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How Long Should You Use Vaseline After Mohs Surgery?

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two fingers with Vaseline

Mohs surgery is a very reliable and effective form of treatment for many types of skin cancer. 

Its relatively low risk, minimal scarring, fast healing times, and quick recovery period make it an attractive choice; but nonetheless, it is still an invasive procedure with a proper amount of downtime required afterwards. 

To give your incisions their best chance at a healthy recovery, post-operative care is essential - and Vaseline has become a key element in that process.

How Long Should You Use Vaseline After Mohs Surgery?

Following Mohs surgery, it is highly recommended that you use a thin film of Vaseline on the wound site 3-4 times daily for up to three weeks.

This not only helps reduce pain, but also the chances of infection and dehydration, as well as improves the rate at which your skin regenerates cells. 

Keeping the wound moist with Vaseline minimizes scab formation, and also prevents open wounds from occurring when the scab is scratched off.

In order to ensure successful healing following a Mohs procedure, it’s essential that you adhere to a certain routine:

  • Make sure the initial dressing remains dry, and do not remove for 24 hours.
  • Apply ice in intervals of 20 minutes every two hours throughout the day after surgery,
  • Elevate the area where the surgery was conducted with an extra pillow when lying down or sleeping
  • Pay close attention to alcohol consumption 48 hours post-op since this can also interfere with proper wound healing.
  • While using hydrogen peroxide should cease 2 weeks post operation; continue to apply Aquaphor until your follow up appointment with your dermatologist or doctor who performed Mohs procedure.

How Long Should You Wear a Bandage After Mohs Surgery?

For at least 24 hours following the procedure, it is recommended to wear a bandage and apply an ice pack every 2 hours for 20 minutes at a time to minimize swelling.

If there is any bleeding, it’s important to apply firm continuous pressure over the bandage for 20-30 minutes without removing it. 

Exercise and other strenuous activities that could put tension on the wound should be avoided for two weeks post-procedure. 

Taking aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen is not recommended unless prescribed by another health provider for five days. 

Ointments based on petroleum jelly like Vaseline are ideal care options. With regular application of Vaseline, recovery times as short as 1-3 weeks are possible depending on the type of surgery performed.

How Often Should I Change My Dressing After Mohs Surgery?

Change your dressing once a day. Start by gently removing the old bandage and then washing the area with a cotton ball, gauze or Q-tip using a mixture of 12 water and 12 peroxide.

This mixture may be necessary to remove any crusting along the suture line or wound, pat dry afterwards and apply Aquaphor ointment (or plain vaseline) to keep the wound moist for better healing until your follow-up appointment.

After that, cover with dry sterile gauze or Band-Aid, but if you will be staying indoors there is no need for this part as long as an ointment has been applied. 

If you received dissolving stitches, stop using hydrogen peroxide after 10 days; however continue applying Aquaphor until your post-op visit. 

It is important to avoid strenuous activity that places tension on the surgical site for two weeks after the surgical procedure as this will allow optimal wound healing.

When Can You Take a Shower After Mohs Surgery?

If you've recently undergone Mohs surgery, you may be wondering if you can take an immediate shower afterwards. 

The answer is yes, it's generally safe to shower after getting a Mohs procedure done, provided that you keep your surgical area dry and follow your doctor's post-operative instructions.

Since most cases of Mohs surgery are performed on the face, it usually isn't too hard to avoid the treated area when showering. 

Your doctor may have instructed you to keep the incision site dry for 24 to 72 hours; in this case, be sure to cover the treated area with a waterproof material before hopping into the tub or shower.

In situations where your doctor has advised against showering for a certain period of time, you can still perform a quick sponge bath—just dip a cloth in water with mild soap and gently cleanse yourself from top to bottom. 

Once finished, make sure to carefully pat down your tender skin with a light touch and use a clean towel for drying off.

Are There Any Precautions to Take Before Showering After Mohs Surgery?

For at least 24 hours after the surgery, the wound should be kept dry. After the 48-hour mark, you may shower with the dressing in place and then remove it. 

Before showering, carefully remove the bandage and discard it in the trash.

To help protect your sutured wound during your shower, apply Vaseline or Aquaphor before the shower, then cover it with a non-stick dressing like Telfa before stepping into the water. 

Avoid soaking or submerging your wounded area while you shower. In most cases you can safely start showering around 24 hours after having Mohs surgery.

Common Complications to Watch Out for After Mohs Surgery

After Mohs surgery, there are several potential complications to watch out for. 

It is not abnormal for newly operated on wounds to bleed or leak a small amount of clear liquid. However, if you experience excessive bleeding it can be difficult to stop. 

Infection can occur in any wound and therefore needs to be watched out for. 

Wound dehiscence is another concern as it can cause further damage when infected. 

You may also be at risk of hemorrhaging if you are taking medication that affects blood clotting as this was found in a study relating to antiaggregant/anticoagulant intake. 

Graft necrosis can rarely develop due to tumor growth or skin damage from the procedure itself.

It is important to recognise these common complications after Mohs surgery and take any necessary steps to prevent them from occurring when possible.

How to Minimize Scarring After Mohs Surgery

Scarring is a normal part of the healing process after Mohs surgery, but there are a few ways that can help minimize it.

Covering the wound with a pressure dressing is key, as doing this helps keep the wound moist and allows it to heal until complete recovery has been achieved. 

Applying silicone or silicone strips can help prevent scarring and dull the appearance of surgical scars. 

Massages are also beneficial for breaking up scar tissue and promoting collagen remodeling.

It is also important to take care not to overexpose the wound to direct sunlight, since this will increase its visibility over time. 

Similarly, any skin care instructions given by a medical professional should be strictly followed and several products should be used as necessary during the healing period. 

If scar revision treatments are being considered, it is essential to wait until healing is complete before exploring these options in order to reduce further risk of damage.

Patience is key during healing; allowing wounds enough time to heal properly while taking the recommended precautions will go a long way in minimizing scarring after Mohs surgery.

Managing Pain and Discomfort After Mohs Surgery

Acetaminophen is recommended for pain relief, as it will not worsen discomfort like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as naproxen and ibuprofen. 

Applying ice for twenty minutes several times a day, elevating the surgical area, and keeping the wound completely dry for 24 to 48 hours afterwards are also important for aftercare. 

Bleeding that persists or returns requires noticing the doctor's office right away. Wound care must be followed carefully, including cleaning the wound daily as directed and applying ointment before re-applying a bandage. 


Dr. Mendese and his team at Dermatology and Skin Health

At Dermatology & Skin Health, we strive to give you the most effective and trustworthy skin care and wellness solutions. 

We understand that each person is different and have painstakingly assembled a dedicated team of highly trained professionals to provide tailored treatments based on your individual needs. 

Our commitment extends beyond quality products – we strongly value customer satisfaction above all else. With us, you can trust that you will get nothing short of exceptional services. Contact us today!

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