet fish stores.

More about iodine

Painting iodine over keloids & iodine supplementation to prevent keloids

There are also claims that topical iodine application (usually used as an antiseptic on cuts and wounds) can minimize scar formation. Iodine has the ability to trigger natural cell death (or apoptosis). Thus, repeat applications of iodine on a lesion causes it to be replaced by new skin.

For more about this, I recommend reading Dr. David Derry’s article. In it, he says, “From my own clinical experience, repeated application of iodine to the skin appears to cause regeneration of the skin from the bottom up (stem cell) — eventually sloughing the old version of the skin off like a snake molting. If there was a pre-cancerous lesion on the old skin, it is replaced with new skin minus the lesion. There does not seem to be any skin lesions which are not helped or cured by this procedure.”

Here is a case study of a housewife (opens a pdf) who was treated with Iodex (an iodine salve). She had an 8cm-long scar which restricted the movement of her toe. After 6 months of using Iodex, she regained a normal range of motion.

As keloid formation is linked to iodine deficiency, ingesting an iodine supplement (e.g. Iodoral) may also help reduce keloid scars from the inside out or prevent them from occuring in the first place. However, if you want to supplement with iodine, I give you this friendly warning: prepare yourself sufficiently first by reading about iodine supplementation and bromism. This is because iodine supplements such as Iodoral will cause some very undesirable detox symptoms including acne and body aches.

Iodine supplementation displaces poisons from your cells such as bromide and heavy metals, leading to a heavy load on your kidneys and liver. Therefore, tread lightly and read up for your own health before starting. Here is an excellent place to start: Iodine and Orthoiodosupplementation

How home remedies help keloids: by treating the infection underneath

The home remedies above are based on the belief that keloids form because there was an infection (viral, bacterial or fungal) left behind when the wound was first created.

Because the infection remained, the body creates excess scar tissue in response to the irritant. This effectively “encases” the problem infection by blocking it off from the rest of the body.

With the thickened scar tissue in place, blood circulation in the keloid becomes much more hindered. This makes it even harder for the body to slowly dissolve the scar on its own – so the keloid remains indefinitely.

And since the root of the infection remains buried underneath, the keloid remains volatile and will continue to produce more tissue should it encounter further damage or injury along the way.

Thus, treating the infection is the crux of the matter when it comes to the home remedy methods.

To jumpstart the breaking down of your keloids, consider fasting. Fasting has numerous health benefits, and can help reduce keloids because without food, your body will scavenge for dead and diseased cells, burning them up for energy. These includes excess collagen and abnormal cells in keloids and hypertrophic scars. Larisa kindly shared about how fasting helped reduce one of her newer keloid scars here (thanks Larisa!).


List of Selected Comments and Questions/Answers

Over time, this page has gotten a long list of comments. Some of these comments had valuable information in them, but I feared that they might be overlooked by most visitors. So I decided to create this list of more significant comments by topic.

  • I update this list periodically as more comments come in.
  • This section includes extracts of the selected comments for easy reading.
  • Thank You to all the commenters for sharing!

// ]]>

1. When a keloid might not be a keloid

  • Piercing-related bump

Many people have reported that they developed bumps shortly after getting piercings. Most of the time, these are not keloids but are simply infected bumps. If the bump resembles a blister, is soft to the touch and appear to contain some liquid, then it’s probably not a keloid. These piercing-related bumps can still be treated with the remedies though, and several have reported good results using ACV and sea salt soaks.

Chris said, “I just got a double eye brow piercing 2 months ago, within the last 2 days i noticed something that might be a keloid. He also said it “seems to be fairly soft to the touch, it has a bit of give when pressed lightly, it seems possible that it does contain fluids.”

Karen said, “It has been about a month that I’ve have a keloid on my tragus from a piercing I believe I did not clean well. Another keloid started to grow on the other side of the original keloid, so it was in my ear. Two days ago, the inside keloid “popped” blood…”.

Within a week Karen reported back to say that her bump had shrunk after her sea salt soaks, “My bump shrunk to half its size with the soaking! However, the bump on the inside of my ear is slowly growing back.”

Paulina commented with, “I just got my tongue re-pierced about 5 days ago and i have a small bump next to my piercing. i went back to the place where i got it done and they said it could be a keloid”

Mel said, “I’ve had my ear pierced for over 8 years now. I have a keloid on my right ear which is quite large. I am going to see a plastic surgeon next month to have it removed. That keloid developed soon after I first got the piercing. I have not worn an earing in either ear in close to 7 years. However I’ve noticed yesterday that the other ear, which has been fine all these years, has a small bump that is a bit painful. I am terrified that a keliod might be forming there as well.” She later reported that ACV successfully removed the growing bump on her other ear.

sam said, “i had piercing 4 yrs. ago, then my ear got infected because the piercing created a wound when i was about to put my earrings in, then after that i didn’t wore my earrings anymore but after a few weeks a bump in the back of my ear started to grow then after a few months it became larger and larger and and up to this time its about 6x the size of what wasst back then, is the bump in the back of my ear a keloid or something else”

Kirsty said, “I had my nose pierced approx 5 weeks ago and it has healed pretty well up until the last week or so where now it has raised skin up around half of the edge of the stud and bleeds a little now and then when I clean it. Its seems soft to the touch and similarly resembles that of a blood blister.” She later gave an update to say that it was an infected bump and not a keloid and that she successfully treated it with Betadine (Betadine is an over-the-counter iodine-based antiseptic). She said, “Every night since then I have applied it and it scabbed bit by bit and the lump has completely healed up apart from some slight redness which I put down to it being a fairly new piercing still. I now believe it was a small infection and Betadine is developed to heal that type of thing.”

  • Hypertrophic/raised scars

Faye said “I have a scar that formed on my nostril after a scratch and the scar itself wont heal. It’s not a scab that forms, but it seems like overgrowth of flesh colored skin that can be picked off like a scab. On the occasions that it is picked off, there’s a small area that looks like an unhealed cut. The skin under the “scab” forms a small bump and it’s the same color as the rest of the skin.”

2. Keloids that spread / recurring infections

Marie first shared about her keloids that would get better then “return with a vengence”. Her steroid injections were not helpful and antibiotics didn’t work. Marie later kindly commented again to report that her recurring infections has stopped after using ACV twice a day. The keloid remains but there has been a “slight flattening” to it. It is also less red and itchy.

Marie reported back her results after using the ACV method for about 6-7 months. The keloids on her chest are now lighter in colour and the recurring infections have ceased. Althought her keloids are not getting smaller, they are also not getting bigger. She also advised other users of the ACV method not to rub in the ACV but just pat it on and around the keloid.

She later came back with her long-term results and experience from using ACV, in that ACV has stopped working as her keloid has grown immune to it.

Marie wrote, “ACV helps during the initial weeks but the keloid has since turned immune to ACV. Every now and then the keloid on my chest ooze pus and it can get extremely painful. Seen G.P. and was given antibiotic on many occasions. I have also developed an immunity to antibiotics. Eventually I was referred to consult a skin specialist at the renowned National Skin Centre.

The Specialist told me there are two sinus tracks that where the pus is oozing from. Two cultures were taken with no bacteria found. The last option is to laser the keloid and try and clean out the tracks and hopefully keloid would grow and cover the tracks.

So with no other option, I went through a very painful laser procedure just yesterday. The laser itself was alright, its the first 3 injections and pressing the keloid to rid the sec of pus that really hurts. I will probably have to go for follow-up kenacort injections in the coming months which I dread. The Prof. who did the laser said he is not sure if this will help. So I can only look towards God for a miracle.”

Laura wrote, “I have had keloids on my chest for several decades. Originally they were both sebaceous cysts that were removed by a dermatologist, that had become keloids. Following that I had them reincised by a plastic surgeon, which only served to create two larger keloids. They tried giving me an androgen block creme, and later, cortisone injections (in the chest which I do NOT recommend); it was EXTREMELY painful!

Eventually, one of them flattened out a bit, but the hole of the injection site is still visible. I can’t say that It really helped, and now I will not do anything that is not a natural treatment. Over the years, I can say that I have had the redness of these scars seem to have MIGRATED across my chest/breast area. One previously whole scar, had now split into two smaller, red scars, with “normal” skin in between. It is very strange. As the scar tissue is quite dense, I try to massage the scars, though it is uncomfortable, but am hoping to help break up the dense tissue.

I should say that originally these mostly came about from “picking”. Though some of the migrated ones just came up out of what appears to be nowhere.”

3. Surgery-related scarring and internal keloids

Merlin developed internal keloids from surgery to remove uterine fibroids. She writes, “I did surgery to remove fibroids and a year after my surgery, I started to develop this swelling which became very painful especially during my menstrual cycle. Over the past years, it has become very hard and it’s only on one side of the cut that I have it.”

