David B. Pharis, M.D., P.C. Skin Cancer and Dermatologic Surgery

Open Care

Open Wound Care

  1. After surgery, go home and take it easy. Minimize bending or other exertion for several days.
  2. After 1-2 day/s, remove the dressing. You may bathe regularly at this point, and allow the wound to get wet.
  3. Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide. If there is any crusting or scabbing, soak the wound with peroxide and remove as much of the crusting by gently rubbing the wound with a moist Q-tip or washcloth. Once there is no dried blood on the wound you no longer need to use the peroxide. 
  4. Apply a layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline ointment over the wound.
  5. Cover the wound with a Band-Aid or small dressing (non-stick gauze and paper tape).
  6. REPEAT THESE INSTRUCTIONS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY UNTIL THE WOUND HAS COMPLETELY HEALED. Small wounds may heal in 2-3 weeks. Larger wounds may take 4-5 weeks or more. After the wound is healed, you can stop daily dressing changes

For Pain

Take 1-2 Extra Strength Tylenol or the prescription pain medication as needed. Narcotic (prescription) pain medications can make you sleepy or sluggish. Don't drive or operate equipment if you have taken them. Minimize alcohol intake for 24 hours. Do not take any aspirin or aspirin-like products for at least 48 hours as these may cause bleeding.

For Bleeding

The bandage applied before you left the operating room is a pressure bandage and should be left on for 24-48 hours. Some blood tinged oozing might occur. If you experience oozing of blood from the wound: Sit still and apply constant pressure to the area for 15 minutes.


  • Cotton tipped applicators (Q-tips)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Aquaphor or Vaseline Ointment (not Neosporin-many people are allergic)
  • Band-Aids or non-stick gauze pads (Telfa) and paper tape (Micropore)

All wounds normally drain (the larger the wound the more drainage) which is why we insist on daily dressing changes. This drainage decreases after the first week. A newly healed wound has a shiny look to the surface and is dark pink to red in color. The redness will slowly fade over the next few months. Sometimes it takes 6 months to one year to fade completely. Itching or tingling is common and is a normal experience with healing.

Call the office if you have:

  • Severe itching with a rash: this usually indicates sensitivity to the ointment or to the bandage tape.
  • Fever, extreme or a significant increase in pain, or pus draining. Clear yellow/orange drainage is normal; thick cloudy drainage needs to be evaluated. The base of deeper wounds may develop a whitish layer of fibrin (does not wipe off), which is normal for many wounds.
  • It is an old wives tale that a wound heals better when exposed to the air. If kept clean and covered with ointment and a bandage, the wound will heal faster, and with a nicer cosmetic result.

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protection tip

Remember to apply sunscreen on cloudy days too since theultraviolet light penetrates easily through the clouds

Avoid sun exposure during mid-day hours (10 am to 4 pm) when the ultraviolet rays are most powerful.

Wear sun protective gear such as a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and long sleeve shirts or pants.

Don't forget to protect your lips with a lip balm containing sunscreen.

Seek shade wherever possible





3855 Pleasant Hill Rd. Suite 200
Duluth, GA 30096

Office Hours:
Monday & Friday 9:00 – 3:00
Tuesday thru Thursday 7:30 - 4:00