Although this guide is not a substitute for a professional, board-certified dermatologist’s guidelines, here’s what you should know about taking care of your skin after having a mole removed, whether through surgical excision or laser removal. If the mole has been identified as cancerous, your doctor will have complete instructions as to how to take care of the surgical site and surrounding skin.
In most cases, moles can be removed from visible areas like the face simply due to the concern about their appearance. Moles can be signs of cancer, but most are not, and many people develop moles throughout their body that are not dangerous in any way, but can nevertheless cause discomfort or embarrassment. Even if a mole hasn’t changed shape or appearance since you noticed it, it’s still important to have them checked out at least once, if not often, by a dermatologist like Dr. Luke Killpack to make sure they don’t pose a threat to your skin health.
Moles are typically black or brown, sometimes with hair growing out of them, and sometimes raised above the surface of the surrounding skin. When these patches of skin change suddenly or begin discharging fluid or blood, you should see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, they are simply something benign and unique about your skin, wherever they appear. People remove moles when they don’t like the way they look on their exposed skin, or when they have the potential to become a health problem currently or later on.
Depending on the method used to remove a skin lesion or mole, your after-care instructions will vary.
Rarely are surgical sutures used in mole removal, although it’s possible in some cases. Stitches are used to hold gaps in the skin together until they heal fully. To take care of your stitches:
- Keep your incision site covered for at least 24 hours
- Be gentle when washing and drying the area according to your doctor
- Dry the area fully by dabbing it with a towel
- Apply protective balms like petroleum jelly or ointments as directed
- Change the bandage as directed
- Return for checkups as directed
Sometimes, mole removal doesn’t go deep enough to require stitching the surface of skin back together. That doesn’t mean your skin isn’t vulnerable, however, so here’s how to care for skin that might have an open wound:
- Follow your doctor’s directions for leaving the wound open vs. covering it with a bandage
- Clean the area gently as directed
- Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol, peroxide, or antibacterial chemicals that can damage the wound and skin
One option for removing moles and wards is cryotherapy, or freezing the tissue to kill it. This often results in uncomfortable side effects depending on the location of the treated area. To take care of your skin following cryotherapy:
- Avoid popping any blisters that form
- Do not pick at scabs that form
- Wash the area gently
- Avoid clothing or fabric that aggravates the treated area, if possible – apply a bandage as necessary to protect the treated skin
The team at Sunrise Dermatology is here to help you achieve the clear, healthy skin you’ve always wanted. The directions provided to you by Dr. Killpack should always take precedence over the information you might read online, as they’re specific to your skin and your medical history. Regardless, knowing what to expect from mole removal is better than coming to an appointment uninformed and we hope this information makes the process less intimidating than it would be otherwise. Call or contact our dermatologist by filling out our online contact form today. We hope to see you soon!