Silicone sheeting can improve the looks of scars considerably. Especially when they are used in the first 6 months after wound closure.
Here are some before and after pictures of the results.
As you can see on the photo to the right scars will not get much smaller once they have a certain width.
That’s why it is important to reduce tension on the wound and scar tissue during the first healing phase.
A common method to keep tension at bay is by taping the wound/scar. Often paper tape is used for this purpose.
Silicone sheets are cumbersome to use on the face. That’s why most people opt for a silicone gel cream.
After application a thin film forms over the scar tissue. An alternative is to wear silicone sheets at night.
If necessary attached with silk tape (doesn’t irritate the skin). In case of severe facial scarring, silicone masks are used.
An example of how silicone sheeting makes a scar less elevated and less discolored.
Many scars will fade to a more normal state eventually but sometimes the opposite happens, keloids form. Silicones help prevent such abnormal scarring.
Wide scars can not be made smaller (except by surgical treatment) but they can be blended in as you can see on photo 4.
Hypertrophic scar before and after treatment.
photo 2. Source.
photo 3. Source.
photo 4. Source
When it comes to OTC scar treatment you basically have to options, ointments or sheets.
Different names for the same type of products may cause confusion.
When we talk about silicone ointments we talk about products such as Kelo-Cote, Xeragel, Dr. Blaine’s ScarCare gel, Spenco 2nd Skin Scar Gel, or Zeraderm to name a few.
Silicone gel is the main component in these products. Silicone gel however, is also present in silicone gel sheets.
Ointments are also called creams, gels while sheets are also referred to as patches, pads, and plasters.
A logical question that rises, which are better?
Answer: It depends on the situation.
What About Silicone Gel Ointments? When to use..
Silicone gel comes in tubes, is self drying, and forms a very thin occlusive layer over the scar tissue which makes it very easy to use. Once dry even cosmetics can be applied.
Studies have demonstrated that
“the use of silicone cream alone compared with silicone cream with occlusive dressing showed 22% and 82% scar improvement”
This improvement was focused on softness, pliability, itch, skin irritation, and redness of the scar tissue.
Therefore it was concluded that occlusion may be synergistic in scar healing and suggested that silicone gel alone may not be as effective as silicone sheeting.
Sometimes it is best to use an ointment instead of sheets.
While silicone gel sheeting is suitable for some parts of the body, it cannot be easily used on the face and other locations such as face and close to joints.
That’s why silicone gel creams come in handy. They ensure adequate contact and coverage which makes them a useful addition to strips.
Apart from that the gel, when applied, is hardly noticeable which makes it ideal for use on uncovered parts of the body when out in public.
Ointments also seem to help reducing the dragging sensation which lots of patients experience following the removal of stitches after lip, eye, or nasal surgery.
Also wound tape might have the same benefit but I would prefer the far less noticeable silicone gel. Also because of its action.
Read this post if you’re not sure which is better for you to use, ointments or sheets.
Other brand names are; Dermatix, Valeant, and ScarAway serum.