Minimizing Scarring After Skin Cancer Surgery

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US with one in five Americans developing it within their lifetime. Skin cancer can be prevented by avoiding the sun and being diligent about using sunscreen. Luckily there are many effective treatments for skin cancer. The types of surgeries used to treat skin cancer include excision, Mohs surgery, curettage and electrodesiccation, and even cyrosurgery. While these surgeries are effective and removing the cancer, they can also leave scarring. While it may be impossible to completely prevent scarring after skin cancer surgery, there are a few things that can be done to minimize it.

Proper Wound Care

The amount of scarring from skin cancer surgery is dependent on the type of surgery, the skin of the patient, and the area of the body that the surgery was performed on. No matter which surgery was used, proper wound care is the best way to reduce scarring. The site of the surgery should be kept clean, it should also be kept moist with ointment and covered with a new bandage every day, and sunscreen should be applied over the treated area. 

Talk With The Dermatologist About Scar Minimization Before Treatment

One way to prevent scarring is to address the issue with the dermatologist before treatment. Certain treatments such as Mohs surgery leave more healthy skin intact and can mean less scarring for some individuals. Mohs surgery is commonly used on areas such as the nose, eyelids, and earlobes. There are also other techniques that doctors can use in order to minimize scarring. Barbed stitches, dermabrasion, lasers, and even skin grafts are techniques used by doctor's to minimize scarring and to blend the scarred skin in with healthy skin. Some of these techniques can also be used after surgery in order to help improve the look of older scars.


Make-up and cosmetics can also be used to help with the appearance of scarring. Not all scarring can be minimized or prevented. This is where cosmetic techniques can pick up the slack. Foundation can help create a more even skin tone and is a great way to camouflage scarring on the face. Color corrective cosmetics can also be used to cancel out the red and blue tones that often appear in newer scars. 

Scarring after skin cancer surgery is a major concern for many. While it may be impossible to completely prevent scarring, proper wound care, scar minimization techniques during surgery, and make-up can drastically reduce the appearance of scars.