Intralesional Steroid Injection

Evidence Basedcheckmark

Intralesional steroid injections are a procedure to directly deliver anti-inflammatory and collagen-reducing substances into acne lesions, acne scars, and other forms of scarring like keloid and hypertrophic scars.

Intralesional Steroid Injection Overview - 1182

The Skinny

Average Recovery

2 days








$50 - $500

The Specifics

What is an intralesional steroid injection?

An intralesional steroid injection uses a corticosteroid delivered deep into the tissues of a skin lesion or scar to reduce symptoms associated with certain skin conditions, like itching and pain, and also lessen the appearance of acne scars and scars. Injections of steroids are more penetrative than topical creams and ointments without the total body effects of oral steroid therapy.

The most commonly used preparation includes the active steroid ingredient triamcinolone acetonide, although dexamethasone and betamethasone may also be used. Intralesional steroid injections are typically used for hypertrophic scars, keloid scars, acne scars, cystic acne, lichen simplex, alopecia areata, discoid lupus erythematosus, and sarcoidosis.

It is important to note that among dermatologists there are some systematic reviews, retrospective studies, case reports, and cohort studies advising on the possible adverse effects of intralesional corticosteroid injections. Websites like Google Scholar and Pubmed have open access to the full text of some of these studies for an informative review of the literature.

What cosmetic concerns does an intralesional steroid injection procedure treat?

  1. Acne, Acne Scars, & Scars: Corticosteroids used in intralesional steroid injections simultaneously reduce inflammation and suppress collagen formation to clear breakouts, and lessen scar formation.

Who is the ideal candidate for an intralesional steroid injection procedure?

The ideal candidate for an intralesional steroid injection has acne, acne scarring, hypertrophic scars, or keloid scars. Intralesional steroid injections are not recommended for those with active skin infection, those with an allergy to triamcinolone, those on oral steroids, those with tuberculosis or fungal infections, peptic ulcer disease, diabetes, hypertension, severe depression, or psoriasis.

What is the average recovery associated with an intralesional steroid injection procedure?

Most candidates experience minimal recovery following an intralesional steroid injection. Redness, swelling, and pain usually resolves within hours. Candidates are advised to not manipulate the treated area and avoid direct sun exposure.

What are the potential side effects of an intralesional steroid injection procedure?

Possible side effects of an intralesional steroid injection procedure include bleeding, swelling, bruising, pain, telangiectasia formation, hypopigmentation, poor wound healing, temporary increased hair growth in the treated area, granuloma formation, and possible systemic steroid adverse effects like mood changes, insomnia, irritability, Cushing's Disease.

What can someone expect from the results of an intralesional steroid injection procedure?

The results of an intralesional steroid injection will develop gradually and over time through a series of injections spaced at least a few weeks apart. Intralesional steroid injections are used to reduce the appearance of lesions and possible associated symptoms like itching and pain.

What is the average cost of an intralesional steroid injection procedure?

An intralesional steroid injection procedure can cost anywhere from $50 to $500. The actual cost of an intralesional steroid injection is dependent upon location, plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the cosmetic procedure.


  • Minimally Invasive
  • Anti-inflammatory


  • Temporary
  • Unpredictable Results
  • Systemic Effects

Invasiveness Score


Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect

An intralesional steroid injection is an injectable procedure to reduce the appearance of acne and scars. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after an intralesional steroid injection procedure:

The Takeaway

Intralesional steroid injection are used to treat a variety of cosmetic concerns including scars, cystic acne, and acne scarring. Over a series of treatments, candidates can expect to see a gradual improvement in the appearance of these skin lesions.

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Source List


AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Yanhan Wang, Tissa R. Hata Yun, Larry Tong, Christos C. Zouboulis, Richard L. Gallo, Chun-Ming Huang The Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Propionibacterium acnes CAMP Factor-Targeted Acne Vaccines ; 2018-11-11


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