Category Archives: Silicone scar sheets

Mederma or Silicone Scar Sheets? Here’s What Studies Say About Silicone vs Mederma

which is better, Mederma onion extract cream or silicone scar sheets?

You worry about people staring at your scar. You remember exactly how it got there or you don’t but you’re still anxious to know how to remove it.

You’ve looked for ways to make the scar fade so it’s not so noticeable, but how can you sort out the good information from the pure marketing efforts and questionable products?

Should you buy Mederma, get silicone sheets, or order yet another scar removal product?

After all, there are so many products and brands available and the advice given is even more divers.

To make matters even worse,  even people you should expect would know, such as medical personnel and store owners, don’t know what helps and what doesn’t.

If you were to ask various individuals their thoughts on how to remove a scar you would probably get different answers of which most don’t make any sense.

The result? Confusion galore.

I know what you are going through since I have been there myself.

I have tried many of these so called effective remedies. Not only am I amazed there are still so much misconceptions but I also am displeased about the fact that many professional medical practitioners such as my doctor, the nurses, and even the surgeons did not know what to prescribe or advice to someone who wants to treat his or her scars.

In my case, I was first recommended to use Biodermal PCLE cream and Calendulan cream.

Now, maybe these work for fine lines and wrinkles but they are certainly not appropriate to treat my surgical scars and scars from cuts.

After some research you have limited your choice to two of the most popular products and now you are wondering, shall I use Mederma or silicone scar sheets?

 

Scar Treatment Misinformation

scar treatment fairy tales are abundant sadly enough
scar treatment fairy tales are abundant sadly enough

Yep it’s true, scar treatment fairy tales, sadly, are abundant.

For example you better forget about rubbing vitamin E capsules onto your scar. This is a typical scar removal myth.

Vitamin E capsule use is actually discouraged by dermatologists because they did show to cause skin rash and other irritations in study subjects.

In some cases these bad reactions might actually make a scar worse.

Another common myth is that scar creams have to be expensive to work.  Aloe vera gel and Palmer’s Cocoa butter are commonly thought to be proven effective scar remedies but they are not. (there’s limited research on aloe vera showing some benefits.)

One more misconception, it is commonly thought that sunshine helps fade scars which is not true because immature scars (approx. up to 1,5 to 2 years) should be kept out of the sun because the radiation will worsen them.

Back to the Mederma or silicone sheets dilemma.

Should you use Mederma or silicone gel sheets for your scar?

Mederma cream is an onion extract based cream which is claimed to work on old and new skin marks resulting from injury, surgery, burns, and stretch marks.

As the company says itself the cream is the #1 doctor- and pharmacist-recommended brand.

Lets take a closer look at what Mederma cream is.

Mederma ingredients:

  • Cepalin – Onion Extract  ( allium cepa)
  • Hyaluronic Acid – Hydrating Agent
  • Centella Asiatica – Leaf Extract

 

Here’s what studies say about Mederma for scars

Mederma scar creamSome animals and limited human studies have shown it to have some benefits.

Onion extract gel has shown to have little benefit in one study on rabbits.

One 2008 human clinical trial among patients with surgical scars from keratosis removal found that:

..onion extract gel significantly improved scar softness, redness, texture, and global appearance.

And another study demonstrated that

onion extract gel is safe and significantly improves scar appearance after four weeks of once-daily application.

However, a 1999 study among MOHS surgery patients found that:

Topical onion gel extract was ineffective in improving scar erythema and pruritus in our patients.

Note: scar erythema is redness and pruritus means  itch.

Another study, conducted in 2007, examined the effects on onion extract on keloid and hypertrophic scars and specifically focused on elevation, redness, hardness, itching and pain.

The researchers concluded that:

Onion extract improved hypertrophic and keloids scars via multiple mechanisms. However, it was statistically ineffective in improving scar height and itching. For this reason, onion extract therapy should be used in combination with an occlusive silicon dressing to achieve a satisfying decrease in scar height.

What’s more..

A in 1996 conducted study into the therapeutic values of onion and garlic found that they may act as an anti-inflammatory and bacteriostatic agent. Reducing inflammation is what is thought to help reduce scar thickness and elevation.

Another study conducted in 2002 showed Mederma improved collagen organization after injury in rabbits. Additional studies however have shown topical onion extract unable to improve scars.

To make matters more confusing, some sources state that “products containing onion extract or allium cepa should not be considered as an effective scar treatment. But one study showed Mederma improved collagen organization after injury in rabbits.”

