Can Silicone Strips help improve the appearance of your Surgical Scars?
Plastic surgery always leaves a mark – scar formation on the incision site is an inevitable consequence of the wound healing process after cosmetic surgery. Depending on the type of procedure, long or visible scars can develop. While most scars will fade and become less prominent after several months or a year, they never completely disappear. Over time, the scars on the surgical incision may also change shape or become sunken, which can affect the appearance of your skin as well as your self-esteem. Your scar results may be related to genetics, surgeon skills and your aftercare and your effort to comply to recovery guidelines. Using Silicone Strips may help,
Non-invasive cosmetic solutions such as Silicon Strips, LED, Dermapen, Laser treatments can help improve the appearance of your surgical scars. This is especially useful for procedures with longer scars such as a tummy tuck surgery or body lift surgery. In this blog, you can learn more about the safety and efficacy of silicone strips in the treatment of the different types of scars.
What are Silicone Strips?
Silicone strips are ultra-thin sheets of silicone that are applied to scars. It’s an over-the-counter treatment for different types of scars. You’ll need to wear it 24 hours per day in order to achieve your desired aesthetic goals.
How do Silicone Strips Work?
An overwhelming body of clinical evidence suggests that silicone strips can significantly improve the appearance of surgical scars through the following mechanisms:
- Improves wound hydration and occlusion: Silicone strips help prevent the stratum corneum, the outermost skin layer, from getting dehydrated.  It retains water levels in the skin, thus providing adequate hydration to the newly formed, underdeveloped stratum corneum. In addition, silicone strips create a level of occlusion that is very similar to normal skin, which in turn reduces the activity of inflammatory cytokines and fibroblasts (cells involved in wound healing and scar formation). 
- Reduces wound tension: Silicone strips transfer tension from the wound edges to the silicone sheet, which provides an ideal environment for normal scar formation because this mechanism reduces the risk of additional damage to the scar area. 
- Decreases blood flow to the scar site: Silicone strips have been found to inhibit hyperemia, the body’s natural reaction to skin injury which is characterized by increased blood flow to the site of damaged tissues. This in turn reduces blood supply to the scar site, resulting in decreased scar formation. 
- Aids in the alignment of structural proteins: Proper alignment of structural proteins during the wound healing phase is known to prevent the formation of raised scars. By creating friction between the sheet and the skin, silicone strips generate a negatively charged static electric field that aids in the proper alignment of structural proteins. 
What Types of Scars can benefit from the Application of Silicone Strips?
Specific scars on any part of the body can benefit from a silicone strip application. These include the following:
- Hypertrophic scars: These scars are thick, wide, and are usually raised or elevated.
- Keloid scars: These are large, elevated scars that can be skin-colored, pinkish, reddish, or darker than the surrounding skin.
Are Silicone Strips safe for Scar Reduction?
Silicone strips are FDA-approved treatment for different types of scars. In fact, clinical trials report that this non-invasive scar reduction treatment is safe and effective in improving the appearance of hypertrophic and keloid scars if worn over the affected skin area for 12-24 hours daily for at least 2-3 months.  These products have a low risk of adverse events compared to more invasive scar reduction treatments like surgical excision, radiation, cryotherapy, laser treatment, and corticosteroid injection.
How effective are Silicone Strips in Improving the Appearance of Scars?
The efficacy of silicone strips in scar reduction is backed by recent studies. For instance, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that the application of silicone strips in patients with hypertrophic and keloid scars for 1-16 months significantly improved the color, thickness, and elasticity of scars. 
A 2016 study published in Advances in Skin and Wound Care reported that silicone strip application in patients with postoperative scars resulted in significant improvement in pigmentation, pliability, vascularity, length, and height of the scars compared with untreated patients. 
While most studies on the safety and efficacy of silicone strips reported significant improvements in the appearance and structure of hypertrophic and keloid scars, it is important to keep in mind that the results of this non-invasive treatment will greatly depend on the extent and severity of your scar and your body’s healing ability.
What are the Advantages of using Silicone Strips?
Silicone strips can offer the following advantages:
- Lower risk of adverse effects
- Comes in different sizes
- Blends with the natural color of skin
- Readily available
What are the Disadvantages of using Silicone Strips?
Like any other non-invasive treatments, it also has disadvantages:
- Needs to be worn 12-24 hours a day
- Can be Expensive
- Potential for hypersensitivity reaction
- Visible results can be observed after 2-3 months of continuous application
- Can cause discomfort if worn on the face or joint area
Undergoing a non-invasive scar reduction treatment such as silicone strips is an extremely personal decision. If you want to know more about the types of silicone strips that can work best for your surgical scars as well as aesthetic goals, send in an enquiry form below or call us today.
Medical References for Silicon Strips:
- Suetak T, Sasai S, Zhen YX, Tagami H. Effects of silicone gel sheet on the stratum corneum hydration. Br J Plast Surg. 2000;53(6):503-507. doi:10.1054/bjps.2000.3388.
- Kelemen O, Hegedűs G, Kollár L, Menyhei G, Seress L. Morphological analysis of the connective tissue reaction in linear hypertrophic scars treated with intralesional steroid or silicone-gel sheeting. A light and electron microscopic study. Acta Biol Hung 2008;59:129–145.
- Akaishi S, Akimoto M, Hyakusoku H, Ogawa R. 142B: the relationship between keloid growth pattern and stretching tension-visual analysis using the finite element method. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010;125:96.
- Rabello FB, Souza CD, Farina Júnior JA. Update on hypertrophic scar treatment. Clinics 2014;69:565–573.
- Borgognoni L. Biological effects of silicone gel sheeting. Wound Repair Regen 2002;10:118–121.
- Berman B, Perez OA, Konda S, et al. A review of the biologic effects, clinical efficacy, and safety of silicone elastomer sheeting for hypertrophic and keloid scar treatment and management. Dermatol Surg. 2007;33(11):1291-1303. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2007.33280.
- Westra I, Pham H, Niessen FB. Topical Silicone Sheet Application in the Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(10):28-35.
- Kim JS, Hong JP, Choi JW, Seo DK, Lee ES, Lee HS. The Efficacy of a Silicone Sheet in Postoperative Scar Management. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2016;29(9):414-420. doi:10.1097/01.ASW.0000488665.03896.3d.
*Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon. Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may be impacted by a variety of factors. Consult your Specialist Plastic for details.
About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon
Practice locations in Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Remuera, Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga
Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years. With world-wide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women.
Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Remuera, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.
Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.
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