We are constantly getting asked what the best products are to deal with scarring, whether it’s after plastic surgery procedures, cesarean scars or any other type of scarring. It’s one of the most asked questions on our closed Facebook Groups and here at the Hub. I caught up with Lynne from Strapharma recently to talk about two of their most popular scar gels, Stratamed and Strataderm.
Trish: Hello podcasters. It’s Trish here from Transforming Bodies and I’m here today with Lynne. Lynne is from Stratpharma and Stratpharma produces a range of skin, wound, scars and stretch mark creams, which are not creams, bad word, bad word. They’re basically medical devices and today we’re gonna talk, well I’ve been getting lots of inquiry actually from people who have had surgery and then where to go to from there with dealing with scars. Every surgeon that you go to will have a completely different opinion with what the best scar treatments are, so I wanted to speak to someone who just deals with scars and treating scars all day and the Stratpharma range of products is amazing. Today we’re gonna talk about the Stratamed and we’re gonna talk about the Strataderm because there’s one that you can actually use when, not the wound is open, but when it just happens, when you’ve just had your scar or whatever. Then it’s followed by the Strataderm once it’s completely sealed. So I’ll get Lynne to answer all those questions for us today.
For all those ladies, and men, who are out there and have had surgery and just don’t know what to do with the scar afterwards because sometimes you can kind of be left with a bit high and dry, so we’ll talk about that. Thank you for coming in today Lynne.
Lynne: Thanks Trish. Nice to be here.
Trish: Lovely. Tell us, I’m a real advocate for the Stratamed and the Strataderm even though sometimes I struggle with remembering the names. Tell us first of all, what’s the, so the Stratamed is the one that you use first, so when can you start using that? What’s the proper protocol for that?
Lynne: Good question. Stratamed is recommended for compromised skin or immediately after a procedure has actually happened. So either you’ve wounded yourself, so it might be from trauma, but if you had surgery, so immediately after the surgery has happened. The earlier that you can introduce silicon straight onto the wound, then the better the scar outcome. Silicon’s the recommended first line of treatment for scars in the international guidelines.
Trish: So Stratamed is silicon? And Strataderm is silicon as well.
Lynne: Correct, but Stratamed is the one that you can use straight away. It’s actually sterile in the tube, and it has an indication for being used on compromised skin, or a wound that’s just happened. It’s often used on burns as well, so it can be used on skin that’s actually quite damaged. If you’ve had surgery and you got sutures in, then you can actually apply Stratamed immediately after the sutures have been put in. Some surgeons don’t like to do that. They each have their own way of managing their wound and each of them gets the best outcome by using their techniques, so sometimes they don’t like to introduce products early on. You can actually introduce Stratamed early on, but you’d have to talk to your surgeon about whether they were willing to use it immediately after they had closed and put the sutures in. If you can’t, then you need to find a time when the surgeon will allow you to put the Stratamed on as early as possible and that will give you the best scar outcome.
Trish: All right. So say, for example, when I had my breast reduction, my surgeon put tape on me and then the tape kind of came off after however many days and then I didn’t really have any, I’m allergic to tape so I didn’t actually have any follow up on the tape, I didn’t want to use tape. I didn’t actually put anything, but if I’d known that this was around, so the ideal thing would have been for me to do then, would be to use the Stratamed, every morning after a shower, putting it on, waiting for five minutes while it dries and then just putting my clothes on top and just going through my life normally.
Lynne: Yeah, correct. Stratamed is actually a wound dressing in a tube. It is classed as a wound dressing and it’s registered with the Therapeutical Association. It’s the same as some of the other dressings that surgeons will use, but it’s actually a gel in a tube. As you said, if you can use it as early as possible, once the tape has come off, so depending on how long your surgeon likes to leave tape on, as soon as the tape comes off, that is the time to start and to introduce Stratamed and using it generally twice a day, so that it stays in contact with your wound 24/7 and that’s when you’ll get the best outcome. As you said, it will dry and once it’s dry then you just get dressed and it’s actually a dressing that’s over the top of the wound that you can’t actually see.
Trish: How do you know how big to apply it on?
Lynne: You want it to actually dry, unless you’re actually gonna cover it. So, there’s two ways to use Stratamed. You can use it as a thin layer that dries, and then you don’t see it and then you can just put your clothes back on over top of it. In that case, you use a really small amount and spread it thinly so that it will dry. It takes I’ve to six minutes to dry, so if it’s not dry in that five to six minutes, then you’ve got it too thick and you need to tissue it off a little bit. It will actually still leave a layer there even if you dab it off with a tissue. Then that layer will then dry when you take the excess off.
