Scar management by means of occlusion and hydration: a comparative study of silicones versus a hydrating gel-cream

Burns. 2013 Nov;39(7):1437-48. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2013.03.025. Epub 2013 Apr 29.


Despite the worldwide use of silicones in scar management, its exact working mechanism based on a balanced occlusion and hydration, is still not completely elucidated. Moreover, it seems peculiar that silicones with completely different occlusive and hydrating properties still could provide a similar therapeutic effect. The objective of the first part of this study was to compare the occlusive and hydrating properties of three fluid silicone gels and a hydrating gel-cream. In a second part of the study these results were compared with those of silicone gel sheets. Tape stripped skin was used as a standardized scar like model on both forearms of 40 healthy volunteers. At specific times, trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) and the hydration state of the stratum corneum were measured and compared with intact skin and a scar-like control over a 3-4h period. Our study clearly demonstrated that fluid silicone gels and a hydrating gel-cream have comparable occlusive and hydrating properties while silicone gel sheets are much more occlusive, reducing TEWL values far below those of normal skin. A well-balanced, hydrating gel-cream can provide the same occlusive and hydrating properties as fluid silicone gels, suggesting that it could eventually replace silicones in scar treatment.

Keywords: Fluid silicone gel; Hydrating gel-cream; Hydration; Moisturizers; Occlusion; Scar; Scar treatment; Silicone; Silicone gel; Silicone gel sheets; Trans epidermal water loss.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Body Water
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / physiopathology
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / therapy*
  • Epidermis / physiology
  • Female
  • Forearm Injuries / therapy
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological
  • Occlusive Dressings*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Silicones / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Cream / therapeutic use*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Gels
  • Silicones