Amy’s keloids came from a mastoidectomy, or surgery behind the ear. She said “I have a round “growth” or “swelling” behind my earlobe – in the part that connects the head to the ear. It is soft, not hard like a sebaceous cyst (which I suffer from on other parts of my body). This feels like a water blister at first touch, but if you press more is a bit harder than softer. I am diabetic.

1) My derm said it was a cyst.

2) My ENT said it was a “skin infection”. He said there was nothing to drain. Put me on antibiotics 2x a day 300 mg. ”

Ruth developed keloids accompanied with pain following several knee surgeries. She said “I have had several operations on my knee (years ago) and as a result I had developed a lot of scar tissue (keloids?) in there. I also have Chondromalacia. I have had pain in my knee since the operations.”

Joanna had keloids following a skin graft. Her keloids formed both on the donor site (her calf) and the recipient site (her thigh). She said “I had a skin graft done about six months ago on my calf and the donor skin was from the side of my thigh. Now I have Keloids on both of the wounds and the donor skin on the side of my thigh is 3×4 inches big and it is all Keloids. Before I had problems with the donor side I used Mederma and a had a bad reaction to it. So, afterwords my doner side was very itchy, red and had a bumpy texture.”

Mark’s keloids formed internally following spinal fusion surgery and are threatening to choke his nerve root sheaths. He said “Four months ago, I had Spinal Fusion Surgery. Now I am told that there is Keloid Scarring building up inside my back. Eventually it will choke off the nerve root sheaths. An MRI shows that the scar tissue is already to dense to differentiate between the scar or nerve tissue. Subsequently… no surgery possible.”

If anyone has any information that can help Mark, pls share it with us through the comments.

Wayne developed keloids following an otoplasty, or surgery to pin back the ears. He writes, “I had me ears pinned back when I was 11 (28 now) and have had about 8 ops to remove the keloids surgically, they reform every time and continue growing…”

4. Can tattoos lead to keloids?

Merlin asked, “could Keloids develop with Tattoos, as I am contemplating of getting one done.”

My answer: Yes, tattoos can cause keloids if you’re prone to getting them. If you do decide to get a tattoo, be sure to take extra precautions to avoid infection during the critical healing period. Keloid formation is also tied to iodine deficiency, so it’s a good idea to take iodine supplements prior to getting the tattoo and for some time after.

Alek mentioned his own experience post-tattoo, “i have got something like keloid after having my tattoo done, the flowers with red ink got swollen, n kinda hard, ,black ink doesn’t, its been like this for 3 months, please tell me what should i do?”

If anyone has experience with tattoo scarring and healing, please share any insights you have.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar can lead to irritation

(solution: dilute the ACV with water)

Apple Cider Vinegar applied on the skin can sting and lead to redness as it is quite acidic. To minimize any discomfort and the risk of further injury, it might be necessary to dilute your ACV with some water and/or reducing the number of daily applications. Sometimes a break may also be necessary to give the skin time to rest and heal.

Ian writes, “I tried using ACV and following your advise to another person applied it overnight to the affected area soaked into cotton wool. Unfortunately this resulted in a slight “burning” of the surrounding skin, leaving it very inflamed and dry.”

filly wrote “i have tried both apple cider vinegar and baking soda/hydrogen peroxide and it has some effect on my keloid. I found that after using acv it started to dry out my keloid, but also got my keloid very irritated to the point that it has grew a bit bigger. the acv is very harsh on the skin and it gives u a stinging sensation.”

filly’s 2nd comment: “after 3 days of ACV application on my keloid i can see something happening i have noticed that the color of my keloid has changed from darker red to lighter red and also it has gone softer. now im hoping that it will flatten my keloid after a month. i got to admit that it actually burns and sting when you use ACV. my theory is that when you use ACV its actually burning or cooking the keloid. its like applying a vinegar to a raw meat it will eventually will cook the meat.”

Amir used ACV pretty aggressively. He wrote, “I have been reapplying the ACV on the keyloid around 5-6 times per day, After the 1st day, every time I reapply the ACV, the keyloid stings for a while and gets kind of an intense sting at times, although I am bearing it. Occasionally, the keyloid bleeds as soon as I apply ACV on it. Also, the keyloid sometimes has some clear liquid forming on it. I just wipe it off and reapply the ACV again. I’ve noticed that some scabs have formed on the keyloid. I think it has flattened some, and narrowed as well, although it is hard to tell. It does appear to be breaking down however, as some parts of the keyloid are scabbed and some skin has “burned” off as the keyloid isn’t smooth anymore. Some places on the keyloid, it seems like more skin has “burned” off. Another thing is that the keyloid is more sensitive to pain. It slightly hurts when I touch the keyloid. And putting normal t-shirts on irritates the keyloid as the shirt is rubbing on it. It itches more often, and is more volatile, by giving those sudden twinging pains that those who have keyloids KNOW what I’m talking about. I just hope and pray that this ACV is working, because I do perceive the keyloid to be shrinking.”

Sharon Brown wrote, “I saw the comments about the apple cider vinegar and decided to try it. At first the keloid on my ear began to look so irritated, I almost stopped. I was putting a soaked cotton ball on it and used a band aid to hold it in place. The vinegar actually is dissolving the keloid, within one week my keloid is half the size it used to be.”

Chris wrote “I decided to try the ACV method (also drinking 2 tablespoons a day). I use a q-tip and just run it along my keloids on my jaw. It stings for a little while, but it’s not unbearable. I do this about 10 times a day. The keloids seem to have dried out, but they’ve also become very red”

Felix wrote, “I place a cotton ball with ACV behind my ear on the keloid and tape it in place. What I have noticed (I have been doing this for only a day) is that this seems to only make the keloid worse (maybe my imagination but I cannot be sure I’m already self-conscious enough about this).”  Felix also talks about how his keloid tends to act up in winter. One year later, Felix kindly came back to share his update here where he also gave more details about the effect of the weather/changing temperature has on his keloid.

Amanda gave a detailed account of using ACV over 5 weeks. So far, her 7-year old keloid has shrunk and flattened. She also gives some tips and advice.

She wrote:

Hi everyone,
I have to say thankyou to Sam, and the contributing members. I am a keloid sufferer myself, my case isn’t as severe though. I just thought I would contribute my story because I promised myself that IF one of the remedies suggested here works on minimizing or leaves no trace of my keloid, I would comment. And, so here I am.
Anyways my keloid is approximately 1.5cm wide, the thickness I would say 0.5cm and is located on my chest. My keloid is 7 years old, had it since I was 15 and now I am 22. In the duration of ‘on and off’ again treatment of ACV (apple cider vinegar – ‘Cornwells premium ACV’ 100% natural) for 2 months, it has shrunk to 1cm in width and has flattened a little out. Here’s my procedure:
1) Rip a cotton ball in half, stretch it out so that it covers your keloid completely. Make sure that the cotton you’ve stretched out isn’t too thick, because in that case the cotton ball WILL be eating up the ACV rather than your keloid!
2) Dip the cotton in ACV, make sure its not drenched. You don’t want it dripping on your skin, but you do want it wet enough. What I do is because my ACV is in a glass bottle and has an opening of 2cm wide, I just place the cotton on the opening and tip the bottle slightly to get the cotton wet enough. (Try to make sure that your cotton has some dry sections so that you can place sticky tape onto your skin properly to hold it in place on the keloid).
3) Place cotton onto keloid, use sticky tape to hold it in place.
4) Once the cotton is dried up (usually close to 1 hr or so), replace the cotton and do the whole procedure again throughout the day, and when it comes to night just leave it on till morning.
*Note: This procedure won’t work for everyone, but of course there is hope that it will. Persistance is the key, so keep trying and do NOT give up. I think this is a better solution than going for surgery or injections because it’s inexpensive and it is of course natural. By the way, these procedures are just an outline, you can do the application however you want to do it, the objective is to have ACV on the keloid.
My first few experiences in about a week of continuous treatment. What I did notice was that my keloid tingled and was looking more pinky-red and had little circular pus like growths underneath the skin. Also my healthy skin was affected by the ACV as well, because I drenched my cotton in ACV and taped it drenched. So that was a lesson to be learnt! And, signs of laziness lol.
Second week, I left the keloid alone because it started to swell, and plus I didn’t want to further damage my healthy skin. What I did do was clean it with water and then WIPED it with ACV and left it alone to aerate.
Third week, I did the whole procedure again, yet it wasn’t as consistent as the first week. Yes I saw improvement, the pus-like undergrowth surfaced had popped itself and left a little hole in the keloid. During the third week, for some reason I started to experiment and poked the keloid with a pin which I doused in ACV prior to doing that. It hurt, but I didn’t care, my mentality was to just get rid of it. The next morning after that, it was swollen and it hurted. But nothing that I couldn’t handle. What I did was just put ice on it to stop the swelling. It went down and after that I left it to recover for 2 days only.
Fourth week, keloid was turning black and was scabbing. I was very excited indeed. On-off application once again. (I get lazy, plus I had exams to study for). During that week, scab fell off and it turned yellowy-white looking, and looked smaller as well.
Fifth week till now, I don’t put it on as frequent as the earlier days, probably 3 times weekly or less. Progress of keloid continues to improve with each week. I will update you guys if you want, but everything seems to be going to plan. Outcome: keloid = dead. lol
In conclusion, I would say do give it a try. And, you know DON’T put ACV on when you’re going out, because you do smell funny. My sister said the ACV made me smell like BAD FEET ODOUR LOL. Which I thought to myself, “yeah right”. I thought I smelt like salt and vinegar chips instead… apparently not as my mum thought the same thing as my sister! But yeah weekend and night time application is good enough to keep continually killing the keloid. Be patient, and take note of what you see and feel, because you are the one who can determine whether it is working for you or not. So you know, common sense says if your keloid is swelling up or inflamed, give it a break from ACV. And, when you do go out, well since mine is on my chest I first wipe it down with ACV, then put a bandaid on it. When I come home, I shower then re-apply as normal again.
Anyways I hope this helps all you lot out, my voice is just to confirm the suggested application on this site has contributed to the ‘downsizing’ of my keloid. =)

