How to care for your wounds after a procedure
It is NORMAL for wounds to be somewhat red, bumpy, and/or puffy during the first few weeks to months after surgery – this a normal part of the healing process. As your wound heals, it should improve until it nears normal-appearing skin. It may disappear completely, or leave a white scar, depending on how your body heals.
Here is an example of normal wound healing after surgery:
Here is an example of normal skin graft healing after surgery:
You may wash and shower normally starting the day after your surgery.
Be gentle: don’t scrub the area, and pat gently to dry.
Don’t submerge your wound in water: avoid baths and pools until the wound is completely healed, about 3-4 weeks.
Apply Vaseline twice daily or more to keep your wound nice and moist. Moist wounds heal better than dry, and with less scabbing.
We do NOT recommend Polysporin – Vaseline works just as well to keep the wound moist, is cheaper, and does not cause the skin irritation that is possible with Polysporin.
The added antibiotics in Polysporin do NOT help your wound to heal faster – on the contrary, they may kill off the good skin bacteria and leave your wound at risk for infection with bad bacteria. Be safe, use Vaseline!
Wait until the wound is fully healed before applying makeup directly onto it, about 3-4 weeks after your surgery.
Wait until the wound is fully healed before applying sunscreen directly onto it, about 3-4 weeks after your surgery.
Once your wound is healed, be sure to apply sunscreen directly onto the scar at all times. Scars exposed to sunlight can turn an ugly brown colour that is very visible and is PERMANENT. This can be avoided by applying sunscreen to the scar diligently.
You can start massaging the scar once it is fully healed, 3-4 weeks after surgery. This will help to break down, soften and remodel the stiff, newly-formed scar tissue, helping it to become smoother, softer, flatter, and more flexible.
Several products on the market claim to reduce the appearance of scars. These include silicone sheets and gels, Vitamin E, Bio-Oil, and others. However, studies have shown these products have limited to no effect on improving the appearance of scars. We therefore do not routinely recommend them for our patients.
Once you develop one skin cancer, you are at risk of developing more. See your doctor regularly (every 6-12 months) for skin checks to help detect any new or recurring skin cancers early.
If you have had several skin cancers, or even a single melanoma, you may benefit from being followed by a Dermatologist. Your doctor can help refer you to a local Dermatologist if necessary.
For more information about skin cancer and other common skin lesions, see Skin Cancer.