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Hydrogels -- Beyond Debridement Applications

August 2019

Hydrogels have long been a staple for advanced wound and burn care to facilitate debridement -- the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound. They can absorb and retain wound exudates, promoting fibroblast proliferation and keratinocyte migration – which is pivotal for successful epithelialization and healing.[1] As part of wound dressings, they have been demonstrated to support skin healing and protect afflicted areas from infection. The high-water content of hydrogels – which is comparable to that of human tissue – gives hydrogels the flexibility and elasticity to adapt to wounds located on different sites across the body. Hydrogels can also support moist wound healing, which may potentially aid in faster recovery times with reduced scarring.

Because they are biocompatible, translucent, breathable, superabsorbent, and offer a high degree of cushioning, hydrogels can actually be one of the most versatile types of adhesives and should be considered for a much broader range of applications.

Because hydrogels are translucent, applying small sheets of hydrogel at surgical sites can allow medical care providers to observe sutures and monitor healing without necessitating frequent dressing removal, reducing further trauma to the area.

Hydrogels are also a good option as scaffold material for tissue engineering applications because their structures are similar to the extracellular matrix of many tissues, they can often be processed under relatively mild conditions, and they may be delivered in a minimally invasive manner.[2]

Beyond, advanced wound and burn care and tissue engineering, hydrogels are being explored for controlled drug delivery applications for predefined periods of time. Hydrogels have a very porous structure, making them highly permeable to different kinds of drugs and allowing drugs to be loaded and, in proper conditions, released.[3]

Hydrogels also have significant potential for consumer applications. From being used to cushion blisters and protect minor abrasions at home, to incorporation in cosmetic skin care products. For example, hydrogels may be infused with purified water, raw materials and/or active ingredients for use as highly moisturizing and soothing under eye pads or face masks.

Scapa Healthcare is able to provide a high degree of flexibility in the formulation of hydrogel-based products because, unlike typical hydrogels which consist of 90% water, we use proprietary processes to vary and control our water rates – ranging from ~10% - ~70%, thus allowing greater manipulation over the products’ properties such as tack and cooling. Thus, we are able to customize hydrogel solutions ideal for a broader variety of applications to best meet your end-users’ needs.

[2] K.Y. Lee, D.J. Mooney, Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering, Chem. Rev. 2001; 101(7): 1869-1877, DOI: 10.1021/cr000108x

[3] M. Bahram, N. Nurallahzadeh, N. Mohseni, pH-sensitive Hydrogel for Coacervative Cloud Point Extraction and Spectrophotometric Determination of Cu(II): Optimization by Central Composite Design, J. Iran. Chem. Soc. 2015; 12(10): 1781-1787, DOI: 10.1007/s13738-015-0653-5

Developing Topicals for Treatment of Psoriasis

August 2019

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal, leading it to build up intobumpy red patches covered with white scales that can grow anywhere – but are most commonly found on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.

Fortunately, there are many topical skin care options that can aid in slowing the growth of new skin cells for psoriasis sufferers, or in other cases relieve some of the common symptoms such as itching and dryness. Topical corticosteroids like hydrocortisone come in many different strengths and preparations and have proven to be an effective first step in the treatment of some psoriasis flare ups, particularly less severe occurrences affecting only small areas of the body.

In other cases, alternative options (or combinations of different topical agents) may help provide the best outcomes for psoriatic skin. These include:

  • Moisturizers
  • Coal tar
  • Retinoid creams
  • Calcipotriene cream
  • Anthralin

See our infographic for more information on topical options for the treatment of psoriasis. 

As an industry leader in skin care product formulation, Scapa Healthcare’s R&D team brings a deep understanding of user requirements in order to lead the development of the most effective topical products that can be applied for your customers’ specific psoriasis needs.

Adhesion Formulation for Wearables

July 2019

The wearable adhesives market is growing rapidly, driven by provider and consumer demand as well as advancements in medical devices for personalized care such as continuous glucose monitoring and point-of-care diagnostics. Wearable adhesives are used to attach medical devices to the body for continuous and long-term durations; the ability to properly adhere to the skin is a key factor for an effectively functioning device. The selection and development of this adhesive is challenging and needs careful consideration due to the complex and varying nature of human skin and the characteristics of the specific wearable device, such as its size, weight, flexibility, and application purpose. While proper screening and testing to choose the optimal wearable adhesive may seem work time and labor intensive, it can ultimately save time and money by reducing risk in the long run. Moving forward with an existing adhesive carrier substrate without careful evidence might lead to failure at the clinical stage because of improper device adhesion.

