Talking About Dermatology

Why You Need To Keep The Incision Site Dry After You Have A Mole Removed

Having a mole removed doesn't have to involve stitches. But whether you have an area shaved off or cut out, you have to keep the incision site dry for a short time after the surgery. This time can last up to a few days, and that can present a problem for people dealing with bathing after having a mole removed from inconvenient spots. Rather than assuming that a little water might not hurt the spot, you should do what you can to keep the site protected from water. This is about more than just letting the site rest before doing anything to it; keeping it dry has numerous benefits.

Allowing Scabs to Form

First of all, keeping the site dry allows blood to clot and scabs to start forming. You also won't have to worry that moisture is going to wash the bandage away or prevent the bandage from sticking. Protecting the site from moisture means you're giving your skin a chance to start knitting back together. If you allow water to run over the site too early, or if you get the bandage wet and don't change it immediately, then the small scabs beginning to form stay so moist that they can't fully seal the wound.

This isn't to say that you'll be doomed if you accidentally get a drop of water on the incision site. If that happens, remove the wet bandage, pat the site dry very carefully, and apply a new, clean, dry bandage. But don't leave wet bandages on for long, and don't assume air drying is better than gently patting the area dry.

Preventing Infection

If the incision site can't start to heal and scab over, it remains open to bacteria and fungi, thus increasing the chances of infection. The warm, moist environment provided by a wet bandage that hasn't been changed is perfect for bacterial and fungal growth, speeding up the process of infection. Infection can lead to not only pain and additional antibiotic use, but also potential scarring and the need for additional surgical procedures to remove the infected tissue.

Speeding Up Healing

Finally, keeping the area dry and letting scabs form simply speeds up healing. If nothing interferes with the surgery site, then everything should proceed as normal. Remember, in a lot of cases, you have to avoid getting the site wet for only about a day. If this is the case, you have to avoid all moisture for a day and after that, you can take showers where clean water runs over the site (but you still have to keep the bandage dry otherwise). Thus, the need to avoid moisture does not go on for very long.

If you're having a mole removed from a site that you know will be difficult to bandage properly, or if you have other questions about keeping the site dry, talk to a dermatologist  at clinics like Associated Skin Care Specialists and ask for details. You'll get a better understanding of how wound healing and moisture work.