Amanda later followed up with another update and a recommendation for a balm called Agnijith:

Hey guys! I’m back again. I stopped using ACV, as I ran out of it. As I stopped it grew back again. Filling up the holes the ACV made, its still the same size as it was without the ACV, thank goodness. Although I would have preferred if it just disappeared altogether. Anyways, I’ve found something that is a reasonable price it is from India. I happened to stumble across this website.

It’s a balm called AGNIJITH. It treats burns, keloids etc. Heres the website I do believe in this product, as I have this little protruding scar from an insect bite and I just applied Agnijith balm for the heck of it for one day. And…surprisingly next morning, its noticeably flatter. So guys this is a natural remedy, and I recommend you do check out the website, it sounds very promising. It cost me 76.38 Australian dollars, it is priced at $75 US for 90 Gms, which I believe is quite reasonable. Check out the testimonials, read the articles etc.

I know all of you guys were hopeful regarding ACV, it did help, but its quite impractical for me to walk around stinking like foot odour all day long lol. But, guys I know how you are all feeling, and it is disappointing to find out it didnt really work, but then again, who knows ACV may work for you as it has for others.

All the best to everyone, and I’ll inform you guys on my Agnijith balm progress on my keloid. BTW I am not advertising their products, I am just helping you guys seek other alternatives. I will get back to you guys within a months time, or even sooner than that!

Deb wrote “…I bought some Apple Cider Vinegar and applied it on my scar at night, reapplying with a cotton bud once dry. I would also dab a bit of cotton wool with ACV and tape it to my scar over night. Some nights I would hold off taping the cotton wool with Apple Cider Vinegar to my arm as it would sometime irritate and sting but I knew the irritation was from the scar being broken down so kept at it. Eventually the ACV broke down the my whole scar, amazingly it never destroyed the healthy skin. This took about 3-4 weeks for the Apple Cider Vinegar to break down the keloid, I now have flat pinky skin surrounded by healthy skin so I have stopped using the Apple Cider Vinegar and I am now using natural oils to promote healthy skin to grow…It took about 4/5 days to notice that the ACV was working. At times it did feel like it was getting worse as the scar would swell and start to pus in different places on the scar but this would eventually scab and fade after bathing…For now I would say that ACV was a God send and I just can’t believe I never knew about this earlier in my life. “

6. Take special care when using garlic on skin

Terri asked, “What do you mean by using caution on pressed garlic or garlic oil? Is some burning ok?”

My advice about using garlic as a home remedy was: “Raw garlic on the skin can be extremely harsh and needs to be monitored carefully. Some mild stinging localized on the keloid is okay and can be expected, but overuse easily injures the surrounding skin and the keloid itself (can lead to bleeding if left on too long, its that powerful).

If you do use garlic, protect the healthy skin around the keloid with a layer of Vaseline or other skin oil. It’s also best to take it very slow in the beginning so you’re able to understand its strength and effects first.”

7. Keloid formation is linked to iodine deficiency in diet

Terri was fearful of developing keloids following cataract surgery and wanted to know what she could do to minimize the chances of getting one as she is prone to getting them.

My advice to her was, “If you find that you’re prone to getting keloids, your body might be lacking in the mineral iodine. You can check with a very simple patch test – paint a circle of brown iodine over an area of your skin, like your inner arm or stomach. If the color disappears in less than 24 hours (i.e. your skin sucks it up), you’re iodine deficient.

Thus, its a good idea to get your iodine levels to a healthy point again prior to any surgery (or any type of skin injury for that matter) to prevent new keloids from forming. One way to do this is by painting your skin with iodine each day until you find that the color stays on the skin for 24 hours and longer.”

8. Applying iodine on a keloid and ingesting iodine

Scott kindly shared his initial experience in using iodine topically and through a supplement. After 1-2 months, his results are very encouraging. He wrote the following:

“Iodine Seems to be Working! Hey everyone, I’ve read every bit of information on this site up and down. I’ve had a keloid scar on my chest for over 2 years, which came from acne (I believe). It started out as a very small bump, but has grown to a nickel sized red lump. It has really driven me crazy, I’m pretty self conscious about it. I promised myself if I ever found something that seemed to be working, I’d post about it here!

I’ve had it injected several times, but It never seemed to do much. I’ve also tried scarguard silicone gel, with little results.

I read about using Iodine, as potassium iodide, and thought I’d give it a try. I purchased a product called Liqui-Dulse. It’s a liquid iodine supplement you’re supposed ingest it by putting it in a glass of water, but I apply it straight to the Keloid topically. It’s key ingredients are Glycerin, Water, Dulse Palmaria Palmala and Potassium Iodide.

I put a few droplets on the keloid, then massage it in for several minutes. Then I put a few more drops on, cover it with a band-aid then go about my day like normal. Two or three times a day, or whenever I think about it, I pull the band-aid back, apply 3-4 more drops, then re-apply the band-aid.

After the past month or so of doing this, for the first time ever I see a difference in my Keloid!

The edges are softening, and diameter is shrinking. The redness is calming down. And one particular section of the Keloid (which gives me the most hope) has almost totally flattened AND new healthy skin appears to have grown over it! This healthy skin patch started out small, but has grown and covered about a 5th of the keloid. It grew to this size in about 2 weeks. The healthy skin seems to be continuing to grow.

Just thought I’d share this!

Also, for about 2 months I’ve been taking a multivitamin that contains 100% daily value of iodine and Vitamin E capsules. It’s hard to say which treatment is helping more… but I can say that the “healthy skin patch” never started growing until I applied the Liqui-Dulse.”

9. Why most home remedies are not sold commercially by pharmaceutical companies

Nowayz‘s question was “does ACV truly helps? why i surf so many webs but none of professionals said dat can use ACV?”.

My response was, “You won’t find home remedies being promoted by pharmaceutical companies even if they work because these natural ingredients cannot be patented. No patent=No massive profits to be made.”

(Nowayz also later reported success in the drying of his keloid.)

10. Itching and pain commonly associated with keloids (and when first using the remedies)

Emma wrote, “my keloids are in the chest, and they often itch. My keloids are caused by acne and pressed strongly by the nurse to let the thing in the acne out, but she did not succeed.”

Jules wrote, “My case is very similar to Dina’s – my keloid is on my chest, about 1 and a half centimetres wide and the same in length. It’s a dark pink colour, can get very itchy (especially after I drink) and hurts for no reason. I’ve had it since before 2003. I’m in my early 20s and it’s been a nightmare trying to find clothes that will hide it as nearly everything is v-necked and low-cut!”

Jules also kindly reported back later after using ACV, “I’ve been using ACV about 3 or 4 times a day, and it stings a little sometimes but not as badly as I mentioned before. My scar feels different now, it’s a little softer and I’ve noticed it’s flatter in the mornings (though this might also have been the case before i started using ACV). The big change is that the occasional sharp pains and itching have mainly disappeared, which is fantastic.”

11. How to remove remaining scar tissue after successful keloid treatment

Jules first wrote to ask if keloids can ever fully disappear, “…I am really keen to try the ACV after hearing what people have said. I understand that not everything will work for everyone, but I was wondering how much I can expect the scar to die down? Can it ever fully disappear? “

I responded, “If the remedies work you can expect some flattening and an improvement in the color. The itch should also be gone. However, there might remain scar tissue from the original wound, so that it would resemble a regular hypertrophic (raised) scar.