This might be an indication it could work on stretch marks since these are most commonly the result of a disruption of collagen. Fact is, that, as far as I know, there are no independent studies proving this claim.

Mederma vs Vaseline

Vaseline is cheaper and shows to be at least just as good at hydration (which appears to be what makes scars improve).

A randomized, double-blinded, split-scar study showed no more improvement after the use of Mederma as the onion extract gel on scars compared to a petroleum based ointment (such as Vaseline).

It concluded that:

“the onion extract gel did not improve scar cosmesis or symptomatology when compared with a petrolatum-based ointment.”

Another study actually showed petroleum jelly to be beneficial in scar improvement.

Petroleum jelly / Vaseline’s ability to lock in moisture is what is theorized to be its method of action. (similar to the way silicone sheets work). In other words, it has potent  hydrating properties which is what scar appearance seems to benefit from.

 

“a significant reduction in scar erythema (redness) was demonstrated in control patients who used a petrolatum-based ointment for 1 month, possibly because of the effects of petrolatum on scar hydration.”

Do you still get it? So many studies. So many conclusions.

 

Wrapping it up, the pros and cons of Mederma

Research on Allium cepa, or onion extract, the active ingredient in Mederma cream has not shown undisputed clinical efficacy in scar treatment but also no side effects have been reported.

  • Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel is a more concentrated, advanced, onion extract gel formulation than some onion extracts used in the clinical trials.
  • Mederma scar cream is one of the most popular scar removal products and appears to have some clinical evidence behind it.
  • There have been only two randomized comparison trials of Mederma, with a combined total of 38 participants.
  • Mederma has Centella Asiatica as active ingredient which has been documented to aid wound healing in a large number of scientific reports. Its most beneficial effect appears to be:

the stimulation of maturation of the scar by the production of type I collagen and the resulting decrease in the inflammatory reaction and myofibroblast production.

  • Mederma scar gel is very well-reviewed, popular and sells for about 17$ making it one of the most affordable scar products.
  • If you let customer ratings and reviews and sales numbers decide, Mederma Cream with SPF 30 is an Amazon bestseller with a rating of 4 stars out of 5 making it one of the most popular scar removal products available.

 

Here’s what research indicates about Silicone scar sheets

silicone scar sheetsVarious studies on this over the counter treatment have been done. Again, some are positive while others do not indicate any benefits of using silicone gel.

Some studies indicate silicone helps increase scar elasticity, reduce elevation, itch and pain and help prevent hypertrophic and keloid scarring.

Other researchers have concluded that silicone gel creams and sheets are not beneficial and speak of weak evidence and poor quality of research.

According to Wikipedia (as well as many other sources) it is in fact the only non-invasive option for which evidence-based recommendations have been made for both scar treatment and prevention.

“Overall, the success rate (somewhat improved to greatly improved) for the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars is high (95%).”

And another study found that:

Topical silicone gel is safe and effective treatment for hypertrophic and keloidal scars. It is easy to apply and cosmetically acceptable.

A Cochrane review however concluded:

Trials evaluating silicone gel sheeting as a treatment for hypertrophic and keloid scarring showed improvements in scar thickness and scar colour but are of poor quality and highly susceptible to bias.

In addition to the Cochrane review some more research did not find any scar improvement upon silicone gel therapy.

One study examined silicone gel sheeting combined with vitamin E. The study reported that the combined action of vitamin E and silicone gel sheets was more succesful than silicone gel alone.

Wrapping it up, the pros and cons of silicone sheeting

I have always been positive about silicone scar sheets and promoted them since I know from personal experience what they do.

At the same time I have been critical about creams such as Mederma because there’s less clinical evidence for their efficacy.

In all honesty and although more research needs to be done, several studies on onion extract seem to indicate this may work too. I still keep favoring sheets over any cream but I’m not as biased anymore as I have been.

I do think that when you take a look at many user experiences and customer reviews it seems like people generally use Mederma for less obtrusive (i.e. flatter) scars than those who use silicone gel. This may cause users to be more positive quickly since such scars fade faster on their own. This however is just a hunch of mine.

when a scar improves after months of  OTC treatment, it’s hard to know whether the treatment or just time made the difference

  • Silicone gel is often called the clinical gold standard in OTC scar treatment.
  • Silicones have been used by burn centers and some hospitals since the 1980’s and are often referred to as the only clinically proven effective home treatment.
  • I have used silicone gel sheets and I noticed my scars getting smoother, less itchy, flatter, softer already after a few days. Redness took longer to improve but eventually did fade too as a result of wearing the sheets. (I noticed that initially the redness disappeared but came back when not wearing the sheets. Prolonged use resulted in permanent toning down. In other words, I saw relatively quick improvements upon applying silicone sheets.
  • ScarAway is one of the most popular silicone sheeting brands on Amazon. It scores a 3,5 out of 5 stars review rating.
  • At about 27$ it is slightly more expensive than Mederma.

