Scar Prevention Tips Post Skin Cancer Removal

Mohs Surgery is a procedure used to remove cancerous cells from the skin. It involves cutting away the cancer, then slowly and methodically scrapping away the surrounding skin cells and examining them as layers are removed so to not damage the skin more than it needs to. This helps to minimize scarring by creating the smallest surgical wound thereby shorting the healing process. Skin cancer most often materializes on area of high sun exposure like the face and back of the hands.

Below are several care actions and pieces of advise to help the wound heal quickly and with minimal scarring.

  1. Choose a highly rated or referred board certified plastic surgeon. While this seems like obvious advise, in the heat of the moment we can often just go with the first recommendation without seeking additional referrals and being extra vigilant in seeking the most reputable plastic surgeon.
  2. Seek the latest techniques in skin cancer removal. There are several advancements in removing certain skin cancer tumors. Traditional Mohs surgery can take several hours while the surgeon removed layers of tissue, then has to have a pathologist examine each frozen layer. This process is repeated until all of the cancer is gone. Modified Mohs surgery, or slow Mohs Surgery, may be recommended in some cases. This procedure requires more time in order to allow a pathologist the time needed to examine 100% of the tissue which may result in a decreased chance of reoccurrence. Slow Mohs has the highest cure rate of any removal method. Learn more about Hy-Tape and Mohs Surgery.
  3. Wounds heal faster in a moist and covered environment. Giving a wound air and allowing a scab to develop does not speed up the healing process and will result in a larger and more defined scar. Keeping the site moistened with either a prescribed cream or a doctor approved ointment like Bacitracin, Aquaphor, Bio Oil, Vitamin E oil, or a silicone scar gel. Learn more in our article Wound Healing: Myth vs Reality.
  4. Try and avoid stretching or twisting in a way that will put pressure on the scar until it is healed enough to tolerate movement. Too much movement and pressure can widen the scar and possibly open up the wound. 
  5. Avoid exposing your scar to the sun. UV rays can permanently darken scars. It is very important to those who have had skin cancer removal surgery to avoid sun exposure in the early stages of wound healing. It is important to avoid tanning beds, wear UPF50+ protective wound dressings and clothing, apply sunscreen, and minimize sun exposure. Too much sun may lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This will cause scars to turn from pink to brown. It can also make it look raised and inflamed. Read Minimizing & Protecting Your Melanoma Scar from the Sun.
  6. Once the wound is healed, there are some dermatological treatments that may reduce the appearance of the scar. Procedures such as laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and intralesional injections may decrease the amount of visible scar tissue making the scar flat and less discolored.

While healing Hy-Tape will provide a water tight, UPF 50+ layer of protection. Hy-Tape is thin and conforming which makes it great for taping in creases and hard to secure areas. When applied to dry, lotion free skin, Hy-Tape may stay for hours in water, and possibly longer in dry conditions. Call us to discuss the best options for protecting your wound and minimizing scars or click here to request a sample.