Jules later came back with an update to say that ACV has helped with her keloid’s pain and itching. She wrote, “I’ve been using ACV about 3 or 4 times a day, and it stings a little sometimes but not as badly as I mentioned before. My scar feels different now, it’s a little softer and I’ve noticed it’s flatter in the mornings (though this might also have been the case before i started using ACV). The big change is that the occasional sharp pains and itching have mainly disappeared, which is fantastic. Let’s hope I will see some change in the appearance as well.”

More on reducing scars (updated April 2011):

I had previously recommended using copper peptide creams to reduce (and possibly remove) leftover scar tissue. However, after using castor oil for several months on some very old and tough scars, I have to say that castor oil appears to work just as well at reducing scars (and maybe even better).

Castor oil is also much cheaper than copper peptide products and is all-natural (no chemicals). I’ve actually managed to remove a deep burn scar using castor oil (before-and-after photos).


jo asked me about copper peptides and how they can reduce scar tissue, when it is stated that they increase collagen formation. This led me to do some research.

I replied: “Hi jo, that’s actually a very good question. I don’t know the mechanics of it well enough to give you a proper explanation, but I think copper peptides may work to replace the excess collagen (type 1 & 3 collagen) in keloids with the healthy type over time.

I also found this in Roenigk & Roenigk’s dermatologic surgery (By Randall K. Roenigk, Henry H. Roenigk), which you might find interesting:

“Excessive collagen deposition is a hallmark of keloids. Keloid scars are composed of both Type I and Type III collagen… The collagen cross-linking in keloidal scars has been shown to be abnormal. This has been postulated to be due to a decrease in lysyl oxidase activity. This enzyme is copper dependent, and keloids have been shown to be copper deficient.

Additionally keloidal collagen is more acid soluble than normal dermal collagen. The collagen found in keloids is less mature and less stable than that found in normal skin.”

I’m not sure if the “copper deficiency” part means anything or is just a coincidence… but regardless, it seems that not all collagen are alike.

The above is just an extract. If you want to read it in fuller detail, there’s a preview of this page in Google Books, page 612. “

Other keloid remedies recommended by commenters

Cutting off the blood circulation to the keloid by tying it off with a string

Read earloid’s comment that first mentioned this method.

Taquaya commented that she tried tying off her keloid with string for 3 days and the results were so painful that she had to go to the emergency department.

She wrote, “I have not so good news. I always knew the string method was painful, but after 3 days of little sleep and excruciating pain, I had to remove the string to see what changes my skin was undergoing. The keloid is very tender and swollen now. In my eyes it looks worse than before.

To top that of, the skin surrounding the keloid was rubbed RAW. It is so painful that my eyes often fill with tears. I’ve been forced to make an emergency appointment with my doctor. Over the counter pain-killers are doing nothing for the pain. I’ve started stressing and losing my appetite because of the agony and discomfort. Even though I was applying Tea Tree oil and Vitamin E oil to the skin, it still got swollen, inflamed, and possibly infected.

My keloid was bothering me before all this, but it is killing me now. All I wanted was to get this thing off. I hope my doctor gives me something to combat infection and something STRONG to ease the pain.

I was a fool to believe that because some people had success using the string method that I too would be able to endure the pain and trauma to the skin. For those who are considering the string method, don’t do it. It is a long painful process. I just took a bad situation and made it 10x worse.”

Claudius had a more positive experience with this method. He said: “Tying a string around the base of the keloid really does work, it is severely painful but effective. I tie it around the keloid on both of my ears in 2 weeks they fell off, & my earlobes r not hard so nothing is growing back. Once I got the keloid on my left ear remove for $600 and it grow back twice the size, becuz my earlobes was hard after they remove it, so it was still there and then I got it on both ears & they wanted $3000 to remove them, so I tie a string around the keloid and bear with the pain for 2 week. It is worth the pain not $3000 the string cutts into the keloid & it bleeds a little so don’t be scared just try it, it worked 4 me.”

‘hold in there’ warned that while this method was painful, it eventually caused his keloid to dry and fall off.

He said: “I have had a keloid for 6 years. I had surgery to remove it 3 years ago and continued with the cortizone shots-both were painful. It grew back and continued to grow.

I decided to use the string method. Now the string method was not pretty and it did take a month to complete the process. It took longer because to avoid infection, I retied and applied cortizone every night. Yes, sometimes when the string is tied it can be painful, but eventually the keloid started drying and fell off. It has only been a few weeks and I am currently monitoring the progress. I can say that during my last doctor visit he pretty much left me with no other recourse.

P.S. I have tried the ACV method with no results. Will keep you up to date.”

In 2010, Destyni successfully removed a keloid on her right ear after six weeks. One year later, she returned to report her success with removing the remaining keloid on her left ear (scroll down to read all her comments in chronological order).

On 12 May 2010, she commented: “my right keloid is GONE! It took 6 weeks. 3 days ago it turned extremely black and hard and was hanging by a thin layer of “ear meat” i cut it with scissors. I didnt even feel a pinch. 1 keloid down.. 1 to go!!”

On 18 June 2010, she kindly shared some before-and-after pictures of her keloid after using the string method.

“i cant believe its actually gone. there is a rash on my neck from all the dried up blood that accumulated every night while sleep. anyway.”

Destyni’s before-and-after photos:

Throughout her journey, she gave some helpful progressive updates as well.

11 April 2010
i have a keloid on each of my ears. Very big and ugly.
I am currently on day 6 of the string method. Let me first say IT HURTS LIKE HELL. its very hard to sleep and i get headaches frequently. i have changed the string once. i noticed 2 days ago the keloid is starting to detach itself from my ear. so i cleaned the open area with mild soap and warm water and tied another string which was the worst pain ive yet to experience. I have had these keloids for about 6 years. I am tired of having to wear long hair to cover them. im hoping that by summer, they will be long gone and i can wear my hair in a pony tail. I will keep updating and possibly providing before and AFTER photos.

oh and let me add, my keloids are starting to leak and i have minimal bleeding and the leakage has an awful smell. But if this works, it will all be worth it

15 April 2010
Day 10 of stringing my keloids. the one on my right ear is literally hanging by just a few strands, its also turning black. It could fall off at any minute. i want to re-string it but it is so painful and tender. the left one is still loosening but slower than the right. Either way neither of them are really attached to my ear much. The process i say is about 85% complete. i give “tying a string around the keloid” an A. and once they fall off it gets an A+. I am SO happy i found this site.

In 2011, Destyni came back to share her success with removing the remaining keloid on her left ear. This time, instead of taking six weeks, the process took only 5 days, which she attributes to her use of a rubber band instead of string.

8 April 2011
Hi guys! Last year i had great success on one of my keloids with the string method. Thank you to the owner of this site for putting my progress on the main page. Hope it helped someone.
I was stringing both of my keloids on each ear at the same time last year, but that pain was just too unbearable on BOTH sides of my head. So i worked with the right keloid and got that off. Havent gotten around to the left one until now. This time i am using the rubberband method and i will say it is ALOT faster than the string. The first day hurt ALOT more with the band vs the string but the rubberband is killing the keloid so much faster. I am currently on day 4 and this lil creature is already almost dead. I will share pictures from beginning to end.
Here are days 1-4
Get’s a little graphic on day 4.

9 April 2011
Here we are.. barely day 5 and I AM KELOID FREE!!!
Its 4:21am. I was just about to clean my keloid and change the rubberband, but as i took the band off i noticed the keloid was just hanging there so i cut the little piece of skin which didnt hurt AT ALL because it was dead. I have photos. Which are VERY graphic i took them immediately after i cut the keloid. I cant believe this thing was on my EAR! yucky. Any questions, id be glad to help.

Thank you Destyni for sharing so much of your experience.  I’m sure it will help many others.

Destyni also has a YouTube channel called “destynihoney”, which chronicles her journey to being keloid-free.

Contractubex gel (from Germany)

khosbhoo used this gel for her burns. She wrote, “initially I applied contratubex gel (from Germany). it has decreased a lot. I mean 90% has gone (this medicine is a miracle) but I had to massage it regularly.”

Healthier diet (more fruits and veggies)

Sarah noticed that her keloids improved following a change in her diet. She wrote, “Over the last few months i have been drinking 3-4 cups of green tea with lemon, pomegranates (read the health benefits in Wikipedia) and increased the amount of fruit and vegetables I usually consume. from all these things I have noticed a big difference in the size of them and some even appear lighter. I do understand everyone is different but you never actually know this could work for you.

