Your Care Instructions
A skin lesion is a general term used for the different types of bumps, spots, moles or other growths that may appear on your skin. Most skin lesions are harmless, but sometimes they can be a sign of skin cancer or other health problems.
Depending on what type of lesion you have, your doctor may cut out all or a small area of the skin tissue and send it to a lab to be looked at under a microscope. This is called a biopsy. A biopsy may be done to figure out what the lesion is or to make sure it is not skin cancer.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- If your doctor told you how to care for your wound, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
- Keep the wound bandaged and dry for the first day.
- After the first day, wash around the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
- You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
- Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
- If you have stitches, you may get other instructions. You will have to return to have the stitches removed.
- If a scab forms, do not pull it off. Let it fall off on its own. Wounds heal faster if no scab forms. Washing the area every day and using petroleum jelly will help keep a scab from forming.
- If the wound bleeds, put direct pressure on it with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
- If you had a growth "frozen" off with liquid nitrogen, you may get a blister. Do not break it. Let it dry up on its own. It is common for the blister to fill with blood. You do not need to do anything about this, but if it becomes too painful, call your doctor.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the wound.
- Pus draining from the wound.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- The wound changes, bleeds, or gets worse.
- You do not get better after 2 weeks of home care.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter E372 in the search box to learn more about "Skin Lesions: Care Instructions".
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine