Cosmetic Surgery: How Do Silicone Strips for Scars Work?

How your scar heals and looks after surgery is an important factor to anyone considering plastic surgery. Although your surgeon takes every step to conceal scars in natural creases of the body and make them as hidden as possible, scarring is inevitable in some cases. After surgery, your doctor may recommend silicone strips to help your scars heal faster.

Cosmetic Surgery Scars: What are Silicone Strips? 

Let’s start by talking about scars. Procedures such as a full tummy tuck and lower body lift require extensive incisions, resulting in scarring. Practically every surgery will result in a scar. Scars start off looking red, raised, and sometimes quite angry looking. Although everyone heals differently, the majority of scars fade over time. Typically, scars take up to 12 or 18 months to heal. So, what can you do to help speed up healing? That’s where silicone tape comes in. 

Silicone tape or silicone strips are made from medical grade silicone. It’s a self-adhesive type of plaster with silicone that’s used to promote the healing of scars and hypertrophic scars. A hypertrophic scar is an abnormal response to the healing process that results in a thickened, wide scar around the wound site. Silicone tape is an internationally recognised way to treat and improve scars. It’s used amongst healthcare professionals as a form of scar management. You can also get silicone gel and sheets, depending on your needs. 

Breast augmentation and uplift with minimal scar, The Harley Clinic, London

Silicone Tape for Scars: How Does it Work? 

Silicone helps with scars by creating a good balance of skin hydration and collagen regulation. Scars need the right combination of oxygen and moisture to heal properly. When the silicone is applied, the moisture of the wound site is maintained, and the skin’s collagen production is regulated. This process helps to flatten the scar tissue, decrease discolouration, and allow the scar to blend in with the surrounding skin. The silicone also helps protect the scar from bacteria. 

Keeping the surgical site hydrated is crucial for producing good scars. But silicone strips offer several benefits to the healing process. The strips ease the tension around the wound. So, instead of the edge of the surgical site having all the tension, it’s transferred to the outer parts of the silicone sheet. This helps to provide a good environment for scar healing. 

Silicone strips have also been found to reduce the blood flow to the surgical site, which can be beneficial for scar formation. Finally, silicone tape can help in preventing the formation of raised scars. 

Silicone tape can help to heal scars, but other factors also affect the appearance of your scars like:

  • Type of surgery 
  • Width, length, and location of your incision 
  • Your natural healing abilities 

Scar Reduction: When Can You Use Silicone Strips? 

Silicone strips can be a good choice for scar management to help reduce large post-surgery scarring. It can be especially useful for breast lift scarring and other breast surgeries like breast enhancement and breast reconstruction. 

Silicone Strips for Scars - What Do Breast Augmentation Scars Look Like? Neat breast augmentation scars, The Harley Clinic, London

You can get silicone strips in lots of different shapes and sizes. For breast augmentation, you can find specific strips to suit your scarring. You can cut silicone strips to size to fit a particular body part for other areas. 

Generally, most surgeons recommend that you start using silicone tape about 3 weeks after everything is healed. In reality, your plastic surgeon would monitor your wound healing and tell you when you can start using silicone tape. This is because one person may heal slower or faster than someone else. So, it’s difficult to give a blanket statement. 

Applying silicone tape will form part of your plastic surgery recovery toolkit. Where necessary, your plastic surgeon will give you instructions to follow so you know how to apply and change the tape. 

The Benefits of Using Silicone Strips for Scars 

There’s a reason why doctors often recommend using silicone strips for scars, including: 

  • Non-invasive and painless
  • Easily available in different sizes
  • Blends in with natural skin colour 

On the other hand, the main disadvantages of using silicone strips are: 

  • Need to wear it 12-24 hours a day 
  • Potential for a skin reaction 
  • Need to wait a few months to see the results 

Tips for Reducing Cosmetic Surgery Scars 

When talking about scar reduction and optimising healing after cosmetic surgery, there are several factors that come into play. While silicone strips are beneficial, it’s important that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. Dr Riaz Agha at the Harley Clinic talks about how to optimise and reduce scars after an operation in the video below. 

Scar healing can vary massively, so it’s crucial that you stop smoking, follow a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water during your recovery to promote healing. With any incision, there will be a scar; it’s unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be obvious and angry. With the right steps, a great plastic surgeon, and proper aftercare, any scarring should heal nicely. Apart from using silicone gel, follow these tips to support the healthy formation of your cosmetic surgery scars. 

Avoid UV Light 

Exposure to UV light can worsen the appearance of fresh scars. A good rule of thumb is to stay out of the sun and off any tanning beds for at least 18-24 months. This doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Be sure to wear sun protection and cover up fresh scars with clothing. While it’s tempting to show off your new body or nose, keep in mind the effect that UV light can have on scars.   

Avoid Pulling and Tension 

Avoid or at least reduce stress on the incision site. So, try to avoid doing anything that puts tension on the area. This could include bending, lifting, or even driving. If you put too much pressure on the site, it could pull the incision apart, so you would end up with a bigger scar than necessary. 

To find out how to start your cosmetic surgery journey, book a consultation today at the Harley Clinic, London. 

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