 

Mederma or silicone scar sheets, my recommendation

Honesty compels me to say that I have not used Mederma myself. I do hear and read a lot of positive reviews about this product which makes me hesitate  in dissmissing it as utterly useless.

Maybe it could work for me too. Maybe it does work for you..

Study findings contradict each other and there’s also the practice that studies may be paid for by commercial companies. This of course, is the case with any product, also silicones.

All considered, I myself would stick with silicone scar sheets. Just because I know for sure these work and seem better at shrinking raised scars.

  • Another aspect that makes me favor silicones over Mederma is that occlusion is what is thought to play a role in making scars softer, flatter, and less discolored.
  • Studies indicate that scar occlusion:

was able to decrease dermal fibrosis by hydrating the epidermis and altering the pro- and antifibrotic signals produced following injury.

  • Silicone gel, by creating a thin film, and more so, silicone sheets offer occlusive therapy whereas Mederma does not.
  • Other reasons I favor silicone scar sheeting is that these are used by  many burn centers and cosmetic surgery clinics and because there’s research proving their efficacy.
  • Key in proper wound and scar healing is moisture. Make sure to keep your wound as well as the scar moist.

 

What do you think? Which one will you try? Mederma or silicone scar sheeting?

If you want to use both as complementary remedies, keep in mind that you can’t use them at the same time. I can imagine you’d wear the sheets during the night and Mederma at daytime.

I would love to know about your experiences so let me know what you think or how the scar healing process goes for you.

 

Image credit: Mizunoryu | Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

These Are The Best Silicone Scar Sheet Brands You Can Buy

silicone scar sheet
silicone scar sheet

Silicone scar sheets are low cost, (relatively) easy to use and help you improve hypertrophic scars.

If you do a quick Google or Bing search you will see there is a wide range of different brands. So which one to pick? More in a bit..

And if you do a quick PubMed search you will learn this is the only  clinically proven home remedy.

In case you didn’t know, you can recognize hypertrophic scars by an increased amount of scar tissue within the original wound boundary.

Keloids, a specific type of hypertrophic scars,  are scars in which the tissue grows beyond the original wound borders.

In layman’s terms, discolored, raised scars can be improved with silicones.

Most depressed scars do not seem to benefit from silicone scar treatment.

Proven effective..

A large meta study examining all kinds of home scar removal methods concluded that silicone gel sheeting had “marked benefit” while pressure therapy (use of pressure garments) and Imiquimod cream had “some benefit.”

Method of action (how they work)..

How the exactly work is still not entirely clear. Initially it was thought that increased temperature, pressure, and the silicone were what improves scars.

Nowadays it is theorized that oxygen tension and hydration reduce excess scar tissue. wound healing.

Before we try to determine which silicone brand is best, first a bit about whether you should buy sheets or a gel.

Sheets vs Gel?

Research shows that silicone sheeting works better than silicone gel or oil. Likely because  occlusion of the scar and subsequent hydration are responsible for toning down unbalanced fibroblast collagen growth (scar tissue).

Based on my own experiences as well as what studies show is that, if possible, go for sheeting in favor of a cream.

If you find it is hard or nearly impossible to keep sheets attached then opt for a gel. Or for example when you don’t want people to notice you are wearing silicones on your scar.

The Best Silicone Scar Sheeting Brands

These are my recommendations as a former user of silicone sheeting and someone who has been recommending these to friends and aquaintances for years now.

I have picked a most affordable product, a most convenient but slightly pricier one, the best brand if you have really sensitive skin or a troublesome / delicate scar, and a product that combines silicones with paper tape (the one I would use myself if I would need them right now).

ScarAway

ScarAway-silicone-scar-sheetsI  commonly recommend this brand because I used it myself and it worked well for me. It is rated 3,5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.

I feel this rating is a bit low but this may be due to the fact that you have to wear the sheets religiously. I mean at least 12 hours (and preferably longer – up to 24 hours) a day for weeks, if not months. Some people may not be able to do so and blame the product.

