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.

12 thoughts on “Silicone Scar Sheets vs Gel, Which Is Better?

  1. Have been using Scar Away and some other German brand which is NA in the USA for 3 months now after the surgery.

    Wearing for 24 hours a day, taking them off for 10 min mornings and evenings for the shower. Have two scars, each looks pretty thin and smooth, BUT the color of the scars is still kinda reddish.

    I’m 4 months post op.
    What I can say for sure is that there is SO MUCH more relief in terms of itching, and painful clothes contact.

    Committee say that it is definitely working but this most probably could not hurt, so at least you know you did the best for your skin.

  2. I have Post Inflammatory Erythema after a TCA peel that did not heal correctly, even though I followed the post care to the letter. How effective do you think the gel sheets are for this? I’ve been wearing the walgreens brand for about a week, while I sleep. The problem is my skin is so oily that they fall off after a few hours. I wash my face thoroughly before applying. Would a gel be a better alternative for me? Does it rub off on pillows easily? I have satin pillowcases. Thanks for any help!

    1. Normally a gel doesn’t rub off that easily. Have you tried keeping the sheets attached with some sort of paper tape? (or silk tape etc). Perhaps you could even wear some sort of mask to keep them on your skin.

  3. The best of both worlds is found in a scar product called ScarGuard. It is a brush-on silicone based product that quickly dries and forms a microfilm on the skin. This product has several anti-scar ingredients that work synergistically. Fastest results!

  4. Hi, thanks for this info! I apologize in advance for the lengthy comment, but I would sincerely appreciate anyone’s help with this!…

    I was recently prescribed the Recedo scar gel for a keloid scar about an inch long on my rib cage after removal of a mole that was extremely close to developing into melanoma.

    I’ve only been using it for a week or so, and I know it’s going to take some time, but I haven’t noticed much improvement, if any. It seems like it takes at least 10 mins or longer to dry even with a “light” coating, as they recommend. If I apply it too lightly I feel like there’s not enough covering the scar to make a significant difference. But maybe that’s just my doubtful perception.

    I’ve also been massaging the gel into the scar during application. I don’t know if that does anything, but I thought I remembered one of my older dermatologists suggesting the act of massaging keloids to help “break it down”, in a way. That could’ve been something to do with the cortisone injections I was getting back then, but either way I figured it wouldn’t hurt, right?

    I couldn’t believe with insurance that I still paid $50 for the Recedo gel, and now after reading info from this website I am starting to think maybe I should try the gel sheets instead. I figured for a product that requires a prescription it should be pretty effective, but I’m curious about the synergistic effects of the sheets rather than simply the gel.

    My body tends to develop keloids extremely easily. They are all very raised and have a good thickness to them. Before trying anything my dermatologists went straight for cortisone injections and I’ve even had a few laser treatments to reduce redness, but those aren’t really in my budget right now.

    I am going on vacation within a month and would like the quickest way to see some redness diminish with both this newer scar from the mole removal and also several other smaller keloid scars on my chest that are a few years old.

    I don’t even care so much about the fact that the scars are raised, the redness is what calls the most attention to them. Believe it or not, the older scars on my chest still contain more redness than the newer one on my rib cage. Perhaps my chest is a more sensitive area.

    I know time is really what I need, but unfortunately that’s not something I have. I really hate the anxiety that comes with trying to cover up my scars, especially during a time when I should be in a bathing suit just relaxing on vacation.

    Any opinions on my comment here would be very much appreciated, and I welcome any suggestions or sharing of personal experiences! Thank you!

    -Andrea

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