Caring for Your Skin After Mohs Surgery

The amount and type of care you need after Mohs surgery will depend on the wound that is left from where the cancer was removed. There is no way to know beforehand how big the wound will be, how it will be closed, and if you will need reconstructive surgery. However, there are ways you can prepare for surgery and steps you can take afterward to have the best results.

A man with a bandage on his face

Day of surgery

Illustration of a calendar with the text Day 1

When surgery is over, the Mohs surgeon will give instructions for helping your skin heal, including:

  • When to change the bandages and clean the wound
  • Information on prescription medicines, over-the-counter pills, or ointments needed
  • When you can return to normal daily activities, such as wearing makeup or exercising
  • When to schedule follow-up appointments to remove any stitches and check the wound
  • How to treat your scar to help it heal and fade

After surgery

Illustration of a calendar with the text 4 to 6 weeks

In the weeks after surgery, you may need to:

  • Make follow-up appointments to see how the wound is healing and check for any new skin cancers
  • Be patient with your scar, which may look reddish or feel tight, and your skin, which may be bumpy, as it heals

Wound and scar care

Illustration of a calendar with the text Up to 1 year

In the months after your Mohs surgery, remember that:

  • It may take up to a year for your wound to fully heal
  • Skin checks are the best way to find and treat any new skin cancers early

Follow-up skin checks

Illustration of a calendar with the text Within 5 years

Because 2 of 5 people with one skin cancer will have another skin cancer within 5 years:

  • Keep getting skin checks done at least once a year to find any new skin cancers as early as possible

What happens if the skin cancer comes back?

People who have had one skin cancer are at higher risk for having another skin cancer. That is why it is so important to have your dermatologist perform frequent skin checks and to keep up with daily steps for protecting your skin, like wearing sunscreen. If a new skin cancer is found, you may be able to have Mohs surgery again. You can also talk with your treatment team about other skin cancer treatment options.

Set your expectations for the wounds and scars left from Mohs surgery.

Wound and scar care