Scaraway sheets breathe (are permeable) thus allowing oxygen in the hydrated skin and reduce the chance on skin maceration or rash. Not all brands breathe.

  • Pros: works well, relatively well reviewed, made from safe dimethicone silicones, breathe, reputable brand, come in pre-shaped C-section sheets, more affordable at $23,99.
  • Cons: it’s not the brand with the highest adhesiveness. If you need really sticky silicone sheets than the next brand may be for you.

Cica Care

Cica-Care-silicone-scar-sheetsI haven’t used Cica Care myself but with a 4 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon it’s a serious contender to be called (one of) the best brand(s).

Being very sticky, Cica Care silicone sheets may be extra convenient on body locations such as the neck, chest, stomach, back, or even face (although I can imagine many people would rather use a cream for facial scars).

This is a big plus since silicone sheets tend to roll up. Which is annoying because you have to keep putting them in place again.

I mentioned before that silicone therapy does not work on indented scars. Cica care may be helpful though based on what a user wrote me:

.. I get the sense that this Cica Care pad is doing a better job of flattening by pulling up the sunken middle of my scar than the others. Because the gel conforms so well to the shape of the scar, it makes clingy contact with the sunken parts better than the others, and I think that tends to pull them up over time.

  • Pros: probably the best stickiness among brands, high customer rating, renowned brand, may help improve indented scars.
  • Cons: higher price. ($47,-)

Mepitac Silicone Tape

mepitac-silicone-tapeThis product is often recommended by surgeons and dermatologists. The advantage of Mepitac silicone tape is that it stays on very well.

Contrary to many sheets this occlusive sticks to your scar until you peel it off.  It even stays on in the shower or during swimming. Like with sheets you can re-use pieces.

Because of its strong attachment it may not be that suitable for delicate scar tissue. For example if you are concerned you may re-open the just healed wound or when you have sensitive skin.

Here’s why you may want to use this brand:

For alleviating tension on the scar and its surrounding skin. Tension on a fresh wound and new scar is known to increase scar tissue formation.

Because of its adherance, this silicone tape reduces tension, e.g. tear and stretch along the incision line which is known to minimize the degree of scarring in terms of spreading or thickening.

This product basically combines two proven treatments, silicone and skin adhesive tape.

Study: “taping of scars is a safe, effective and well-tolerated intervention that may significantly improve scar appearance at six months”.

There’s also personal preference, some people will prefer silicone tape while others may opt for thicker silicone sheets that provide more of a barrier and buffer between the scar and clothing or other external elements such as zippers, seat belts.

  • Pros: reduces tension which prevents widening and thickening of scars, offers the benefits of silicones, easily cut to size, sticks very well even when wet, relatively affordable ($27,39)
  • Cons: different feel, doesn’t have the solid occlusion that silicone sheeting offers

 

Mepiform with Safetac® Technology

Mepiform-Safetac-silicone-scar-sheetsAdheres gently to surrounding skin without use of traditional adhesives. Minimizes trauma to the wound on removal.

Mepiform with Safetac is relatively new to the consumer market. There are not a lot of reviews yet but the product does score the full 5 out of 5 stars (based on 18 reviews).

This brand is especially suitable for people with sensitive or delicate skin. Similar to other brands these sheets also flatten, soften and fade red and raised scars but the way of adherance is different.

Resulting in less risk on skin maceration (the white skin you may see after taking off a wound plaster) and being more gentle on fresh scars. If you know changing sheets is still painful or irritating or taking them off may tear the new tissue, thus interfering with the healing process, Mepiform may be your best bet.

  • Pros: gentle for very sensitive, delicate skin, well-reviewed on Amazon.
  • Cons: expensive ($82 for a 4″ x 7″ (10cm x 18cm) 5 Pack.

 

Large size silicone sheets for big scars

biodermis-epiderm-silicone-scar-sheets-1

Large scars are best treated with large silicone sheets because they may bedifficult to keep in place. If you have to work with several pieces it will be extra hard to keep them attached. Another reason is that it may be difficult to have them align perfectly thus running the risk of missing a spot.

Biodermis Epiderm offers large sheets. Their biggest size is 11″ x 15,75″. They also have 1,4″ by 11,5″ long tummy tuck scar sheets.

In comparison, ScarAway long is 7″ and Cica Care sheets are 6″.

Brands that offer pre-shaped silicone sheets

Sometimes pre-shaped sheets are your best option. Certain scars, e.g. a breast surgerly scar, have such typical shapes that you can not cut them properly yourself.

