Can Silicone Strips improve the look of old or new scars?
What Causes Scars?
- Naturally, nearly every surgery will result in some form of a visible scar.
- Early incision lines often appear RED or even angry looking (of course, be cautious about wound care to prevent infections, which worsen scars).
- Everyone heals differently, however, most scars FADE over time.
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How long before a scar matures?
- Scar maturity typically takes up to 12 months (up to 18 months).
- Silicone Strips, Light Therapies, Dermapen and other modalities may be good options to help reduce the visibility of any large post-operative scars following surgery especially used on breast lift scarring.
- To minimise post-op scar complications and stretched scar formations it is even more crucial to;
- Eating nutritiously.
- Stay hydrated.
- Not smoke.
- Make sure you’re following all post-op instructions precisely.
Silicon Strips have been shown to help reduce Scars for some patients when used properly along with closely following post-surgery instructions.
Other factors impacting your scar, however, include:
- the type of surgery you had
- the length, location or width of the incision line needed to get you a good surgery result, and
- your natural healing capacity
Our Dermal Clinicians and Plastic Surgeons work diligently to reduce scars following your surgical procedures (including hiding them below clothing lines and making incisions as skinny as possible).
Evidence-Based Protocols for Scar Management
- Several post-op scar minimisation protocols may be recommended for your surgery scars
- These scar treatment protocols may also be combined with other scar management modalities
- These could include Healite II light treatments, Dermapen Micro-needling, skin needling, chemical or enzyme peels and other light-based treatments.
Scar Revision Surgery – Using more Surgery to improve old or bad scars
Scar revisions can be an option such as if your post-op actions stretched your incision line area (increasing the width of the incision line scar or resulting in a ragged looking scar. Various modalities might be recommended including topical treatments of high-grade Vitamin E oils, to encourage healing.
Every Patient Scar is different
Remember that everyone heals and scars differently to everyone else. Scar formation isn’t fully predictable or controllable, even though there’s a lot you CAN do to help minimise their appearance.
Again, what you do matters. It’s critical that you do not smoke – otherwise, your surgery result, your healing and your overall health will be very compromised. So what YOU do POST-OP is just as important as what your Surgeon does to help you get a great scar result (minimal scars as they heal over 12 months or longer).
It’s a collaborative effort to help keep scars as minimal as possible.
How Skin Health and Genetic Traits Impact Your Scar Results
- Scars vary greatly in quality, depth, size, texture (elevated, indented or somewhat smooth) and shape.
- A scar formation will somewhat depend on the nature of the injury or trauma, the location, depth and length of a surgical incision or cannula entry point for liposuction.
- The scar will be highly impacted by internal and external conditions of wound healing.
- Some of these conditions are controllable and some are not.
- Genetics can have an impact on your scar healing capacity (some high-melanin skin types are highly prone to keloid scarring).
- Richly pigmented skin (Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and others) may end up with more visible scars or raised scar tendencies known as keloid scars – ask your surgeon for details
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Can Silicone Strips Help Reduce Scars?
Silicone strips are a topical treatment, but they have the ability to reach deeper layers of the skin to help reduce the presence of visible scars over time. They are not inexpensive and they require extra care during your healing period, but for some patients, they may help reduce scars over time.
How do Silicone Scar Treatments work?
- Silicone strips are an ultra-thin sheet of silicone that is applied and are often worn for 24 hours per day.
- Once approved to use these (be sure to ask your Surgeon or Nurse first), you’ll be able to place it over the scar formation area.
- These strips have a self-drying technology that allows them to dry on the skin within about 5 minutes after application.
It is important to note that they might not work effectively for every patient, and not every patient’s surgery might be suitable for Silicone Strips. That noted some Silicone Strip product providers have reported these strips can produce up to:
- an 86% reduction in scar-texture (e.g. helping with smoothness)
- an 84% reduction in colour
- and a 68% reduction in height (elevation) of the scars.
Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons and Dermal Clinicians are keen to see more evidence-based, non-sponsored research being done to assess just how effective these treatments are and what patients might benefit most. But from what is known currently, it is likely that silicone strips might be an effective method for treating various scars after surgery for some patients.
These types of scar-treatment products have several effective actions that can be a benefit in the case of scar formation following surgery.
How do Silicone strips help your scars?
- Increase hydration of stratum corneum (outer layer of the skin).
- Facilitate the production of fibroblasts (cells that manufacture and maintain connective tissue) and restructure collagen in the ‘traumatised’ skin, to help you gain a softer or flatter scar.
- Protect the scarred tissue from bacteria and prevent excessive production of collagen which can be induced by bacteria in the scar tissue area.
- Modulate the production of FGF β. “FGF β normalises the production of collagen in an abnormal scar and increases the production of collagenases which help breaks down excess levels of collagen.”
What are the Pros and Cons of Using Silicone Strips?
All products have their strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to silicone strips, it has its pros and cons too.
PROS of Silicone Scar Treatments:
- Staying power: Silicone Strips can aid in faster scar healing in contrast to gels. That’s because the silicone strips ensure your scar tissue is continuously exposed to silicone. Conversely, gels can be inadvertently or easily wiped off.
- A non-invasive and painless way of helping reducing scar tissue.
- Can also help minimize redness, pain, bumpiness, or itching of scar tissue as your skin heals.
- Comes in multiple sizes.
- Blends well with your natural skin contours. So it is not overly obvious that you’re using these products. However, this depends on what you’re wearing and where the strips are placed, as well.
- Easily accessible and readily available.
Disadvantages of Silicone Scar Treatments:
- Duration: Needs to be worn 24 hours a day and can be visible under some forms of clothing.
- Silicone strips are expensive in contrast to gels.
- Allergic reactions are definitely possible, and you might be allergic or sensitive to the products.
What Types of Scars do Silicone Strips Treat Best?
Silicone strips are most suitable for elevated scars. They may also work to prevent or treat hypertrophic scars as well as keloid scars.
- Hypertrophic scars remain within the boundaries of the injury or damage. They’re also raised.
- Keloid scars extend beyond the incision or wound area and into the surrounding skin.
Both types of scars may be itchy or painful. In severe cases, these scars can affect one’s mobility.
When Should I Begin using Silicone Strips?
In the case of newly healed wounds, be sure to wait until there is no further bleeding, oozing or crusting on the area you are treating. Ask your Surgeon for specifics as this is general information only. However, you can use silicone strips sometimes 1-2 weeks after you have your sutures removed. Definitely do not use until your Surgeon gives you clearance to do so.
Can I use Silicone Strips on any Part of My Body?
Yes, mostly. Silicone strips can be ideal for use on most body parts as long as the tissue has healed adequately.
How long should I use Silicon Strips?
- Treatment duration will vary from person to person
- Duration depends on the extent and severity of the scar and your skin’s healing and scar formation processes.
- Sometimes the recommended duration of silicone strips usage is 8 to 12 weeks for new scars or 3 to 6 months for existing scars. You probably think that’s a fairly long protocol to follow, of course. However, you’ll likely find that you’re rewarded with less visible scars if you do.
- However, for many people, scars fade within 12-24 months following surgery.
- The results of these treatments may vary.
Best Ways to use Silicon Strips
Your Surgeon, Nurse or Dermal Clinician will help teach you how to use your silicone strips properly:
- You should do scar massages gently, and only around the scar, of course.
- Remove the strips when showering.
- You should change out the strips weekly since each strip should last for approximately one week.
- Naturally, you should report any changes in your skin sensation, itchiness, redness, irritation, and other abnormalities in your scar tissue to your Surgeon immediately for further medical evaluation.
Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure involving scars after surgery. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 8am-6pm, Monday – Friday.