Topical Silicone Treatment

The charts below show the chances of developing various side effects from topical silicone treatment.1-6 In general, side effects from topical silicone treatment are mild and disappear quickly once the treatment is stopped and the skin is cleaned.6

Certain/Likely Side Effects (% = Incidence)

SHORT TERM Itching (pruritus)up to 25%

Possible/Rare Side Effects

SHORT TERM Skin breakdown (maceration)
and itching (pruritus)*
up to 13.3%
SHORT TERM Local rash (dermatitis)up to 3.3%
SHORT TERM Mild red bumps at hair follicles (folliculitis)up to 3.1%

*Skin breakdown (maceration): Skin breakdown (maceration) is similar to what happens when a bandage is on the skin for a long period of time. The skin becomes softened and appears crinkled, whitish, and moist.

Studies:   

Four studies have looked at the side effects of topical silicone treatment for raised scars.

  • Studies 1:

    • Authors: Wigger-Alberti et al.2
    • Total # of patients: 60
    • # of female patients: 44
    • # of male patients: 16
    • Age of patients: 16-61 Average: 38.2
    • Type of topical silicone treatment: Silicone sheet, changed once a week
    • Duration of treatment: 12 weeks
    • Side effects: Local dermatitis (rash): 3.3%
  • Studies 2:

    • Authors: Berman and Flores3
    • Total # of patients: 32
    • # of female patients: 28
    • # of male patients: 4
    • Age of patients: 25-70
    • Type of topical silicone treatment: Silicone gel sheet or silicone gel-filled cushion, worn 10 hours/day
    • Duration of treatment: 4 months
    • Side effects: Mild folliculitis (red bumps at hair follicles): 3.1%
  • Studies 3:

    • Authors: Karagoz et al.4
    • Total # of patients: 32
    • # of female patients: 20
    • # of male patients: 12
    • Age of patients: 3-55 Average: 24
    • Type of topical silicone treatment: Silicone gel, applied twice a day
      • Duration of treatment: 6 months
      • Side effects: None
    • Type of topical silicone treatment: Silicone gel sheet, worn 24 hours/day
      • Duration of treatment: 6 months
      • Side effects: Skin maceration (breakdown) and pruritus (itching): 13.3%
  • Studies 4:

    • Authors: Lacarrubba et al.5
    • Total # of patients: 8
    • # of female patients: 6
    • # of male patients: 2
    • Age of patients: 12-49 Average: 29
    • Type of topical silicone treatment: Silicone gel, applied twice a day
    • Duration of treatment: 6 months
    • Side effects: Pruritus (itching): 25%

Study 1: In a study published in 2009 in the Journal of Wound Care, Wigger-Alberti and colleagues treated 60 patients with hypertrophic scars with silicone gel sheets. The silicone sheets were changed weekly, and treatment continued for 12 weeks. The silicone sheets caused local dermatitis (rash) in 2 patients.2

Study 2: In a study published in 1999 in the journal Dermatologic Surgery, Berman and Flores treated 32 patients with hypertrophic and keloid scars with either silicone gel-filled cushions or silicone gel sheets. The sheets/cushions were worn for at least 10 hours per day for 4 months. One patient experienced mild folliculitis (red bumps at the hair follicles). This patient had been wearing the topical silicone treatment around the clock, and when he/she began to wear it for only 10 hours per day as prescribed, the side effect disappeared on its own.3

Study 3: In a study published in 2009 in the journal Burns, Karagoz and colleagues treated 32 patients with hypertrophic scars with either silicone gel or silicone gel sheets. The patients who were treated with silicone gel applied the gel twice a day. The patients who received silicone gel sheets wore the sheets 24 hours a day. The study continued for 6 months. The patients who were treated with silicone gel sheets developed skin maceration (breakdown) and pruritus (itching), which disappeared after the treatment was interrupted for a week.4

Study 4: Study In a study published in 2008 in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, Lacarrubba and colleagues treated 8 patients with hypertrophic scars with silicone gel. The patients applied a thin coat of gel to their scars twice a day for 6 months. Two patients complained of itching. No other side effects were reported.5

References
  1. Levy LL, and Zeichner JA. Management of acne scarring, part II. A comparative review of non-laser-based, minimally invasive approaches. Am J Clin Dermatol. 13(5), 331-340 (2012).
  2. Wigger-Albert W, et al. Efficacy of a polyurethane dressing versus a soft silicone sheet on hypertrophic scars. J Wound Care. 18(5), 208, 210-4 (2009).
  3. Berman B, and Flores F. Comparison of a silicone gel-filled cushion and silicon gel sheeting for the treatment ofhypertrophic or keloid scars. Dermatol Surg. 25(6), 484-6 (1999).
  4. Karagoz H, Yuksel F, Ulkur E, and Evinc R. Comparison of efficacy of silicone gel, silicone gel sheeting, and topical onion extract including heparin and allantoin for the treatment of postburn hypertrophic scars. Burns. 35(8), 1097-103 (2009).
  5. Lacarrubba F, Patania L, Perrotta R, Stracuzzi G, Nasca MR, and Micali G. An open-label pilot study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a silicone gel in the treatmentof hypertrophic scars using clinical and ultrasound assessments. J Dermatolog Treat. 19(1),50-3 (2008).
  6. Stavrou D, et al. Silicone-based scar therapy: a review of the literature. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 34(5), 646-51 (2010).