In order to identify the adhesive that is the best choice for a particular wearable device, Scapa Healthcare first defines the requirements for the device and its adhesive, including:

  • - Targeted users
  • - Application site
  • - Wear duration for individual application and number of expected re-applications
  • - Condition of use (at rest or active patient)
  • - Size and weight of the device
  • - How the device will be attached to the adhesive patch
  • - Whether the device will cause some occlusion of the patch or allow sweat to pass though the patch

Prototype Screening

To save time during development, the screening process of the possible solutions is fundamental. An effective combination of a few in vitro and in vivo tests can drastically accelerate the development cycle. Base characteristics of the adhesive are moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR), peel, tack and shear. All of those properties can be effectively screened in vitro. Scapa compares adhesive options to one another in terms of tack, peel, and MVTR which will drive informed decisions on the adhesive selection and will facilitate a new selection in the event the first choice of adhesive does not perform as expected in a healthy volunteer study.

Selection Process

The next step is to classify the adhesive prototypes from the highest to the lowest tack, peel, and MVTR. Next, the appropriate carrier will need to be selected using flexibility, durability, weldability, and breathability requirements.

Volunteer Study

Based on the classification of the adhesive, we conduct a study on healthy volunteers with the wearable device itself (or a surrogate that has similar weight, shape and thickness) at the application site. During human testing, biocompatibility factors such as cytotoxicity, skin irradiation and sensitization are evaluated.

Topical Formulation for Sun Protection

July 2019

More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, per the American Cancer Society. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. The overwhelming majority of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun. Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen significantly reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. When developing topicals to protect the skin from the damaging rays of the sun, it’s important to choose a formulation partner that understands the science and ingredients to incorporate and create products that are both safe and effective for consumers.

While protection against UVB rays alone may help reduce the risk of some skin cancers, skin care products that offer more comprehensive protection are far more effective. Broad spectrum sunscreens that protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays offer a better safeguard against sun damage and skin cancer, as UVA rays penetrate skin deeper than UVB rays and have been shown to play a significant role in the in the development of skin cancers.

However, UV rays are not the only environmental cause of skin damage and skin cancer. In fact, of the three relevant ranges of the solar radiation spectrum, UV radiation makes up just over 8%, while infrared radiation (IR) makes up 49.4% of visible light (VIS) accounts for 42.3% of the total solar radiation,according to research.  VIS and IR light rays have been shown to penetrate even deeper in the skin than UV rays, affecting the skin’s health – possibly leading to an increased risk of skin cancer, as well as advancing premature aging.

VIS light – which is all around us at any given time – has been associated with generating free radicals and leading to oxidative stress, which causes skin cells to produce enzymes that break down the collagen and elastin and look older prematurely. In particular, violet-blue high energy visible (HEV) light, has been demonstrated to be especially damaging. Although solar radiation from the sun does account for a large amount of VIS and IR light (including HEV light), even avoiding sun exposure does not fully protect against them. Artificial lights sources like LED bulbs and electronic devices such as smart phones, laptops, TV screens, computer monitors emit comparable amounts of HEV light. This is a startling fact, considering the average person spends more than eleven hours in front of a digital display or TV screen daily.

Scapa Healthcare is a topical formulation contract partner that has the expertise and capabilities to formulate skin care products that offer total light protection. These products not only block UV and HEV rays, but also other environmental pollutants and nanoparticles commonly associated with skin damage. Products that contain antioxidants such as combinations of Licochalcone A and Glycyrrhetinic Acid, for example, have been shown to help prevent the damage caused by free radicals and to protect skin cells in the deeper epidermal layers from light damage.

Topical Formulation for Diabetic Topicals

July 2019

Skin Care for Common Diabetic Skin Conditions

Diabetes’ Impact on Skin

People suffering from diabetes are impacted by its affects in many ways, including an increased risk of developing multiple kinds of skin conditions. Elevated blood sugar levels, neuropathy, poor circulation, inflammation, immune system function, and infection are some of the factors that frequently impact diabetic skin.

Diabetics are also prone to dry, cracked skin as a result of decreased circulation. They are also highly susceptible to irreversible skin ridges caused through glycation - the bonding of a sugar molecule to a protein or lipid molecule without enzymatic regulation.

When it comes to developing skin care solutions for diabetics, it is important to optimize a formulation to change the dynamic of compromised skin and mitigate the symptoms of insulin-resistant dermatological conditions. For example, the use of epidermal growth factors and peptides in topical solutions can facilitate healing and increase cell proliferation to aid in the treatment of diabetes-associated wounds.

Keeping skin moisturized and promoting oxygen availability to the skin can also help with overall skin health and longevity. Moisturizers, antioxidants, and skin repair actives that consist of ingredients such as certified organic green tea extract, blue-green algae extract, zinc, collagen, and elastin can increase topicals’ efficacy for dry, chapped, or cracked skin when used as a base in skin care regimens.  Micro-filtered aphanizomeno flos-aqua (AFA) provide vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and protein for maximum skin nourishment. 