Biodermis Epiderm offer pre-shaped breast surgery anchor silicone sheets as well as vertical mastoplexy and breast areaopexy sheets.

This brand also has sheeting designed to perfectly fit the areola and anchor incision scar or other typically shaped surgery scars.

ScarFX is a brand that also offers these silicone sheets for specific types of surgery. For an overview of various large and pre-shaped gel sheets visit Makemeheal.

ScarAway c-section scar treatment strips are developed specifically for moms recovering from c-sections. Size of each sheet, 7″ long and 1.5″.

The best silicone gel cream brands

Most studies demonstrate that sheeting is more efficient than gels. Gels however are more convenient. They are barely noticeable and require less effort concerning application and keeping them on.

If you’re in the market for a gel I would recommend one of these three:

  • NewGel+E Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars
  • ScarAway Scar Repair Gel with Patented Kelo-cote Technology
  • Kelo-cote

 

Further recommendations

When it comes to choice of silicone scar sheet brand I recommend Cica-Care , ScarAway, and Molnycke’s Mepitac silicone tape.

If I would have a new scar I wanted to treat I think I would go for Mepitac because it combines the best of two worlds, silicone occlusion (and thus improved oxygen flow and hydration) as well as good old paper tape that reduces tension.

Other things to keep in mind..

Compliance in keeping these products on for at least 12 to up to  23.5 hours a day is the key to having them work.

Also make sure to buy the apropriate size. If your scar is long you may want to buy sheets that are large enough so you don’t have to put multiple strips on it.

Also remember that you should not use any creams under the sheets. This will prevent them from sticking and interferes with the action of the silicones.

Silicone sheeting and (paper) tape do work. (Based on international recommendations it is the first choice of hypertrophic scar treatment).

How fast you will notice improvements depends on your scar, how deep the cut or incision was, skin type, overall health, predisposition to scarring, if you smoke, et cetera.

Apart from cosmetic appearance these over-the-counter remedies also alleviate itching and tenderness of new scar tissue.

 

Silicone Scar Sheets FAQ, 19 Frequently Asked Questions

silicone scar sheetSilicone sheeting is the only proven effective home scar treatment. If you haven’t heard before about this remedy some questions may come to mind.

Here’s what you need to know about this risk-free, affordable, and effective scar treatment.

An overview with the most frequently asked questions regarding silicone sheeting.

18 Frequently Asked Questions about Silicone Scar Sheets

1. Do silicones for scars work?

Yes, in fact there are only two scar treatments that are backed by well-designed studies with an adequate control group that have sufficient evidence proving they work. Silicone sheeting is one of those two. The other is steroid injections.

2. How do they work?

What exactly the mechanism is behind their action is not entirely sure. Initially it was thought that they improve moisture content in scar tissue or that raised temperature was responsible for their effect.

Nowadays experts agree that silicone occlusion reduces the excessive growth of scar tissue because it influences so called fibrogenic cytokines. Here’s more.

3. Which types of scars can be improved with silicones?

Sadly not all scars benefit from silicone sheets. In general raised, discolored scars can be treated. Such scars are called hypertrophic scars.

4. Are there any unwanted side effects?

No there are not. Of course, with any product you put on your skin, a reaction such as a mild rash may occur. This is because everybody is different and reacts different. In one study out of 150 test persons, two individuals developed an allergic skin reaction.

5. Are they on prescription or are they available over the counter?

Silicones sheets and ointments are available over the counter. They can be purchased online on Amazon, MakeMeHeal, and in stores such as CVS, Walgreens, etc.

6. Do silicone scar sheets expire? How long can I store them?

Yes, Silicone gel sheets have expiration dates. Check the package for more info.

7. How to use them, can you give me instructions?

Most need to be worn throughout the day or night (or both) for a prolonged period of time. They are self-adhesive and should be worn on dry, clean skin. See the instructions on the package for more detailed info.

8. Do they work on indented scars?

No generally speaking they do not work on depressed scars. I have heard however of at least one person who used Cica Care sheets. Because these are extra sticky he thought that the patch lifted his depressed scar up and improved its appearance.

9. Are there any trustworthy reviews?

Yes there are lots of honest reviews. Most people who used them are positive (I am one of those) One thing should be noted, most scars can not be removed. Their cosmetic appearance can be improved but most of the time they will stay visible. For an indication, see these before and after photos.

10. Where to buy silicon scar sheets?

See question #5.