Sarah later came back with an update about her progress and also about her diet, “Hey guys its me again…so I’ve been away for a few months, but thought i should just comment on the progress of my situation with keloid i mentioned previously, green tea with lemon has seemed to work for me. I have recently included the following fruits and vegetables in my diet; tomatoes (plum and cherry in particular), avocado, bell peppers and sweet potatoes…and not only do i feel a lot better but my keloids have definitely minimized in size.”

Thanks for sharing, Sarah! If anyone else has had improvements to their keloids following a change in diet, please do share.

Foods that affect keloids

carolyn wrote, “I noticed that whenever I eat sugary foods, it grows or itches more. I just noticed this the other day and I wanted to see if foods or drinks can affect them or make them worse.”

rizwan wrote how red meat makes his keloids itch more, “I have keloid scars for about 15 years now… only thing i can recommend that try to eat more veg and fruits and don’t eat red meat coz when i eat red meat my keloid scars itches more .”

Jules wrote that her keloid itches more after drinking (alcoholic beverages), “My keloid is on my chest, about 1 and a half centimetres wide and the same in length. It’s a dark pink colour, can get very itchy (especially after I drink) and hurts for no reason.”

Anonymous wrote that white pepper causes his keloids to become very itchy. He also noted that his keloids grows/shrinks with his weight.


Irene’s father had a keloid that was infected with pus that wasn’t helped by steroid injections or antibiotics. She wrote how using Silicea helped:

“My father has a long keloid across his chest. For several years, it got infected with lots of pus. Steroid injections and antibiotics didn’t help. I put him on the biochemical tissue salts called Silicea for a few months. This prompted the keloid to discharge pus from several holes for a few weeks which was quite scary. After all this drained out, the problem has not occurred again, and the keloid has flattened out. Hope this will help somebody.”

Kenalog injections and Cica Care silicone gel sheets

Anonymous reported that his keloids “flattened and are less visible” with Kenalog injections and Cica Care gel sheets.

Castor oil

Nancy wrote that castor oil (Wikipedia link) made a difference to her keloid, which formed from a chicken pox scar.

She said, “I have since then tried castor oil after reading up on the web. It seems to have made a difference.”

Castor oil has many amazing healing properties which is perhaps helped by its ability to deeply penetrate skin and tissue. My research into castor oil has revealed many benefits of using castor oil, including its ability to break down scar tissue over time, which may make it helpful for keloids and internal surgical scarring.

You can read more about castor oil in these articles:

  1. a good introduction on castor oil
  2. using castor oil for scars
  3. and from my own experience, I’ve healed a deep burn scar using castor oil (see before-and-after-photos)

Tea tree oil

Anna tried ACV but had better luck using tea tree oil on her keloids, which are a few years old.

She says, “…slowly but surely stuff is happening, it’s peeling off, the keloid cells are dying, and eventually it should fall off…”

Silver nitrate

Iceni wrote that silver nitrate prescribed by a doctor is helping an infection and keloid on his little toe dry up. Iceni wrote, “Apparently this was a common anti- biotic way back to Egyptian times until after the first World War.But it came into disuse with the advent of modern antibiotics. I believe its efficacy is being studied again for use in humans. It is non toxic and apparently bacteria do not become resistant to it. Hope this helps someone.”

Tips for preventing keloids in the first place

Tip #1 – Cover small wounds for a few days

Anonymous advised, “The most important is once when you have any very small wounds, you have to put plastic bandages on it immediately for few days”

Tip #2 – Press down on newly-forming keloids

Rachel said, “I have a few keloids on my shoulder and have started getting a few on my chest, but right when i saw them forming, I applied pressure and pushed down on them and they are gone! It hurt like hell, but nothing on my chest! However, i still have the ones on my shoulders. =/ I really wish they would find a cure or solution that is definite! It is really is embarrassing! So next time you see one starting to come in, press down continually, and it will eventually fade. I had read online a while back that it worked for someone so i tried it and it did! Hope this helps!”

Tip #3 – Keloid formation is linked to iodine deficiency. Read about iodine and how it can help.

Tip for those considering surgery to remove their keloids

Anna kindly shared some advice from her dermatologist for those considering surgery to remove their keloids: if the surgeries are on problem areas that are susceptible to keloid formation, then the surgical incisions should be closed with a laser rather than traditional stitches as these could lead to stretching and further irritation, making post-op keloid formation on the surgical scar more likely.

Poll (closed in June 2013)

Terry suggested that a poll could be helpful in finding out the most effective method to treat keloids. I thought this was a great idea.

848 Replies to “Keloid Treatments and Home Remedies”

  1. i have tried both apple cider vinegar and baking soda/hydrogen peroxide and it has some effect on my keloid. I found that after using acv it started to dry out my keloid, but also got my keloid very irritated to the point that it has grew a bit bigger. the acv is very harsh on the skin and it gives u a stinging sensation.
    after using acv i tried baking baking soda/hydrogen peroxide it has the same effect as the acv, it did too dry the keloid and again it irritated it too. Im not sure if im the only one with the same problem. I’m taking a break from both as im going to have my keloid treated by a specialist (more injections i guess)

  2. Hi Everybody,

    I like to share my experience using ACV. I have been using ACV recommended by Samantha since February 2008. It definately made a difference. I wrote in my misery, please see #769 & #1294.
    Soak a cotton pad with ACV and pad on and around the keloids, don’t rub it and I find that if I rub it in, after 2 minutes the itch is really unbearable. The keloids on my chest is now lighter in colour and it does not get infected now. Althought it is not getting any smaller it is also not getting bigger. Compare to before ACV, I am
    satisfy and very grateful to Samantha.

  3. Hi, Samantha,
    my fiency has 6 keloids on her back and 1 on hand, since her childhood, she has taking laser treatment, but the keloids are very itchy and she fills like in the inner side of keloids some things is biting, pain is not bearable to her, could somebody suggest some remedy on it, its very urgent, you can mail me the remedy on please help us out.


  5. I guess this would be an update.
    I commented about my keloid on my nose.
    Well, it’s gone. I used baking soda and peroxide on it and washed it with soap and warm water 5-6 times a day.

  6. hi there,
    i had my ears pinned back about 6 years ago, never really noticed anything until a yr later i had these massive lumps behind my ears, being at school with short hair was starting to ruin my life it seemed.i consulted my gp who in turn with a plastics consulant started me on silicone ear presses and cortisone injections,they still got bigger. after some time they decided to excise them, and guess what they grew back, i have had over 20 cortisone in injections, i wear silcone splints when ever im home, and i still have hard swallen lumps on the back of my ears,

    can you PLEASE help me!!

  7. I see you have left many people with good advice and I have a few questions myself. I got my ears pierced two years ago, and didn’t clean them well at all afterwards. One of my ears now has a keloid right next to the piercing and it has been around for about a year. It sometimes hurts when I wear earrings and will bleed and/or puss. It is very small (only around 5 millimeters) and hasn’t grown at all since it has been there. Is there a chance it could get bigger if it has not grown for a year? And, if I use any of the treatments listed and it comes back again in the future, do I put myself at risk of it growing back bigger? Lastly, because it often gets irritated with earrings, do you suggest I not wear them?

  8. Thanks soooo much for this helpful site! After reading your comments and suggestions I successfully treated my keloid and after just THREE days..problem is solved!!! Let me tell you my story. I used a piercing gun to pierce my nose (friend helped) bad decision but at the time I didnt know. Anyway noticed bumped right away but thought it would go away. After three weeks just seemed worse and very painfull (keloid was inside my nostril). Found your website and used what I had here at home. ACV and peroxide 4 times a day, used qtip to get on well. FYI- dont breath through nose—LOL. Anyway after just three days- its completely gone and no more pain!!! THANKS again would not have known what to do if it werent for your help!!!

  9. I have what I think is a large keloid that has formed where there used to be a piercing on my ear cartilage. It feels hard on the inside and I’m worried about it continuing to grow larger. I’ve had it for over 2 years now. I was wondering if using ACV will still help even though the scar isn’t new and it’s already so large and protrusive. Is there some other remedy I should try?

  10. Hi samantha ,plz plz plz help my kelio on my right ear lobe is 2 years old i have read the reviews on avc/ i am currentyly taking injections i have taken 3 so far.Do u recommend a brand of avc
    organic avc ?? very confused and harrased by my keliod PLEASE HELP //THANK YOU FOR THIS FORUM

  11. hi samantha i have more than 15 keliods on my chest, at least 5 on my back and 8 on my shoulder blades. i know that they are keliods because it was diagnosed by doctors here in singapore at the skin centre.

    had injections for a year, and they only managed to flatten the keloids but not heal them. may i ask, if there is a quick way of treating them and what is ACV?