The other way you use it is to use it under another dressing and some surgeons do that. You put it on under the dressing and put another dressing over the top. When you’re dealing with wounds that might have fluid coming out of those wounds, then most people would put another, a secondary dressing over top of it. In that case, you don’t even need to wait until it dries. You just put your layer of Stratamed on and then put your secondary dressing over the top and that will keep the whole thing protected but yo don’t have to wait for the Stratamed to dry.
Trish: Okay, all right. Say, for example, I’m a patient, I’ve had a lower body lift for example and I’ve just come out of surgery, I’ve had the tape on there, I go back to my surgeon in the week’s time and they take the tape off and they don’t put anything else on and they choose not to use anything else on, I can, like if I want to, I can go and get some Strataderm then or Stratamed? Because the Strataderm is like the phase two isn’t it?
Lynne: Correct. Strataderm goes on once the wound has actually healed and you’ve got intact skin.
Trish: So say, for example, say if I wasn’t healed, although the tape was off, I probably should use Stratamed because I might have a few little open bits here and this is actually going to act as the wound dressing.
Lynne: Correct. We tend to say seven to 14 days. After seven to 14 days you could start using Strataderm. We all heal at different rates depending on nutrition and how our bodies are coping with the wound. So we aren’t like to make a hard and fast rule. If there is still a wound there, then you use Stratamed, if that wound has healed and the skin is actually intact, then you can move on to using Strataderm.
Trish: Would there be a problem if you just kept using the Stratamed?
Lynne: There’s no problem just using Stratamed, but Strataderm was actually developed to stay in contact with the skin, in a much more robust way so that you get a better outcome by switching to Strataderm once your wound is actually healed. The good benefit to that is you actually only need to use Strataderm once a day, whereas Stratamed you’re applying twice a day. We know as we heal we get a little bit more lax about what we’re actually doing with the scar and if you only have to use it once a day, it’s much better and you can remember to do that much easier.
Trish: So you’ve used your Stratamed and you’ve used it, say for two weeks, then you transferred over to your Strataderm, how long, and I know we’re all different, but how long do you think you should be using that every day because you’re gonna use that once a day, so how long should you be using Strataderm once a day after that 14 day period. How long is it? Is it like four weeks? Is it three months? How long before you’re actually gonna kind of get the outcome that your final outcome?
Lynne: So the instructions say 60 to 90 days and again, we’re all different so the 60 to 90 days is you’re starting to see improvement by 60 days in your scar and then you continue using Strataderm until you either see no more improvement or no you reached the 90 day period. At least, two to three months. Longer if you’re still seeing an improvement in the scar over that period of time.
Trish: Okay. So it’s something that you probably want to track yourself as well because nobody wants scars, but not everybody’s prepared to actually do the work to actually stop the scars from forming, you just wait for the scar to form and then think, oh now how can I fix this scar? Really the Stratamed and the Strataderm are kind of something that’s gonna avoid you, probably, having to get that scar repaired afterward, isn’t it?
Lynne: Yeah. I mean, you’re always gonna get a scar when you’ve had surgery, because your skin has been cut, so you can’t avoid that, but what you want to do is get the best scar outcomes because you don’t want to have surgery, especially for an aesthetic reason and then get a scar that you’re not happy with. The best thing is to try and manage that scar all the way through so that you get the best scar outcome. Using silicon as early as possible and using it for at least 60 to 90 days to make sure that you get the best scar outcome.
Trish: So after three months, you’re gonna get a pretty good outcome. Absolutely, so what about for things like skin cancers and stuff like that? Because if you’ve got a skin cancer on your face, I’ve seen some phenomenal after pictures where you just cannot see a scar at all, so you can tell us a little bit about the use for that, ’cause you wouldn’t need much, would you?
Lynne: No, so the good thing with Strataderm and Stratamed is they come in four different tube sizes so that you’re covered from your small incisions right through to your large, as you said, the low body lifts and things like that where your scars are much more, incisions are much more extensive. So, with skin cancers, absolutely you want to manage that scar as best you can, especially if you’ve got them on your face, really common places are noses, and ears because they’re exposed areas when we’re out in the sun, and a lot of damage done when you’re younger and then it comes out later as you get older you find that you see those skin cancers coming out.
Certainly Strataderm and Stratamed are most appropriate to use on both of those areas and exposed areas. The good thing is that you don’t actually see it once it’s on there. It’s not like walking around with a big white plaster on the top of it. Your surgeon might want you to have something over the top of it depending on how much fluid is coming out of that wound once the wound is created. If you don’t want to have a secondary dressing over the top, then you don’t need to, you can just go with Stratamed.
Trish: Okay. So say if you do put it on your face, and you’re saying it disappears completely, can you still use a sunblock or does the silicon act as a sunblock?
