Keloids and hypertrophic scars can be distressing and impact one's self-confidence. Fortunately, corticosteroid tapes and plasters have emerged as a popular treatment option for these conditions. In this article, we will delve into the effectiveness, benefits, and potential side effects of corticosteroid tapes and plasters, backed by scientific evidence.
Understanding Keloids and Hypertrophic Scars
Keloids and hypertrophic scars are abnormal responses to skin injuries, resulting in raised, thickened, and sometimes itchy or painful scars. While keloids extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound, hypertrophic scars remain within the wound site. Both conditions can be caused by various factors, including genetics, trauma, surgery, or acne.
The Role of Corticosteroid Tapes and Plasters
Corticosteroid tapes and plasters have long been utilized as a first-line therapy for keloids and hypertrophic scars, particularly in Japan. These treatments have shown remarkable effectiveness, especially in pediatric patients. This may be attributed to the fact that children have thinner skin, allowing for better absorption of the steroids.
Scientific Evidence and Benefits
Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of corticosteroid tapes and plasters in reducing the size, thickness, and redness of keloids and hypertrophic scars. These treatments have been found to promote flattening and softening of the scar tissue, leading to improved cosmetic outcomes.
One notable benefit of corticosteroid tapes and plasters is their ability to prevent the development of keloids and hypertrophic scars after surgery. By applying these treatments postoperatively, patients can significantly reduce the risk of scar formation and improve wound healing.
Different Preparations and Formulations
Corticosteroid tapes and plasters are available in various preparations and formulations, depending on the country. In the UK, a commercially available formulation contains fludroxycortide (4 μg/cm2), classified as a Group III preparation. Similarly, the USA offers a steroid tape with 4 μg/cm2 flurandrenolide, also classified as Group III.
In Japan, two types of steroid tape formulations are available. One is the Group III preparation with fludroxycortide tape (4 μg/cm2), similar to the UK formulation. The other is a deprodone propionate tape, which contains 20 μg/cm2 of the steroid. Deprodone propionate tape is considered a Group I or II preparation and has shown to be particularly effective in treating and preventing keloids.
Usage and Treatment Tips
When using corticosteroid tapes and plasters, it is important to follow certain guidelines. The tape or plaster should be changed daily, and the treatment should continue until the raised mass becomes flat and soft. It is crucial to cut the tape according to the shape of the keloid or hypertrophic scar for optimal coverage.
Once the scar has flattened and softened, the use of corticosteroid tape or plaster should be discontinued, even if the scar is still red. Prolonged use of the tape can lead to capillarectasia, as the steroid treatment thins the structures supporting the blood vessels.
Difference Between Steroid Tapes/Plasters and Steroid Injections
While corticosteroid injections are another common treatment for keloids and hypertrophic scars, they can be associated with pain and contraindications. Corticosteroid tapes and plasters offer a convenient alternative, especially for pediatric and older patients with thinner skin, as they are easily absorbed. These treatments can also be used in combination with other therapies, such as corticosteroid injections, to achieve optimal results.
Potential Side Effects
Like any medical treatment, corticosteroid tapes and plasters may have potential side effects. These can include capillary dilation, contact dermatitis, skin atrophy, and hair folliculitis. However, the occurrence of side effects is relatively low, and the benefits of the treatment often outweigh the risks.
Corticosteroid tapes and plasters have proven to be effective in the treatment and prevention of keloids and hypertrophic scars. Supported by scientific evidence, these treatments offer a non-invasive and convenient option for individuals seeking to improve the appearance of their scars. However, it is essential to follow proper usage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment plans.
Remember, every individual's skin and scar response may vary, so it is important to seek professional guidance to determine the most suitable treatment approach for your specific situation.
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