11. Where can I see before and after pictures?

Check out this post with a wide range of before and after pictures.

12. Do they work on wrinkles and fine lines?

As far as I know they do not. There is some anecdotal ‘evidence’ they do but I haven’t heard of clinical trials or studies confirming such claims.

13. Do silicones for scars work on wounds?

Silicone sheeting is not intended to use on wounds. Other types of occlusives are known to speed wound healing. Examples of proven effective wound dressings are Medihoney dressings and hydrocolloid dressings.
14. When do I use silicone scar patches? When should I start using them?

In general you can start using silicone patches as soon as the wound has closed. So after the wound has healed.

15. My silicone pads don’t stick to my skin.

Sometimes it is hard to keep them attached to your scar. Depending on the location -on your face for example is hard to keep them in place- you may want to use tape to keep them attached. Silk tape is often used for this purpose because it is less skin irritating.

16. Do they work for stretch marks and acne?

Not as far as I know.

17. What is the best brand of silicone scar sheets?

Personally I like ScarAway but other people may prefer other brands. Here’s an overview of silicone scar product brands. Check out reviews to see if the particular product appeals to you.

18. Can I use them in combination with sunscreen or makeup?

No. At least not at the same time. If you apply the sheets your skin has to be dry and clean . If you are not wearing the sheets you can apply sunscreen or put on makeup.

19. Do they work on keloids?

Silicone is known to prevent keloid formation. Once a keloid exists it is very hard to get rid of. Some people have had good results with silicone only. Others have to fall back on other (more invasive) treatments.

 

Benefits of Silicone Scar Sheets

Using silicone scar sheets (or a silicone ointment) has several benefits over other types of scar treatments.

I know because I used them myself after I had been hospitalized and ended up with about 50 stitches all over my body.

After initially being adviced to use calendulan cream or Mederma I learn about silicone for scars. (I contacted a private cosmetic surgery clinic to ask what they thought was the best over the counter remedy)

The main reason silicone scar sheeting has benefits over other modalities is that many other therapies such as laser treatment, steroid injections, and surgical incision involve side effects. Because they are harsh, it is not uncommon for such treatments to actually worsen the appearance of the scar.

On top of that, silicone scar sheeting is not only non-invasive, it is also clinically proven effective. Too bad silicones only work on raised scars and not on depressed scars.

The benefits of silicone scar sheets.

Here’s a list of arguments on why this type of therapy is in fact the best way to treat scars at home:

    • prevent problematic scars from forming (scars that are less than three months old do not become hypertrophic when they are treated with silicone gel.)
    • thus they reduce the risk on developing unsightly keloid scars
    • reduce appearance of existing scars by shrinking, flattening, softening, and toning down the color
    • stimulate growth of new tissue and new blood vessels
    • non-invasive
    • relatively cheap when compared to invasive treatments
    • prevents and reduces scar pain and itch
    • increase skin elasticity
    • form a protective barrier between the (sensitive) scar tissue and your clothes a zipper or for example a seat belt.
    • little to no risks of side effects
    • not messy and will not stain
    • odorless
    • easy to use
    • many brands to choose from, some are more sticky others have other qualities.
    • pre-shaped sheets available for example for c-section scars
    • reduces the chance on bacterial infections of the scar tissue

A more scientific explanation of the benefits of silicone for scars.

According to this PubMed study:

Silicone gel exerts several actions which may explain this benefit in scars:

  1. It increases hydration of stratum corneum and thereby facilitates regulation of fibroblast production and reduction in collagen production. It results into softer and flatter scar. It allows skin to “breathe”.
  2. It protects the scarred tissue from bacterial invasion and prevents bacteria-induced excessive collagen production in the scar tissue.
  3. It modulates the expression of growth factors, fibroblast growth factor β (FGF β) and tumor growth factor β (TGF β). TGF β stimulates fibroblasts to synthesize collagen and fibronectin. FGF β normalizes the collagen synthesis in an abnormal scar and increases the level of collagenases which breaks down the excess collagen. Balance of fibrogenesis and fibrolysis is ultimately restored.
  4. Silicone gel reduces itching and discomfort associated with scars.

Are you planning on using silicones for your scar? Or do you have a question?

Drop your comment below or ask me. (I have personal experience with this over-the-counter treatment.)

 

The Best Silicone Sheets For Tummy Tuck Scars and 9 Other Questions Answered

Each year more than  100,000 people make the decision to undergo abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery.

