Keloids are an excess growth of scar tissue, generally causing abnormally raised, thick scars on the skin. These scars tend to have jagged edges with a fibrous appearance, and they range in color from pale white to brownish red. They typically develop over several months. Some keloids disappear on their own after many years, but most keloids are impossible to remove without professional treatment. Most over-the-counter keloid removers cannot offer scientific proof of effectiveness, and some studies indicate that these treatments do more harm than good. While you may be able to diminish the appearance of a keloid through skin care and diet, only a professional can remove it entirely.
Gently exfoliate the keloid whenever you shower with a loofah sponge or a liquid scrub, to remove the top layer of skin and encourage new skin growth. Don't scrub too hard or you might promote new scar formation. Alpha hydroxy acid or lemon juice can also remove the top layer of skin. This is especially useful if you have a darkened keloid and want to lighten it.
Moisturize the keloid four to six times per day. Use a deep conditioning balm such as cocoa butter, shea butter or petroleum jelly. Avoid watery or scented lotions.
Eat a healthful diet rich in foods that promote skin health and drink plenty of water. Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc and healthful fats are some of the most important nutrients for skin. Orange vegetables, citrus fruits, seeds, nuts and olive oil can provide these vital nutrients.
Exercise regularly and massage the area around the keloid to promote healthy blood flow.
Apply a silicone gel sheet to the keloid. These sheets are available from your doctor or a drugstore. They must usually be worn for several hours a day, and it may take weeks for them to work, but studies such as a 2007 report by Dr. Brian Berman in "Dermatologic Surgery" find that these are one of the most effective treatments, especially for people prone to keloids. Silicone gels, such as Imiquimod, also seem to be effective treatments.
Consult a specialized physician about more invasive therapies such as steroid injections, laser therapy, radiation or freezing. Because keloids are prone to reformation, surgical removal is generally not an effective solution. However, your physician will be able to determine the best treatment for you.
The best way to treat keloids is to prevent them from occurring. If you know you are prone to keloids, wash your wounds regularly, use plenty of moisturizer, eat a healthful diet and avoid exposing the wound to sunlight.
Scientists continue to develop new scar removal ointments. Ask your doctor about the latest, scientifically proven keloid treatments on the market.
Most keloid ointments available on the market have no scientific backing and may cause additional harm. Consult your doctor before using any topical or oral medication, even if it claims to be all-natural.