Many of us have scars we wish were less prominent. Luckily, clothes can often cover a scar, but dressing to hide one’s scar isn’t practical or even desirable. With all the advances in treatment technology, certainly there should be some solid research data on whether silicone strips make incisions heal better with less scarring.
Searching the Web for “silicone strips for scars” brings up a lot of “hits” of where to buy silicone strips, but not much science as to how or whether they really help a scar’s appearance. I finally found a slide presentation of a study performed in 2003 by a doctoral physical therapy student, Kathleen Mitchell, at Shenandoah University with a Chair/Professor Barbara H. Long at the Health & Exercise Department at Bridgewater College.
Two worthwhile questions were posed. “Is there value in using silicone gel products with post-surgical wounds to enhance scar pliability and visual appearance?” and “Is one product better than another?”
Studies regarding the mechanism of silicone strips or gel do not clearly describe how they work and some even dispute that silicone products make a difference. It is thought that silicone keeps more moisture in the skin and decreases the arrival of inflammatory mediators. Silicone strips or gel are also believed to decrease collagen production, which when overproduced can lead to thicker scar formation. However, another study in 2001 indicated that there was no real difference between silicone and nonsilicone dressings.
Mitchell and Long set out to test the results of three brands of silicone strips to directly answer their second question: Is one product better than another? They tested three types of silicone strips on 20 post-op patients with comparable scars receiving six weeks of rehab. Five patients were put in each of the three groups and five were randomly put in the control group.
The three brands tested were:
- Smith & Nephew CICA CARE® Adhesive Gel Sheets
- Johnson & Johnson’s BAND-AID® Brand Scar Healing Strips
- CURAD® Scar Therapy™ Cosmetic Pads