As with any surgery, scars are involved. Tummy tuck scars are known to worsen first before they improve. Luckily there is silicone sheeting.

Tummy tucks flatten the stomach by removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the abdominal muscles.

A full tummy tuck generally involves three incisions.

  • The first spans from hipbone to hipbone;
  • the second is a circle around the navel;
  • the third is a final incision that connects the first two.

As a result, there are scars left from these incision sites. Silicone strips are rapidly becoming the most popular way to treat and reduce these scars.

Here are answers on 10 Common Questions About Silicone Sheets for Tummy Tuck Scars

1. What are silicone scar strips?

Silicone strips are used to reduce the appearance of scars; specifically scars from tummy tuck procedures and other types of surgery. (in addition to strips they are also known as silicone sheets, patches, pads, gel, tape, clearpads, or sheeting)

The strips flatten, fade, and minimize keloid scars and hypertrophic, or raised, scars. Most silicone strips work by mimicking the natural barrier function of otherwise healthy skin. The silicones hydrate the scar tissue around the area, reducing excessive new tissue growth which softens the tummy tuck scar and helps to fade it.

2. What are the benefits of silicone sheeting for tummy tuck scars?

After using silicone strips, the tummy tuck scars should be faded and shrunken. After only just a few days, the scars should begin to soften, and your scar will continue to fade throughout the next few weeks.

Silicone strips can also help to relieve the symptoms that frequently go along with scars, such as itching, pain, discomfort, and burning sensations.

Another benefit, they prevent the formation of ugly, excessively growing scars such as keloids.

 A part of my scar is raised, will silicone sheets help?

3 Are they my best option, do they work?

Silicone strips have been proven to be more effective than creams or other treatments. In fact they are in many cases even more effective than more invasive treatments such as laser therapy.

Multiple clinical studies have shown the effectiveness of this over the counter remedy. In addition to these studies, there are numerous testimonials from people who have benefited from the silicone strips.

Users report smoother and softer skin around the scar area, flattened hypertrophic scars, and overall a diminished scar appearance.

4. What brands and types of silicone strips are there?

There are silicone pads, patches, and strips. Some brands of silicone strips are washable, so you can reuse them instead of throwing them away.

You can choose different sizes and shapes of the silicone strips to use one that fits your scar. There are also some silicone strips that can be cut into smaller pieces making it more economically feasible.

Some of the most well known brands are; Smith & Nephew’s CICA CARE Adhesive Gel Sheets; Johnson & Johnson’s BAND-AID Brand Scar Healing Strips; Mepiform, Biodermis, ScarAway Professional Grade Silicone Scar Treatment Sheets, and CURAD Scar Therapy Cosmetic Pads.

Here’s an overview of all the silicone products available.

Which brand is the best to buy?

5. The Best silicone sheets to use for tummy tuck scar?

In a study conducted with three other brands, the Curad silicone strips seemed to work the best in treating tummy tuck scars although online reviews don’t seem to match this view.

Personally I prefer ScarAway and CicaCare. (I didn’t undergo a tummy tuck but used ScarAway for my chest surgery.)

6. When should I start using silicone strips?

You should not use silicone strips until after the wound has healed, and you have cleared it with your plastic surgeon. This will generally be a few weeks after the surgery.

You can usually begin scar management by 2 to 4 weeks after surgery if your incision lines have healed. The silicone strips can only be applied after the incision is dry and healed, which will be about 3-4 weeks after surgery.

When will I see results?

7. How often do I have to wear the silicone strips?

The silicone strips should be worn continuously if possible for the best results. To help with the scar, silicone gel sheeting needs to be worn for 12-18 hours a day for several months.

Depending on the type, the silicone strips or pads can be held in place with paper hypoallergenic tape, because keeping them attached can be somewhat difficult sometimes. For example due to perspiration they may loosen and or curl up onder your clothes. This happened to me sometimes but I have to add that this was in summer when it was very warm so much sweating and the chest is a difficult location to keep them attached.

I already saw and felt improvement after a few days of wearing them. (e.g. a smoother scar that felt less sensitive) which motivates to keep on going. I also understand that since then, this was years ago, the adhesiveness of most brands has improved a lot.

8. What are the precautions that should be taken when using the silicone strips?

You should avoid sun exposure if possible while you’re using the silicone strips. Additionally, you should frequently self-check for skin macerations and fungal infections to be safe. Although this almost never occurs.

9. Are there any risks or side effects with using silicone strips?

Because the strips are being applied to the skin, there is always a risk of it having a reaction, causing a rash.