The effect of glycation - the bonding of a sugar molecule to a protein or lipid molecule without enzymatic regulation, which diabetics are prone to resulting in irreversible skin ridges - can be mitigated by using topicals that incorporate messenger peptides. These peptides promote cell proliferation and can be used as replacement tools for natural collagen/elastin to fool glucose to bond to the topical. Topical agents are designed by putting these peptides into smaller molecules as the delivery system to help active ingredients more efficiently and rapidly permeate the skin.

High levels of blood glucose can even damage blood vessels and cause plaque to build up over time, causing poor circulation and related conditions, such as slow healing and even peripheral artery disease (PAD) or nerve damage resulting for limited blood flow. Topical agents can be engineered using advanced ingredients that promote healing by accelerating blood flow, boosting microcirculation, promoting new blood vessel formation and addressing narrow arteries and blood vessels to promote better blood flow to limbs – and throughout the body.

Scapa Healthcare Hydrogel Bandages for Treatment of Minor Burns and Scalds

February 2019

A burn is a type of injury characterized by damage to the body’s tissue caused by heat, chemicals, electricity, sunlight, or radiation. Burns can result in varying degrees of skin swelling, blistering, and scarring and it typically takes three to 20 days for a minor burn to heal properly.

Annually in the United States, there are 40,000 hospitalizations related to burn injuries and a total of 486,000 burn injuries require medical treatment.

See our National Burn Awareness Week Infographic

Using Hydrogel Bandages for Burn Care

Scapa Healthcare’s Scapa Soft-Pro® Hydrogel Burn Treatment Line provides a range of sterile consumer bandages that are highly effective for treating minor burns and scalds. The hydrogel composition of the bandage helps soothe and cool the skin on contact, helping reduce overall pain and discomfort. The superabsorbent technology helps promote an optimal moist healing environment while managing the burn’s exudate. The bandages are waterproof, highly conformable and provide bacterial and viral protection.

Scapa Healthcare is a global trusted strategic outsource partner of skin friendly turn-key solutions for advanced wound care, consumer wellness and medical device fixation markets. Our extensive portfolio of skin contact adhesives and in-house expertise allow us to develop customized solutions to meet end-user needs.

Contact us for additional information about burn care solutions.

Scapa Healthcare Portfolio of Skin Adhesives and Topical Solutions for Diabetic Patients

November 2018

There are 387 million people living with diabetes worldwide today, and more than ½ billion expected by 2035, according to the Center for Disease Control. Up to a third of people with diabetes will have a skin condition at some point in their lifetime, including dry skin, cracked heels, foot ulcers and diabetic blisters that can create complications such as skin infections and delayed wound healing. There are different technologies in the market to help diabetic patients to manage their skin conditions.

Skin Adhesives for Diabetic Wound Care

Scapa Healthcare’s hydrocolloid technology is clinically proven to be highly effective for diabetic wound care because the unique adhesive composition, when in contact with body fluids, creates a balanced moist environment that promotes an optimal wound healing process. Hydrocolloid dressings seal the affected area to limit the likelihood of infection and reduce pain.  

Hydrocolloids can be formulated to have low trauma properties to help prevent skin injuries on diabetics and patients with fragile skin. Our Low Trauma Hydrocolloids, is a proprietary, gentle adhesive with repositionable properties for sensitive skin applications, has a unique formulation that flows with the skin to prevent discomfort and damage even for delicate or compromised skin.

Read our infographic on hydrocolloids for diabetes-related skin issues

Hydrogels adhesives, like hydrocolloids, can also promote moist wound healing, and help reduce pain by providing a cooling effect on the affected area. Hydrogels can be formulated for different levels of adhesion and absorption properties.  They can be used as a foot care plaster to help diabetics prevent blisters and provide cushioning on corns, calluses and bunions.

Silicone gel adhesives are widely acceptable for diabetic wound care, as they help to minimize skin injuries due to their gentle, low trauma and repositionability properties.

Acrylic adhesives are commonly used for fixation of medical device wearables such as continuous glucose monitoring and insulin delivery systems for diabetes management. Depending on user needs, acrylics can be formulated for short and long-term wear times.

Topical Skin Care Solutions for Diabetics

Diabetic patients are prone to skin breakage due to dry skin and infections. There are topical solutions available in the market to help maintain their skin integrity.

Skin moisturizers are used to soothe and soften dry skin and restore its natural moisture balance.

Skin protectants and barriers help provide maximum hydration to protect the skin from exposure to excessive moisture.

Antifungal treatments help relieve topical skin infections that can create complications on diabetic patients.

Scapa Healthcare is a global trusted strategic outsource partner of skin friendly turn-key solutions for advanced wound care, consumer wellness and medical device fixation markets. We partner with market leaders to help them design, develop and manufacture innovative medical solutions to improve skin conditions associated with diabetes. Scapa Healthcare offers turn-key development services including: design and project management, formulation, mixing, coating, converting, filling, printing, packaging and sterilization services.

Contact us for additional information on diabetic solutions.