Lynne: Yeah, you can apply sunscreen over the top. Once you let it dry, then you can put a sunscreen over the top of it and the best sunscreens to use are those physical sunscreens, so the zinc oxide and the titanium dioxide, where you’re getting really good reflective coverage and they’re the ones that the dermatologists would recommend you use as well.
Trish: Okay. So we spoke before about the international guidelines for wound healing, is that right? Because there are guidelines.
Lynne: Yeah, international guidelines for scar management.
Trish: What’s that? How does that even come about?
Lynne: That’s a published document that all the plastic surgeons and your dermatologists and all of the surgeons would know about. That’s the guidelines that look, it’s an international body that looks at all of the treatments that are available for scars and it goes through, as a surgeon, what should be your first line choice when managing scars? Those guidelines recommend that silicon is the first line management for managing scars and it looked at some of the older treatments which were the silicon gel sheeting and the newer treatments like Strataderm and Stratamed, which are the silicon gels that are self drying. Compared the two and showed that they were just as effective at managing scars. So the older treatments, the silicon gel sheets and the newer treatments were just as effective.
What it also looked at was how patients complied and how patients felt about the treatments. The silicon gels far outweighed the silicon sheets in terms of being easier to use and delivering patient satisfaction because they are so easy to use. Also, they don’t have, silicon gel in tube like Strataderm and Stratamed, don’t have an adhesive with them. The other older treatments have an adhesive on them and lots of people do react to those adhesives. You don’t want to put something on to manage your scar that you then get an allergic reaction to.
Trish: That’s exactly me because whenever I’ve had surgery and I’ve got that, they’ve put the silicon tape on me, I can only have that on for a couple days and then I’ll start to welt up. So for me, the Stratamed and the Strataderm is perfect and I ask surgeons all the time, what’s the best thing for scars? At least 95% of doctors I’ve spoken to would say, they just say silicon. Silicon is the best thing for scars. This is a way of getting the silicon, but in the actual liquid. So for people like me that have allergies to tape, it’s perfect.
Lynne: Absolutely, and the actual incidents of allergic reactions to silicon itself are really low. It’s great for people with sensitive skin. Infants, children, it’s used in paediatrics as well. It’s very safe to use and very few people actually have an actual reaction to it.
Trish: So, say for example, if I was going to have knee surgery and ti’s gonna be an open-like thing, I could actually, it’s not just for cosmetic stuff, you can actually use it anywhere on your body that you’ve had surgery.
Lynne: Absolutely, any surgery at all. We have a number of obstetricians using it on their C-sections to help give the moms a nice scar outcomes from C-sections as well. You’re absolutely right. Any surgery, or any injury, or any cut on your body can actually be treated with silicon to help get the best scar outcome possible.
Trish: As you know, I had back surgery last year, but they did it anteriorly through my belly and I was like, oh my god, I didn’t even think to use it on that, because for me, I associated with cosmetic treatments, but it would have been perfect for that.
Lynne: Any scar. As you said before, the international scar guidelines are not aesthetic scar guidelines, they’re international scar guidelines for any scar caused by any means possible.
Trish: Yep. I know that the Stratpharma products are really getting out there now. Of course you can buy them via website, but you can actually buy them pretty much, it’s rare that you won’t find a pharmacy that doesn’t have them. Can you tell us where else people can buy them? They can buy them at Plastic Surgery Hub Shop, they can buy it from your website which is?
Lynne: There’s a Strataderm website and a Stratamed website. Strataderm.com and stratamed.com but also from most pharmacies will actually stock Strataderm and Stratamed. They’re really easy to find in pharmacies.
Trish: A lot of doctors are actually including them in their post surgery packs as well, which is really handy.
Lynne: Absolutely. You can buy it from your surgeon in a lot of cases as well.
Trish: Of course, surgeon, I didn’t even think of that. Awesome. That’s really good. It’s been really enlightening to know that, ’cause I didn’t 100% understand what happened with the tape and when the doctor says, “No, you can’t use that you’ve got to use this.” And when you can actually say, “I’ve had my tape on now and now want to actually start to do something that’s gonna heal it a little bit more. A lot of doctors don’t give you that post two weeks treatment, just put tape on, so this is a great way to kid of look after your own scar for three months postop as well.
Trish: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time today.
Lynne: Thanks Trish.
Trish: If you are gonna have surgery, like you want to have a think about your scar treatment before rather than after so that you can actually get on the path to doing something about it before, a lot of people don’t really care about scars ’cause you think they’re part of your battle wounds, but for those of you that do or just to minimise your scarring because even if you don’t care about scarring, why have a big one when you could have a little one. Look them up. If you want to know where you can get it from, just drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or just go onto the Strataderm websites. That’s Strataderm, Stratamed.com.au. That’s about it, hey.
Trish: Thanks Lynne, thank you so much. Thanks listeners and I’ll see you next time.