While there are no formal studies I know of that would confirm the numbers, estimates from some in the medical community suggest that perhaps 100 million or more individuals throughout the world develop scars each year. Of course scars differ widely in their characteristics and thus their effects on individual patients. In some cases they pose no problems at all, while in others their effects can be more troubling. These effects may include pain, itching, anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression and diminished self esteem.
Despite all of this, there are limited viable options available for effectively treating scars. That is not to say there is a lack of products on the market claiming to heal scars. On the contrary, an internet search of the topic will reveal page after page of products claiming to heal any and all types of scars, regardless of their characteristics. But, most of these products offer no legitimate published studies to substantiate their claims. I have researched the topic extensively and as far as I can tell, the only scar treatment products proven effective in published medical studies are topical silicones in the form of sheets or spredeable gels.
Silicone sheets have long been an accepted form of effective scar treatment by the medical community, particularly by plastic and cosmetic surgeons. While medical studies confirm their effectiveness, there are some drawbacks to this form of treatment. Specifically, they are cumbersome to keep fixed to the scar site, they are unsightly when used on scars not covered by clothing, and in some cases they may cause irritation of the skin particularly in warmer climates where extreme perspiration may occur. Due to these drawbacks, patient compliance can become an issue. In other words, the sheets are not worn consistently throughout a course of treatment causing their benefits to not be fully realized.
The more recent development of silicone gel in a spreadable form is a viable answer to the problems mentioned above. These gels come in a tube and are applied like a cream. They are massaged onto the scar site a couple of times per day and once applied are generally invisible and more comfortable for the user. In addition, cosmetics or sunscreen can be applied on top of the gel. Studies have shown these gels to be effective on par with silicone sheets and patient compliance appears to be easier to achieve.
It should be noted that while several topical treatments are available on the market, they contain varying degrees of the key ingredient, silicone. Some have no silicone at all while others are nearly all silicone. One should be careful to check that the product they select is composed primarily of silicone. It is ok and perhaps good for there to be a small percentage of other ingredients such as Vitamins, Sunscreens or Co-Enzyme Q10 as well.