The AAD indicates that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and it is essential to routinely check the skin. If one notices a spot on the skin that is different from others or that changes, itches, or bleeds, one should make an appointment to seek further evaluation from a board-certified dermatologist.
A skin biopsy is the best way to confirm diagnosis and rule out anything serious. A skin biopsy can be performed during an office visit with a dermatologist using local anesthesia to numb the area. During a skin biopsy, the dermatologist removes a small amount of skin, which will be examined to make a diagnosis.
In a recent press release from the AAD, a board-certified dermatologist provided readers with key tips for wound care after a skin biopsy.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rajiv Nijhawan, MD, FAAD, stated, "Your dermatologist will treat the small wound from the skin biopsy during your visit. Continuing to care for your wound once you get home is important because it will help it heal, reduce scarring, and decrease chances of infection."
Dr. Nijhawan provided various tips to care for a wound following a skin biopsy including:
• Practice proper wound care. Wash hands before touching the wound. To care for the wound, gently wash the biopsy area with mild soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and gently pat dry with a clean washcloth. To keep the wound moist and help it heal faster, apply petroleum jelly from a squeeze tube to the wound. Then, cover the wound with an adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and paper tape. Repeat these steps daily for as long as your dermatologist recommends.
• Do not use topical antibiotics unless instructed by your dermatologist. Topical antibiotics can cause allergic reactions. As long as you clean your wound daily, topical antibiotics are not necessary to treat a skin biopsy. Use petroleum jelly instead.
• Treat itch. The skin can itch as it heals. To relieve this itch, keep the wound moist by applying a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the wound. Itching can also be a sign of an allergic reaction or irritated skin. Cover the wound with a nonstick pad and paper tape instead of an adhesive bandage. If using a topical antibiotic, start using petroleum jelly instead.
• Treat bleeding. Apply firm and steady pressure with a sterile gauze pad continuously for 20 minutes if wound starts bleeding. Call a dermatologist's office if the wound is still bleeding after 20 minutes.
• Treat pain. The area of the biopsy may feel sore. If in pain, take acetaminophen if appropriate. Another option is to place an ice pack over the bandage to relieve swelling.
The wound should be protected from the sun to diminish scarring. Once the wound has healed, protect it from the sun by seeking shade, covering it with sun-protective clothing, and applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of 30 or higher. For more effective sun protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor number on the label.
Dr. Nijhawan also stated, "If you have any signs of infection such as worsening pain, increased swelling, warmth, or fever, contact your dermatologist. If you have any questions about a skin condition, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist."
The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.
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