    1. Hi Alvin, ACV is Apple Cider Vinegar.

      To answer your question, there’s no “quick” way of treating a keloid that I know of. If you go through some of the comments there have been people who’ve reported good results very quickly but its possible that what they had in the first place were infected bumps (not keloids) or they managed to treat their keloids very early on when they were just forming.

      When it comes to the remedies (including ACV), they all need some time and patience before you can tell whether its having an effect or not.

  12. Hi
    I was circumcised on 30 June this year. age 39.caucasian. no history of keloid ever. The healing process seemed to take a long time. a second follow up to the urologist gave me the feedback that he thought I had slight keloid formation on the top of the penis. A very small area. about 1 cm long parallel with the glans.
    My GP confirmed that he thought it was keloid formation. I have fair hair and light coloured skin. research on the internet provided the following solution. ..heparin based cream with allantoin aswell. this has worked quite well, and some of the area has subsided very well. I want to know if I should use ACV on this area and possibly iodine aswell?

    1. Hi Gavin, if you’re already having success with the cream then you might just have to continue using it for some time to get the best results.

      If you still want to try the remedies, I would caution against using ACV on such a sensitive area. However, iodine should not pose any problems. Just be sure to let the iodine dry completely before putting on your boxers/briefs.

      The problem with iodine is that it not only stains but it sticks very readily to clothes (it can do this when you sweat or in high humidity). The result is that you might find yourself having to “peel” the garment off your skin which can get annoying and uncomfortable.

    2. Hi
      ok the good news. My circumcision scar that was done in June this year has turned out to be hypertrophic scarring that has been healing very quickly, using Mederma cream ( a silicone based ) cream. Its now 50% better within 4 weeks. I will continue with this for another 2 months until the next check by the dermotologist in February.

  13. hello miss samantha, im glad i found this forum about keloids because it bothers me too much and quite deressing T_T… i have 7 keloids on my chest one just flattened and turns white not seems visible and 4 on my back and a small bump on the tip of my nose about 1cm width and 1cm height im afraid it is a keloid because often it gets itchy the color is dark red its not hard and i think i have it for almost 3 years.. do you think its a keloid? can ACV help getting rid of the small bump on my nose? Is Iodine the same with Betadine solution? please help me i want to get rid of the small bump on the tip of my nose.thnks in advance godbess

  14. hey i have my belly button and tragus pierced and both of them have ugly lumps that look like they have fluid in them. I have tried using a chemist cream that a piercer told me to use to get rid of it but they seem to just come back. Does anyone have any ideas of gettin rid of them?


  15. Hi Samantha, I tried ACV for 4 weeks and no results shown. I tried Hydrogen-Peroxide and sodium Bicarb paste for 4 weeks and still no results.

    What should I try now?

  16. Hi,
    I got a nose piercing about two months ago and in the past month I noticed a small bump around the piercing. It doesn’t itch but when I remove the nose ring to clean the piercing I notice it always bleeds and/or pusses. I checked at a tattoo shop and they told me that it was a keloid but for some reason I find it hard to believe because I have other piercings and previously had no bumps. The bump is soft to the touch, skin toned and seems to be fluid-filled. Is this really a keloid or is it simply an infection? How can I treat it?

    1. Hi mandi, from your description it doesn’t sound like a keloid but an infected bump. Tea tree oil or diluted ACV should work well for it. If its possible, try not wearing your nose ring for a few days until the infection resolves itself. But this might also mean your piercing could close.

  17. hi,
    i got my nose peirced about a year ago, and i developed a keloid, and with the aspirin paste it went away after a very very long time. But now i have another one and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. I just purchased the ACV and after i applied that, a layer of skin peeled away, and it started to bleed. I stopped the ACV and i was just wondering what i should do!? it now appears smaller in hieght but the same size around, but very pink. I am very worried that it will grow bigger after this “injury” and am just wondering what i can do to help it.

    1. Hi Co Lo, you did the right thing by stopping ACV. Just give it time to heal and avoid putting on any creams or lotions on it until it does.

  18. Hi Samantha! I had my ear pierced several years ago. It got infected and grew a small bump. It grew throughout the years. I recently went to the dermotologist and was told that I have keloid growing. I have a surgery scheduled tomorrow to remove it. I will also be recieving cortisone shot monthly to reduce the chance of it growing back. My question to you is, can I use the ACV or any of the other at home remedies after surgey?

      1. Hi Samanthan and Gio,
        I am in the same situation. I’ve had the steroid shots several times. My earlobe keloid has reduced significantly and the itching has gone completely. The keloid is now much softer with some loose skin.

        I am thinking about having it removed and applying pressure earrings and ACV after the healing. However, if a new keloid forms (whch I am praying that it doesn’t) would the treatments recommended here work for it, or would the recurring keloid be immune to them?


  19. hello samantha!i am a keloid former and i have this keloid in my face that is already 2 inches long ,what is the best option to remove this keloid?

  20. just wanted to post an update– my keloid is almost gone… while it was healing, i dabbed a very dilluted ACV mix on my nose every night with a cotton ball, and that was it. Good Luck Everybody!

  21. Hi Sam,

    Ive had my Keloid for awhile now & it just continues to grow. At first it wasnt visible now it is unsightly. I need something fast to at least decrease its appearance. & do you recommend tying a string around it??


    1. Hi Christopher, I don’t know if tying a string around it will work or not. So far, there’s not much written about this method and the commenter who tried it has not posted an update. Do you know why the keloid continues to grow? Does it get irritated or reinjured at times?

  22. Hi Samantha,
    Just updating you on my progress. After three days of using the ACV the infected bump on my nose erupted and after a little bleeding and pus it has disappeared. I actually didn’t dilute the ACV I just soaked a cottonball and placed it on the bump at least three times a day and used Hydrogen Peroxide to clean it during breaks at work. I want to thank you so much because I was extremely worried about it being a keloid. I want everyone to know that the home remedies here actually work so don’t be afraid to try them and good luck.

  23. Hi Samantha,
    I had my nose pierced approx 5 weeks ago and it has healed pretty well up until the last week or so where now it has raised skin up around half of the edge of the stud and bleeds a little now and then when I clean it. Its seems soft to the touch and similarly resembles that of a blood blister. I’m sure this has occurred because lately I have worn makeup in the area which probably hasn’t helped matters, so I have cleaned it thoroughly and probably irritated it by moving the stud around too much. I am concerned too that it may be a keloid, but I don’t know too much about them yet. Any help or feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks

    1. Hi Kirsty, if it resembles a blister, is soft to the touch and seem to have liquid inside, then its probably not a keloid. Sea salt soaks may help to keep the area clean but could cause some stinging if the wound is not closed yet.

  24. Has anyone ever fasted? I have a keloid on the back of my ear due to piercing and I want to couple fasting with the ACV (or other mentioned treatments). I want to know if fasting has helped minimise the keloid? I will see how this goes and provide an update.

  25. hai samatha
    i went for ear piecing and after a while i discovered bumbs on both my ears. now the bumb has grown really big and i don’t know what too do. i don’t want to go for an operation.please advice on what i should do.

    1. Hi Sheira, without looking at your bumps I won’t be able to tell if its a keloid or an piercing-related bump. If its not bleeding, you might want to try diluted ACV applications several times a day for a couple of weeks and see if it makes the bump go down.

      1. hai again and thanks for your reply. when i pieced my ears i used to wear stared ear rings then i think i changed very fast without waiting for the the wound to heal and a small bump started but i continued wearing different ear rings thinking the bumps would stop but of no avail. i started experiencing itching on the they are big and they itch at times but don’t bleed.i will try the ACV and see how it works but that’s how it is at present.thanks again.

  26. Hi samantha,
    i pierced my tragus in october and in early december i got a bump on it that my piercer called a keloid. i was treating it with the tea tree oil that she recommended but it seems to make it worse; today i looked at it and it has grown bigger and was bleeding a bit. i’m scared and confused and also dont want to have to operate. the “keloid” (?) is not very hard, but i wouldnt call it soft. looking at it i personally think it looks like a blood blister but i’m not sure.. please help?

    1. Hi Natasha, if tea tree oil is making it worse you should stop the applications. Since your bump is bleeding, you can try applying iodine until it closes over, and diluted ACV after that (once the wound heals) for a couple of weeks. Let me know how you get on.