Can I use a cream under the silicone pads?

10. Can the silicone strips be used in combination with any other product?

Many tummy tuck patients wear a girdle or other compression garment over the stomach after the surgery. This helps hold the tissues very close to the body and helps the skin adjust, so the stomach will look more natural when it heals.

A question that is often asked is if the sheets can be used in combination with a cream. You should not apply a cream under the silicone sheets because this interferes with its action and may cause irritation.

Silicone strips, the best over-the-counter treatment for your tummy tuck scar

Overall, the silicone strips have many benefits in diminishing tummy tuck scars. The benefits are not only aesthetic, but also in terms of comfort, since they also relieve itching and burning associated with the incision site.

Silicone strips are an excellent choice for the reduction and improved appearance of tummy tuck scars. Actually, they are your best bet on improving your scar and preventing it from developing excess scar tissue growth such as keloids.

 

 

Silicone Scar Sheets vs Gel, Which Is Better?

Which is better for scar treatment? Silicone sheeting or silicone creams? Well it depends and studies are not entirely conclusive but I would recommend sheets over creams. However in some cases, a cream may be more convenient.

There are many names that refer to the same product. Silicone sheets for scar treatment are also called patches, pads, or strips. Then there are also ointments available. Since all these are made out of silicone gel confusion may occur.

Silicone Gel Sheets

silicone sheeting for scars
silicone scar sheet

Silicone gel sheets (patches) are solid. A scar silicone sheet actually is a mineral based gel membrane created from medical polymer materials. (Technical name; polysiloxane) The sheets are soft, transparent and sticky on one side so they can be attached easily to the skin. The material is capable of allowing moisture and oxygen pass trough.

I myself used A4 sized sheets which could be cut into the precise proportion I needed for the particular scar. Later on I used ScarAway.

Advantage of silicone sheets is that they can cover a big area at once. Apart from that my own personal finding was that the sheets worked more efficiently. Some studies confirm this.

 

Silicone Scar Creams

Silicone gels are liquid. The gel lays a minuscule silicone film over the scar.

I used the Zeraderm brand. It comes in a little tube that looks like a little glue tube. Advantage of the silicone gel is that it can be applied on scars that are exposed when you are out in public. Or when it is difficult to attach sheets to some parts of the body like joints and the face. In these cases gel can be a good alternative or actually more like an addition to the sheets. Because like I said, I found out that the sheets worked better for me.

So Which Are Better? Sheets or Creams?

One of the conclusions of this prominent study comparing several treatments: Topical Treatments for Hypertrophic Scars. (Zurada, Kriegel and Davis) source

“The most accepted treatment for old and new hypertrophic scars is silicone gel sheeting. Silicone ointment or gel alone, however, is less effective than silicone sheeting.”

and;

“The use of silicone cream alone compared with silicone cream with occlusive dressing showed 22% and 82% scar improvement, respectively, with respect to erythema, tenderness, pruritus, and hardness. These results supported that occlusion may be synergistic in wound healing and suggested that silicone gel alone may not be as effective as silicone sheeting.” *

 

* Source: Topical treatments for hypertrophic scars. Joanna M. Zurada, AB, David Kriegel, MD, and Ira C. Davis, MD

When to apply patches (sheets) and when gel?

So let’s say you have a scar in your face and you don’t want wear a silicone patch in public. I would wear the patch at night and use the gel during the day. Depending how many hours a day you want to apply the silicones. I chose to use them about 16 hours a day.

I used the sheets for the bigger scars on my body. I cut them to the appropriate size and applied the sheet with silk tape. I treated the smaller scars with the Zeraderm scar gel. Since Zeraderm isn’t available in the States I guess Kelo Cote would make a good alternative. This is also a silicone based scar gel.

I often recommend Kelo-cote because:

 “Kelo-cote is the most studied topical scar product, with more than 2,000 patients participating in a variety of published clinical studies.”

Whether you choose a sheet or cream, both are linically proven effective on old and new hypertrophic, keloid and burn scars. These products are often recommended by plastic surgeons and dermatologists.

“[Kelo-Cote ] is appealing because no fixation is required; it is invisible when dry; and sun blocks, makeup, or both can be applied in combination. These features suggest that [Kelo-Cote formulation] could currently be the most recommendable agent for scar treatment, especially in visible areas.”

Signorini M, Clementoni MT. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2007; 31: 183-187

Read this page for more studies on silicone scar sheeting.