Traditional methods for treating hypertrophic and keloid scars have historically included techniques such as intralesional injection of corticosteroids, radiation, laser treatment, surgical excision, cryotherapy, and pressure therapy. These methods can be complex and have problematic or adverse effects, so they have usually required the involvement of a physician or medical specialist throughout treatment (Berman, Brian, et al., November 2007).
Beginning in 1982, a new therapy was reported in a journal report by Perkins, Wallis, and Davis about using silicone gel sheets on burns ranging from newly healed wounds to mature scars. These researchers developed treatment regimes for 42 children recovering from burn injuries, in both newly injured patients and for those with scars up to 12 years old. They reported positive results in all 42 patients (Farquhar, Kathy, June 1992).
Silicone Gel Sheets are Effective
Silicone has been proposed as the main form of treatment for both hypertrophic and keloid scars, and has demonstrated significant improvements, even in patients who are prone to abnormal scarring. Silicone sheeting has been shown to reduce symptoms of pruritis and pain associated with scars, and can be used to soften, flatten, and blanch scars to reduce their appearance and increase range of motion by improving scar elasticity (Berman, Brian, et al., November 2007).
In another study, the application of silicon gels showed improvements in redness, itching, texture, and thickness of both hypertrophic and keloid scars in 60% to 100% of the cases (Borgognoni, Lorenzo, March 2002).
Silicone elastomer sheeting can be used for the treatment of scars resulting from many types of wounds, including burns, accidental injuries, or surgical incisions. Silicone sheeting is well suited for both scar-prevention and treatment because it exposes the patient to very little risk of adverse effects, which have an infrequent and mild occurrence with this therapy (usually, easily resolvable skin breakdown or rashes). This contrasts with more complex treatments such as surgical scar-removal, radiation, intralesional corticosteroid injections, and laser therapy. Further, unlike more complex scar treatment therapies, silicone sheeting requires only minimal monitoring by a physician for safe and effective use (Berman, Brian, et al., November 2007). More on silicone for scars here.
In all, researchers have found that treatment with silicone gel sheets led to decreased pain associated with movement, increased mobilization, decreased drying of the scar tissue, earlier separation of necrotic and infected tissues, and a decreased need for surgical intervention (Farquhar, Kathy, June 1992).
More Silicone for Scars Studies
- Silicone Elastomer Sheeting for Hypertrophic and Keloid Scar Treatment and Management
- A Review of the Biologic Effects, Clinical Efficacy, and Safety of Silicone Elastomer Sheeting for Hypertrophic and Keloid Scar Treatment and Management – BERMAN – 2007 – Dermatologic Surgery – Wiley Online Library
- Silicone gel sheets relieve pain and pruritus with… [J Dermatolog Treat. 2003] – PubMed result
- Thus, silicone gel sheeting is effective and safe, especially with more severe symptoms of pain and itching possibly induced by mediators derived from increased mast cells.
- Review of over-the-counter topical scar treatment products.
- Shih R, Waltzman J, Evans GR. Review of over-the-counter topical scar treatment products. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007; 119(3):1091-1095.