  27. Hi Samantha, I was hoping you could help me with a concern of mine. I’ve had a keloid on my chest since I was 12 (I’m 26 now), so I know a bit about them as far as mine goes. My question is regarding my daughter. She’s 2 years old, and last month she fell at daycare and bit clear through her bottom lip. She had six stiches on the outside and 2 dissolvable stitches on the inside. I was trying to be optimistic in hoping that she hadn’t inherited my scarring, and after reading that most kids under 11 don’t get keloids I felt a little better. Well, now I’m thinking she might be getting one. The outside scarring looks kind of puffy, so I think I’m going to try the ACV for as long as she will let me, but my concern is when she smiles, her bottom lip sort of looks like there’s a bead or something sewn into it, its puffy, but just in the very center. It hurts me to look at her because I know how much pain and insecurity I went through with mine, and I don’t want her to have to deal with it on her face and I feel entirely guilty that there’s a possibility that I passed this on to her. Are internal keyloids common? Its not scarring nearly as bad on the outside as it seems on the inside. Or more possibly infected? I can send you a picture if it helps any. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Holly, I agree that its quite unlikely that your young daughter would develop keloids. Children are usually able to heal their wounds better and more completely than adults. Are your daughter’s stitches still in the wound or have they completely dissolved? If its still in the healing stage, then the puffiness that you see could simply be inflammation. Since her wound is on her lip, the inflammation may take a little longer to resolve itself as it’ll be aggravated when she eats/drinks or tongues it unconsciously.

      p.s: If you send me a picture, I might have a clearer idea. I’ve added the function to upload an attachment in my contact form now so you can use that.

      1. Thanks again Samantha! I emailed you a picture of her lip up close. Its hard for me to see her all messed up like that, my poor little girl, and I just hope it gets better soon. Like I said, its mostly when she smiles like she is in the picture that it looks like that. It doesn’t look as obvious if she isn’t smiling.

        1. Hi Holly, I’ve looked at the picture and it doesn’t seem like a keloid to me since there’s no visible discoloration. But I can’t say if its an internal keloid or something else either.

          I did take the liberty of doing a search online and it seems that developing a lump after getting stitches in the lip area is fairly common.

          1) There was a post from someone in the medhelp forums who had a similar injury to your daughter, even down to the dissolvable stitches. The reply (pasted below) supposedly came from an MD but since this is online, it’s best to take it with a grain of salt.

          “Deep lip lacerations often heal with scarring that may leave a lump or fullness. It is always at its worst at one month post injury. If fullness and a lump remain after three or four more months, then a surgical revision of the may may be appropriate. If the dissolvable sutures are still visible at this stage, I would have them removed.”

          The link to the full question is here:

          2) Another possibility. I can’t see the inside of your daughter’s lip in the picture but you should do a quick google image search on “mucocele” and see if it looks like what your daughter has. Mucoceles are fairly common and harmless. If they don’t heal on their own, they can be removed with minor surgery by a dentist or dermatologist (but this will involve a stitch or more).

          I hope that I have helped somehow but I would also advise you to bring her to a doctor to make sure that it’s not an infection. At the very least, it would ease your worries.

  28. Has anyone tried bioskincare for their keloids? From reading the info on the website it sounds like it would work. Bioskincare uses something a snail gives off naturally to repair itself.

    1. Hi Help Me, there’s some posts on the as well as the forums where users reported that snail creams were by and large, not helpful for their scars.

      p.s: Elicina is also a snail cream like Bioskincare but its been around for longer so it may be worthwhile to check some reviews for it too. One person did say it helped her keloid’s redness but most said that it was a waste of money.

      Hope this helps!

  29. Hi again! I just wanted to provide an update to my original posts #275/76 in hope that it may be of help to others and in particular Natasha of #279. After posting here, I went to a salon and showed the piercer the lump on my nose piercing. He straight away said it was a keloid, but then I queried that by telling him it wasn’t a hard lump and it was surrounding the hole rather than next to it. He then said ok but without treating it it would turn into a keloid. He then gave me two options. Firstly to buy Betadine from the chemist and put that on at night time to hopefully dry it completely so that it will then just scab and fall off. The other suggested treatment if the first didn’t work was to make a paste from a disprin (aspirin) tablet and apply that. I bought both but started with Betadine. The next morning the blood blister had dried up and broke away when I cleaned the piercing. Every night since then I have applied it and it scabbed bit by bit and the lump has completely healed up apart from some slight redness which I put down to it being a fairly new piercing still. I now believe it was a small infection and Betadine is developed to heal that type of thing. I absolutely am no expert at all, but from what I have read, “real” keloids are not common but very hard to get rid of if you have one. I have several ear piercings which have been very sore and infected at times, but I have never developed any permanent lumps as a result, which also told me that I was probably not susceptable to keloids being in my genes, and that also gave me confidence that my nose piercing would heal. I guess the point I am trying to make (and to also agree with comments on other sites too) is that Piercers are quick to diagnose every lump as a keloid. Up until recently I had never even heard of a keloid and wonder why you are not made aware of this particular risk when you sign the form giving permission for the piercing to be done. Seek the opinion of a proper dermatologist/doctor if nothing you have tried has helped or worked as it still may be something else other than a keloid and (like I was) you may be worrying yourself sick over nothing. This has been a great site to come to for other opinions and recommendations and experiences so thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Kirsty, thanks for coming back with an update and sharing your experience at the piercers (and with Betadine!). It should help ease the minds of a lot of people – these post-piercing infections appear to be fairly common.

  30. Stumbled across this site quite by accident during some idle surfing, I simply wish I had seen it years ago to realise a)I am not alone and a bit of a freak b)There is some hope for improvement for those with these conditions.

    Will try some of the solutions suggested and let you know if any progress.

    Many thanks for helping restore some personal hope and restoring my faith in fellow human beings willing to give of themselves to help others.

    PS Is it ever too late to tackle this problem? Mine 1st occurred in late teens (acne scar)but am considerably older now having previously accepted medical opinion at the time that theres not much to be done had kind of given up hope and just accepted it as an awkward fact of life.
    Anyway, again many thanks for your efforts.

    1. Hi BB, I think that feeling of aloneness is probably the hardest part for most people with keloids (and any difficult skin condition for that matter). Sometimes I wish I could give everyone who feels that they’re alone because of this a great big hug and tell them that a) they’re really okay in every sense of the word, and b) they’re never as alone as they think they are. 🙂 Well, I can close my eyes and send out psychic hugs anyway.

      p.s: I don’t think it’s too late to try any of the remedies. Unless a keloid is freshly formed, physiologically a one-year old keloid should not be too much different from a twenty-year old one. The skin at the top may be thinner and the keloid itself may even have softened a little with age.

      Thanks a lot for your comment. It always makes me happy to hear that people find the site helpful because that’s exactly what I wanted.

  31. HI Samantha ..

    I have been suffering from keloids for over 25 yrs (I am almost 40) … my life has been about innumerable injections, kenalog, then a mixture of kenalog and the anti-cancer drug , silicon sheets etc etc ..

    I came across you site recent;y and started applying ACV on my keoids (I have a big one – as big as a penny maybe in the center of my chest), big one from vaccination oj=n the arm and some other small ones on the back and chest. I havent gone for an injection since i started applying ACV .. which is great .. that means that they are under control.. the one on the chect seeme flater .. the ones on the arm might feel softer but dont feel flatter or lighter in color..

    Then i thoought maybe it will help to out something non-iritating iodine, so i bought tincture of iodine and applied it an nite. i woke up y;day morning feeling that the keloids on the arm felt a lil more softer ..

    I guess i got encouraged to keep on aplying the tinctur multiple times y’day .. and guess what .. the big keloid on my arm was itching a lot at nite and the other ones were also red and irritated. (I haven;t had my keloids itch in years , they only itch after an injection).
    So i applied the iodine only once today .. however the arm is still red and irritated (i applied a lil hydrocortisone also .. but still) .. and the thing that bugs me is that the tiny ones which had become quite flat and colorless because of ACV are very red again too .. sooo pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee help ..
    what did i do wrong..
    I thought iodine wont be irritating ..
    Is iodine tincture more irritating that Lugols iodide
    I also notice an orangish cast to the skin .. how long will that take to go ..

    How come the keoids on the back and the chest responded better to ACV while the ones on the arm havent ..
    I have something very important coming up soon .. and this isnt what i need to focus on .. maybe shouldnt have used the iodine ever..

    Please give me your thoughts .. waiting …

    1. Hi jo, it sounds like you might have overdone it with the iodine tincture applications. I would suggest giving your keloids a rest from any topicals (including ACV) for at least 2 weeks. The orangist cast should slough off eventually because iodine cannot permanently stain the skin.

      Does the itchiness and redness also appear to make your keloids larger?

      With reference to the itching, I found an interesting comment on the Earthclinic website from a lady who had experience using tincture of iodine for some time. But since she applied it for a skin ulcer and not a keloid her advice to continue applying tincture of iodine despite the itching may not necessarily apply, especially since with keloids there is a danger of further growth with too much irritation. Anyway, it appears that the itching is normal at least in response to your applications. It should go away after a few days of rest.

