Silicone has been used to treat scars for over 30 years, and according to the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Journal (Aesthetic Surgery Journal is a peer-reviewed international journal focusing on scientific developments and clinical techniques in aesthetic surgery), topical silicone therapy is often considered the first choice of treatment. The use of silicone to treat scarring is not limited to use by plastic surgeons. Companies such as SilcSkin offer high quality silicone pads that are made in the U.S.A. and are available for anyone to use at home to fade scarring.
There are many types of scars and they vary greatly depending on the individual and racial patient features, the nature of the trauma and the conditions of wound healing:
Keloid scars. These scars form due to an overly aggressive healing process and extend beyond the original injury. Treatments typically include surgery to remove the scar, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). Keloid formation can be treated by using gel pads with silicone. Keloid scars are prevalent among people with dark skin.
Contracture scars. Contracture scars are formed when skin gets burned. These scars tighten skin, which can impair the ability to move and may also affect muscles and nerves.
Hypertrophic scars. These are raised, red scars that are similar to keloids. Treatments include injections of steroids to reduce inflammation or silicone sheets, which flatten the scar.
Acne scars. Acne scars form from severe cases of acne. There are many types of acne scars, ranging from deep pits to scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance.
Scars form when skin is wounded due to an injury, surgery or other trauma. Scar tissue develops on the skin as part of the body’s natural healing process. When the dermis (the middle layer of skin) is torn due to the injury, cells called fibroblasts grow into granulation tissue where they produce collagen to seal the wound. Collagen is a structural protein that helps give the skin firmness and elasticity. However when excessive amounts of collagen are produced, a raised, discolored scar is produced.
What is silicone? Silicones are a synthetic material made of a large number of repeating units of siloxane bonded together with carbon and/or hydrogen. Medical grade silicones are used for silicone scar treatments products. These, like the anti-wrinkle pads made by SilcSkin, can also be used for the treatment of wrinkles quite effectively. Silicone in either pad or gel form are easy to administer, and can be applied on irregular skin or scar surfaces. The durability and biocompatibility of medical grade silicone makes it ideal for scar treatment products.
The use of medical grade silicone disrupts the scar formation process, helping to heal scars. Silicone increases hydration of the stratum corneum (uppermost layer of skin). This facilitates the regulation of fibroblasts and reduces collagen production, allowing the skin to breathe and resulting in flatter and softer scars.
In a study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918339) examined 30 patients to determine the efficiency of silicone gel for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. In this study, the patients applied a silicone gel as a thin film to the scar area twice a day. After 6 months, researchers found that the silicone gel produced an 86% reduction in texture, 84% in color, and 68% in height of scars.
Silicone is an ideal way to treat scarring, and can also be used for wrinkles. Not all silicone is made the same however. Make sure you buy medical grade silicone pads that are processed in a sterile environment, and that are made in the U.S.A. SilcSkin medical grade silicone pads are made in America and the silicone is made using a platinum curing process. Silicone made in other countries where close scrutiny to the manufacturing process may not be possible can result in sub-par products that can cause skin rashes and skin outbreaks.