Scars are an inevitable part of any surgery. Over time, scars generally fade away and become less and less obvious. If you are concerned about scarring, it is a good idea to discuss your scar removal options with Dr Hunt prior to the surgery. Silicone strips after surgery are one of the first lines of defence against scars. Some people also choose laser treatments at a later stage.
The increasing popularity of silicone strips has caused patients to wonder: will it really help my scars? Do they cost a lot – is it worth spending money on these strips?
Do Silicone Strips Work to Help Reduce the Appearance of Scars?
You need to understand that any kind of surgery will leave a visible scar on your body. Initially, the incision lines are red and swollen. At this point, it is important to stick to all the wound care instructions if you don’t want to worsen the appearance of scars. Every person heals at a different pace and will have a different kind of scar even if they got the same surgery from the same surgeon.
Incision Healing Process
Most of the scars will typically mature in about 12 months’ timeframe. In some cases, it can take up to 18 months as well. Some good options to use post-surgery are silicone strips, dermapen, light therapies, and some other alternatives. It is important to have a nutrient-dense diet, drink enough water, quit smoking and follow all the post-operative instructions to the letter to minimise the post-op complications and scarring.
If you follow all the instructions along with using silicone strips, the scars can be reduced significantly. Some of the factors that influence the overall appearance of scars include the type of surgery, length, width, and location of the incision line, and the natural healing response of your body.
Evidence-Based Protocols for Scar Management
There are many types of post-op scar minimisation protocols that Dr Hunt will take into account for minimising surgical scars. These protocols are generally combined with scar management options to achieve the desired results. Some of the options include skin needling, enzyme peels, chemical peels, derma pen micro-needling and other light-based treatments.
Another option is scar revision surgery. This works for ragged-looking scars and might be topped off with topical treatments such as silicone strips and high-grade vitamin E oils to boost healing.
Important Factors to Know About Scars
It is important to remember that every single individual is different and will heal at a different pace. The formation of scars isn’t controllable or predictable in any way shape or form. However, there are ways to help minimise the appearance of scars.
What you do during the post-op phase will have a significant impact on the results of the surgery. It is important to stay clear of smoking at all costs. Otherwise, you might end up compromising the results of the surgery. The surgeon’s experience, combined with what you do post-op will determine the results of the surgery and extent of scarring. It is important to remember that scars will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to look less visible.
Impact of Your Skin, Health and Genetics on Scarring
Scars come in various shapes and sizes. They vary in terms of depth, quality, texture, and shape. The formation of the scar is dependent on the extent of injury, trauma, location, depth, and length of the surgical incision. The scar is highly impacted by internal and external conditions. While you can control some of these elements, others are out of your control. Genes will play a major role in the overall healing of your scar. High melanin skin types are more prone to keloid scarring and more visible scars. If you have richly pigmented skin, your scars will likely be more visible.
Having overall healthy skin along with great immunity will help a lot when it comes to scar healing. Dr Hunt and your medical team will help you out, but you have to play your part as well.
Silicone Strips and Scar Reduction
Silicone strips are a topical treatment that has the ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and minimise the look of visible scars. They are inexpensive and will require extra care during the healing phase. Certain patients can expect good results in scar reduction while others won’t see much of a difference.
If you haven’t seen silicone strips before, they are ultra-thin sheets of silicone that stick over the skin and have to be applied 24 hours a day. Once your incisions are healed, you can start using them over your scars after consulting Dr Hunt. The silicone strips feature self-drying technology which enables them to dry on your skin within 5 minutes after application. Please note that silicone strips might not work effectively for every single patient.
As per the Silicone Strip Manufacturers, the strips can:
- Reduce the scar texture by 86%
- Minimise the pigmentation of the scar by 86%
- Offer 68% reduction in the height of scars
So far, we don’t have enough evidence to prove that silicone strips work well for every single patient. However, they are worth a try and might be very efficient for certain patients.
How Silicone Strips Help Your Scars?
Silicone strips may:
- Increase the hydration of the outer layer of the skin
- Aid in the production of fibroblasts: the cells that are responsible for manufacturing and maintaining connective tissues
- Restructure the collagen on the affected skin to help you achieve a softer, flatter scar.