      “02/26/2007: Diane from Chesapeake, VA writes: “I use tincture of iodine (everyday) on skin ulcers which refuse to heal. Sometimes I apply iodine 2 to 3 times a day. I never miss a day when treating squamous cell carcinoma. The area being treated by the tincture of iodine often becomes very sensitive or itchy…don’t discontinue the iodine…keep applying iodine on the ulcer. The itchy skin will scab up…it’s just the healing process. ”

      Her full comment can be found here ->

      I hope this helps and let me know how you get on after a couple of weeks.

  32. Thanks Samantha .. yes the itchiness and the redness makes them larger ..

    I have put some Aquanil HC(hydrocortisone) and a silicon pad on them .. should i give a rest to the silicon pads also .. ?? Or is that ok .. i woke up in the morning they are still quite red if not that itchy .. and some of them which had become quite flat and colorless sem to have come back to life ..

    I had stopped thinking bout them for the last few months for the first time in my life and now this. DR Derry’s articel was so encouraging about using iodine , hene i used it ..

    1. Hi jo, I understand how frustrating it must be to lose the progress you made. Sort of like one step forward, two steps back. But on the bright side, you have already discovered that ACV has worked well for you in the past, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work again.

      And yes I would recommend laying off the Aquanil and silicon pad (unless you find the silicon helpful with calming things down?) to give your keloids a rest from topicals. After a couple of weeks, the redness would hopefully have subsided and if your skin has healed up properly by then in your opinion, you can start the ACV applications.

  33. Hi samantha. I got the top of my ear pierced 3 or 4 years ago. I think I took my earring out about two years ago for a small period and the piercing closed up and formed a bump that grew considerably larger and has now ended up quite big. Recently i went to see the doctor for the first time about it and he told me to see a surgeon about it who told me I had developed a keloid scar. I’m now not sure whether I should get surgery to try and get rid of it or not take the risk. I have another appointment with the surgeon soon where we will decide what to do about the keloid scar. What do you recommend as the best treatment? I know you have a whole page of recommendations here but to some up, what would you say would be most effective and quickest. I heard sillicone gel sheets help but are rather expensive? Also a friend of mine has developed two keloids, one on her chest and one on her back from chicken pox. Please could you get back to me asap. Many thanks.

    1. Hi stacey, I don’t really know which remedy would be the most effective and quickest, but a good place to start would probably be the Apple Cider Vinegar applications. But even for ACV, you would probably have to use it for at least two weeks before you can conclude that it either works (or doesn’t). Just be careful not to overdo it since ACV can be irritating if not diluted properly.

  34. Hi Samantha,
    One of my earlobe got cut as the earhole was too low and i had it stitched it up with a plastic surgeon. After 6 months i pierced the ear once again. slowly after sometime i saw a bump and was quite painful with the earring. i took it off and the earhole closed. showed it to the doc and he said it was a keloid. eversince i cannot wear my earring and feel very frustrated. i notice a small bump on the top of the ear which had a second piercing
    i am frustrated and need help ….

    1. Hi Joanita, is there a chance that your bumps are not keloids but piercing-related bumps? Sometimes doctors can make mistakes when diagnosing, especially if they’re unfamiliar with infected piercings. I would advise you to try reading some of the comments where readers had success treating their piercing-related bumps (see ‘When a keloid might not be a keloid’). You may want to try ACV applications a few times a day. Most recently, Kristy (comment #282) had good results with Betadine applications.

  35. Hey guys its me again…so I’ve been away for a few months, but thought i should just comment on the progress of my situation with keloid i mentioned previously, green tea with lemon has seemed to work for me. i have recently included the following fruit and vegetable in my diet; tomatoes (plum and cherry in particular), avocado, bell peppers and sweet potatoes…and not only do i feel a lot better but my keloids have definitely minimized in size.

    Something i would also like to share today is the fact that there is a fairly new skin care product available in health stores such as Holland and Barrett identified as helix aspersa snail gel, which should be applied directly and massaged into the keloid scar everyday (as directed)…I haven’t actually tried this remedy yet but if i decide to, i will post up a personal review…:)

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for the diet tips. Pertaining to the snail cream u mentioned, i tried 2 bottles it just don’t work for me on chest and face… Will try your green tea + lemon + pomegranates tml. Hopefully it works for me : >

  36. hi,i have keloid scars for about 15 years now i m just gonna say that this is the first time i m looking up on the net to find out that what exactly i can do with it.
    only thing i can recommend that try to eat more veg and fruits and don’t eat red meat coz when i eat red meat my keloid scars itches more .

  37. I’ve been searching for a remedy for keloid treatments. I’ve been to doctors and they seem to have this hopeless approach about this problem. I’ve had surgery, and I developed a bigger scar. I acquired another keloid from the cortizone injections. So I discontinued treatment. For a year, I’ve been using this topical cream Clobetasol Propionate Cream USP 0.05%, and I still have discomfort, discharge of pus, blood and clear liquid.
    It is great to know that you guys are there!!!! Thanks for the tip on fasting and changing my diet. I’ve decided to try the natural approach and see what happens.

  38. hey i have started using the ACV treatment n my ears and waiting to see what happens. i can’t wait for my ears to be normal again. so does it mean that i have to live the cotton wool wet with ACV on my ear?

  39. Thank you SO much for all this wonderful information! I’ve had a keyloid on my left shoulder since I got my smallpox vaccination in childhood (I’m 44 now). It has grown over the years and has “branches”. I also have developed one on my left breast after I had a mole removed. That one is tender, red and spreads fast. I have had my gall bladder removed and yet another keyloid has formed on the incision site. I have had several injections done over the years on the one on my shoulder with only a slight decrease in depth in the center. Needless to say, it is very frustrating, embarrassing and painful, both physically and emotionally, to have these things on my body. I have always been self-conscious due to them. I am so pleased to have found your site!

    I am going to try your ACV treatments starting tonight. I will let you know the progress as it goes. Thanks again! – Sally

  40. Hi.. This is the first time I’m discovering a site with natural ways to treat keloids…I have suffered from them for over 5 yrs and have done various types of treatments which just brings it back more aggressively. I have alot of small ones on both my shoulders from pimples and a huge one of my pelvic area (which started off very small). Over the yrs I have done surgery which made the pelvic one worse and I’m about to give up hope..
    I will try the baking soda and peroxide AND the ACV on the ones on my arms to see how that goes
    Any other suggestions will be great!

  41. hi.

    ive had what i think ( and my doctor thinks) are keloids on my ears from piercings for 4 years.

    i had one of them frozen with liquid nitrogen but didnt really notice a difference but i never thought about natural remedies for them. i think i will try acv for a while to see if that helps.

    also wanted to know if you get keloids will you pretty much get them any time there is trauma or is it generally a localised sort of thing to certain parts of the body?

  42. Has anyone ever tired loditin? It’s been approved by the FDA. Its suppose to be all natural and has a 70% success rate for keloids. Only thing is it has to be taken orally.

  43. Actually, I am not commenting. I have a keloid on my right ear and developing one on my left. I have not been on any medication, but my sister told me to use garlic and it has done some wonders for me. The itching stopped although there is no change in size yet. I was also told that breast milk does wonders too but i have not tried it out yet.I will keep you inform about that because am pregnant. By the way this is my first time on this site and it’s AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. Hi Guys

    I have lived with Keloids on my chest for the last 30 years and while you can contain the growth with Steroid injections it does not go away.

    A NEW treatment however is the Dermatrix Gel, you spread the gel on the scar twice a days and it does have an effect. Like all treatments though it is slow. Be patient.

    Read up on this at the site link below and best of luck to those who try this.


    Country Bear

  45. Hello,
    I got my tragus and snug piercings in December. The healing process was going relatively well, then one of my friends (not knowing of my ear) put me in a head lock. The wounds bled again, and then small, raised, pinkish colored blisters began to form around the earrings of both piercings. I have been doing sea salt soaks, and applying Bactine multiple times a day, but am seeing no change for the better. If anything, they bumps, or blisters, or what ever they are, are getting more pronounced. Do you have any advice? Should I remove the piercings?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Erin, if your piercings are aggravating/rubbing against the blisters then you should probably remove them. The sea salt soaks may take some time to work so just keep at it.

  46. Hello Rebecca,
    How is your scar doing ? How is ACV going ? I think it is about a year.

    I plan to start using it now, I will very much appreciate your comments.

    1. I have a huge keloid on my heel. It is very painful and impossible to walk on. Have you tried any surgeries? My doctor wants to try another one, artificial skin and a skin graph and radiation. Have you tried any of these things?

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