Topical Silicone Scar Treatments have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years. An internet search on the topic will uncover enough results to leave your head spinning. While not all of these products are created equally, there is sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that products with the right ingredients (namely silicone), if used as directed, can help reduce the size and intensity of scars.
Aside from choosing the correct product, which we will cover in a separate article, the single most important thing one can do when treating a scar with a topical gel is to make sure that the product is in contact with the skin as much as possible over the entire course of treatment (roughly 12 weeks). Applying the treatment sporadically won’t get the job done. Following is a brief guide to using topical scar treatments correctly in a way that will give the user the best chance at achieving favorable results:
1) Use the product consistently. As mentioned above, to be effective the product must be in contact with the skin for the maximum amount of time possible throughout an entire course of treatment (roughly 12 weeks). One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is to only use the product sporadically. This simply won’t cut it. We suggest applying the product at least twice a day. Throughout the course of the day it will wear off due to contact with clothing, washing of the skin, etc. Usually an application in the morning and then again in the evening works well, however a third application in between is not a bad idea if possible.
2) Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect significant results immediately. Improvement is sometimes slow. Week to week improvements may be so slow that they aren’t entirely obvious. Some of our customers actually take periodic pictures so they can compare the results over time to get a better appreciation of the overall improvement. Generally, scar resolution will start with softening of the skin, followed by fading of discoloration and improvement in the size and intensity of the scar. Results will vary but generally will be better on newer scars. Scars that are over two years of age usually won’t respond as well. This is because they are no longer physiologically active.
3) Massage the Scar. When applying a topical gel it is a good idea to spend a few minutes massaging the product onto the skin, assuming this doesn’t cause too much pain. There is evidence that suggests massage helps to break down scar tissue and help improve the appearance of the scar. We suggest using both circular (clock wise and counter clock wise) motions as well as up and down and sideways motions. A good rule of thumb is to spend 3-5 minutes doing this with each application, if time permits. Note, it is not absolutely necessary to do this, but it may aid in the scar resolution process.
4) More isn’t necessarily better. The idea is to apply a thin layer of the product on the skin. A thicker layer won’t make improvement occur any faster. A small drop of product should be enough to sufficiently cover most scars up to three inches in length. A 15g (1/2 oz.) tube of product should be plenty to treat a 3” long scar twice a day for 12 weeks. For larger scars, consider a larger tube. We offer our Scarfade Scar Gel in 15g (1/2 oz.), 30g (1 oz.) and 60g (2 oz.) sizes.
5) Apply Scar Treatment Gel first. If you are going to cover the area to be treated with other products such as makeup or sunscreen, do so after the application of the Scar Gel. It is important for the product to be in direct contact with the skin. Other products, if applied first, may act as a barrier to the Scar Gel. A lot of our customers apply makeup over the top of our ScarFade products and this is fine.
6) Wipe away the excess. After applying the product, gently wipe away any excess with a tissue. The skin should be slightly shiny where the product is applied, but there shouldn’t be a thick layer of tacky gel sitting on the skin. Remember, only a thin layer is needed. Excess product won’t hurt the healing process but may be a nuisance, stain clothing, etc. Wiping away the excess will also make it easier to apply makeup or sunscreen over the top of the Scar Treatment product (see # 5 above).
We hope this guide helps answer some of your questions about using topical Scar Treatment products. For more information on this topic give us a call at (800)771-2215.