- Offer protection for the scars against bacteria and prevent excessive collagen production.
- They also modulate FGF β which is responsible for normalising the production of collagen in an abnormal scar and increases the production of collagenases
Pros and Cons of Using Silicone Strips
Like any other product, silicone strips have their pros and cons. Let’s discuss some of the benefits and downsides of using these strips for scar reduction.
Pros of Using Silicone Strips
- Silicone strips are more beneficial than silicone gels. The silicone strips are constantly present on top of your scars, unlike gels that might get wiped away easily. It makes them all the more effective
- Silicone strips are a non-invasive and painless way to minimise scar tissue
- Silicone strips help to reduce pain, bumpiness, redness, and itching of scars as your skin heals
- Silicone strips come in many sizes which makes them suitable for scars of different lengths
- These are easily and readily available everywhere and you can apply them to the scars within the comfort of your own home
- The silicone strips blend with the natural contours of your skin and aren’t overly obvious. They won’t be the first thing anybody notices for sure
Cons of Using Silicone Strips
- You must wear them for 24 hours a day to see visible results. Moreover, they can become visible if you are wearing thin clothes
- Silicone strips come with a price tag especially when you compare them with gels
- In some people, they can cause an allergic reaction
Types of Scars That May Be Treated with Silicone Strips
Silicone strips are proven to be beneficial for elevated scars. They also work well for the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.
If you don’t know the difference between the two, let us try to explain it in the simplest way possible. Hypertrophic scars remain within the boundaries of the damage but are raised. On the other hand, keloid scars extend way beyond the incision line, into the surrounding skin. Both can be itchy and quite painful. Silicone strips can be efficient in reducing the size of these scars.
FAQS about Silicone Strips and Scar Treatment
Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding the use of silicone strips for scar reduction:
Can I use Silicone Strips on older scars?
- Yes, you can use silicone strips on both old and new scars. Regardless of the age of the scar, silicone strips may help with the fading process.
When should I begin using silicone strips?
- Dr Hunt will guide you in detail regarding the use of silicone strips after the surgery. As a general rule of thumb, you need to wait until your incisions are healed and have no further bleeding, crusting and oozing. Most people can start using silicone strips about 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. However, you should always consult Dr Hunt prior to doing so.
Can I use silicone strips on any part of my body?
- Silicone strips can be used on all parts of the body, provided that your incision and tissues have healed fully.
For how long am I supposed to use silicone strips?
- The time duration for using silicone strips varies from person to person. The duration also depends on the severity of the scar and how large it is. Your skin’s natural healing response and scar formation process also play a critical role. Most times the recommended duration varies between 8 to 12 weeks for new scars and 3 to 6 weeks for older scars. It might seem like a long time. However, if you stick to it and are consistent, you may be rewarded with less visible scarring. It is important to remember that the results of these treatments may vary.
Is silicone strip scar treatment safe?
- Yes, this is a safe treatment and the FDA even recommends silicone strips for the treatment and reduction of scars. There have been no reported side effects after using silicone strips because it is made of non-toxic, medical-grade silicone. Hence, discontinue the use if you experience any kind of irritation.
How to use silicone strips on your scars properly?
Dr Hunt will guide you in detail regarding the usage of silicone strips. Here is a guideline:
- Make sure to clean the scars and the skin surrounding them
- Gently place the silicone strip on your scar and let it stay there for 24 hours
- Make sure to remove the strips while showering
- Scar massage should only be done gently around the scar
- Swap out the silicone strip every week
- If you notice any changes in your skin such as redness, irritation, itchiness, dryness or any other abnormalities, discontinue the use
Further Reading about Body Procedures
- Read Dr Hunt’s Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Body Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Post Weight Loss Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Patient Case Study of Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty Patients Before and After Photos
- How to use Adhesive Tape-Silicones Combination Package
- How Soon After Surgery Can I Start Using Silicone Scar Sheets?
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon Sydney
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing breast, body, face and nose surgery. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has ensured that thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia have received high quality surgical care.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
- Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.