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.
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).
I 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.
I 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
This 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
Adheres 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
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
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.