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Scars: Do Silicone Strips Help?

By HERWriter
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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

Add a Comment10 Comments

Its actually better to buy a non branded silicon sheet. It saves you a lot of money. . Although the product will be ship from Asia, but its worth the wait.

I have been using silicon sheets for fifteen months and have seen real improvements. I have tried using other products like rosehip but it doesn't help a bit, it will only soften your scars.

December 2, 2010 - 5:46am
EmpowHER Guest

I was able to order the cica care strips from my pharmacy. Although they may not have them in stock, the order from a very large wholesaler that carries many different products. If you ask them to, they should be able to special order them in for you. Mine arrived the next day.

December 7, 2009 - 7:18am

Thanks for bringing up a new silicone strip product that may be of help to others. I went to their website and they cite a lot of clinical studies that are even older than 2003 in regards to silicone strips improving scars. They do not have a clinical trial though that presents their product against how well others work so it is hard to know whether it is superior or not though they claim it to be. They do sell strips but the larger size is $60 for 12. The spray is $70 a bottle which makes me wonder how one keeps it from rubbing off into clothes and not staying on the scar. If people are not sure which strip products to use, they should contact their own dermatologist and get input from them.

November 10, 2009 - 2:28pm
EmpowHER Guest

Since 2003 when that research presentation was done, there have been great strides in the improvement of silicone sheeting for scars. The newest, most innovative option is the new ScarAway patches and strips with Silon technology. Silon technology was previously only available to medical professionals, hospitals and burn centers. It has just become available over the counter. ScarAway is coming to stores in 2010 and can be found online at drugstore.com and other major online e-tailers. I personally used ScarAway upon recommendation of my doctor for 2 surgery scars over the past year and 1/2 (reconstructive surgery scar...and an older c-section scar) and was completely amazed at how my scars were reduced and faded in just a few weeks. 1 of my scars was a few years old and had been red, thick and itchy for all this time. ScarAway eliminated the itching in just 3 days, and took down the scar to the point where it is barely noticeable. Amazing stuff.

November 10, 2009 - 7:08am

Thanks for letting me know! The web is an amazing vehicle. BTW, I tried clicking on the link above I have for the PDF of their study and it wouldn't go. If you search the reseacher's names and silicone strips then the PDF is there and findable on the web.

July 11, 2009 - 6:56am
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you Michele! For an article on scars on the Dutch Infonu website, a free database comparable to Wikipedia, I gratefully used some of your information. And of course mentioned you as a source. So, your work travels the globe!

July 11, 2009 - 4:52am

Click on http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles
which is also posted at the end of this article to go to my Helium page. Under my picture click on "Contact this writer" that will email me directly what you send.

thanks alot!

July 1, 2009 - 11:27am

Thanks for your suggestion of a product that people could easily find. I would be very interested in reading that article. I went to the Pharmacy times site but when I searched silicone strips nothing came up. You can email me if you have a link.

I searched Curad and it does look like there are limited quanities and CICA care can be bought on Amazon. Since this study is over 5 years old I imagine more products are available. And any silicone product should provide an improvement over using nothing.

I looked up Kelo-cote and it certainly is neat to not have to cover it though they do say to cover the area if it is in a place likely to get bumped. Great to get info on a current product.

June 30, 2009 - 3:02pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Michele Blacksberg RN)

I can send you a pdf if you provide me an email address or fax number.

July 1, 2009 - 9:15am
EmpowHER Guest

Just an FYI, I believe the Curad products are no longer available, and the Cica Care product is not readily available in pharmacies. I would recommend Kelo-cote, a silicone gel that has been widely studied and proven effective, and is much easier to use and is invisible so there is no big "patch" showing, especially of concern in exposed scars. There was an extensive Pharmacist Continuing Education paper published in a recent Pharmacy Times that cited a variety of sources and spoke highly of silicone gels.

June 30, 2009 - 9:14am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.