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How Long to Use Vaseline After Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a low risk, precise surgical procedure used to treat skin cancer by removing skin cancer by only cutting away the cancerous tissue, layer-by-layer. It is a quick out-patient procedure that reduces the need for other treatments.


In this article, we discuss the usage of Vaseline as part of the post-operative care for recovery. 

Mohs Surgery 

Mohs surgery or Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly effective surgical procedure used to remove various forms (both rare and common types) of high-risk skin cancer. 

This microscopically controlled procedure involves cutting away thin layers of skin and examining each layer under a microscope for signs of cancer. The procedure goes on until all of the cancer is removed. 

Mohs surgery only removes cancerous tissue, thus preserving healthy tissue. Its advantages include a low risk surgery, minimal scarring, and a quick recovery period. However, it is a surgery nonetheless, and sutured incisions post-surgery need proper post-operative care, Vaseline being an important part of it. 

How Long Should You Use Vaseline After Mohs Surgery?

It is recommended that you cover your wound with Vaseline 3-5 times a day for up to 3 weeks or at least until your sutures are removed. Petroleum jelly or Vaseline helps reduce the risk of infection and dehydration in the wound.


Vaseline also reduces pain and itchiness, helps your skin regenerate cells and restructure, and keeps skin moisturized and healthy.

Immediate Aftercare

Post-surgery, striclty follow your surgeon’s instructions for aftercare. In order to enure safe and complete healing of the surgical wound, follow a routine. Here are some of the simple measures necessary for a proper recovery:

  1. First things first, do not disturb the initial dressing on the wound for 24-48 hours after the surgery and keep it dry.
  2. Following the surgery, ice the area 2-3 times a day or every 2 hours for 15 minutes. Repeat this for 2 more days 
  3. To keep your wound clean, gently cleanse with 3% hydrogen peroxide or a mild soap, then cover it with Vaseline and wrap the area with a dressing which won’t stick to your wound. 
  4. Do not let your wound dry out. A moist, covered wound heals faster, so cover your wound with Vaseline 3-5 times a day for up to 3 weeks. 
  5. To apply Vaseline, use a Q-tip or a sterile object instead of your fingers. Your fingers may transfer harmful bacteria which can infect the wound. 
  6. Ensure that you keep the wounded area elevated. Use a pillow or two to prop your head/arms/any other affected area while sleeping. 
  7. Avoid alcohol for at 48 hours post-surgery as this may hinder proper healing of the wound.
  8. Once dressing is no longer needed, pay special care to the scar with regular application of SPF (sunscreen) and the additional use of sun-protective gear like umbrellas and hats.  

How Long Should You Wear a Bandage After Mohs Surgery?

To minimize swelling, keep the initial bandage on for at least 24 hours post-surgery and ice the area every 2 hours for 15-20 minutes. If your wound starts to bleed, apply firm, consistent pressure over the bandage for 20-30 minutes. Do not remove the bandage. 

It is recommended that exercise or any other strenuous activity should be avoided for a minimum of 2 weeks after the procedure. Do not take any medication like ibuprofen and aspirin  without consulting your physician. 

To keep your wound from drying out, regular usage of petroleum jelly-based ointments are highly recommended. Apply them 2-3 times a day after cleansing the wound, or as suggested by your surgeon. 

How Often Should You Change Your Dressing After Mohs Surgery?

Change the dressing on your wound once a day. Changing the dressing is required to keep your wound clean and infection-free. Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, gently remove the old dressing and cleanse the area around your wound with a cotton ball, gauze, or a Q-tip with water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. This mixture removes any crusting along the suture line or the wound
  2. Then, pat dry the area carefully with a clean cloth or gauze and apply Vaseline or Aquaphor ointment to keep the wound moist. 
  3. After that, bandage the wound again with a dry sterile gauze or Band-Aid. You can also choose to forgo bandaging if you will be staying indoors. 
  4. If you have received dissolving stitches, stop using hydrogen peroxide after 10 days and cleanse the wound with water and a mild soap. Do not wash your wound if you have a graft. 
  5. Avoid strenuous activities and keep the wound moisturized until your post-op visit to the doctor’s. 

Can You Shower After Mohs Surgery?


The short answer is yes, you can shower immediately after receiving Mohs surgery. However, there are several precautions to be taken pre- and post-showering. Here are some of the do’s and dont’s:

  1. Since the surgical area is to be kept strictly dry for 24-72 hours post-op, you can try other cleansing methods like sponge bath. If you absolutely must shower, wrap your wound with additional waterproof dressing and keep it out of the reach of water. 
  2. If your doctor has advised you to avoid contact with water for a period of time, you can give yourself a sponge bath. Just soak a washcloth in some water and mild soap and cleanse yourself. 
  3. After the 48 hour mark, remove the initial bandage, apply Vaseline or Aquaphor and cover the area with waterproof dressing like Telfa before stepping into the shower. 
  4. Strictly avoid soaking or immersing your wound in water until your surgeon gives you the go sign. 

How Much Does Mohs Surgery Recovery Hurt?

Patient report moderate pain in the affected area for a few days post-op. However, this pain is largely manageable and can be mitigated with pain-killers like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Pain is also subjective to the affected area; patients who have Mohs surgery on their scalp or whose wound is larger than 3 square centimeters tend to report more pain than others. 

Also Read: Top 6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Surgeon.

How Long Does Complete Recovery Take? 

Your Mohs surgery scar could take anywhere between 12-18 months post-op to completely heal, so in the year following your surgery, you’ll have to be patient and let your body take its time to recover. 

Red Flages to Look Out for During Recovery 

A surgical wound is extremely susceptible to various infections. If your wound gets infected, it could cause a lot of complications and slow down your healing process, and also lead to sepsis if left unattended. Here are some signs in which case you should contact your doctor: 

  • Thick, yellowish discharge or pus
  • Foul smell
  • Area around the wound is bright red
  • You develop a fever
  • The skin around your wound is swollen and hot to the touch. 


We understand that dealing with cancer can be excruciatingly scary. Mohs surgery has an exceptionally high success rate, and you will be treated by remving the cancerous growth layer-by-layer. This surgery does leave a wound in its wake, so ensure that you follow all the necessary aftercare requirements to expect an effective recovery. 

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