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Skin Changes (cont.)

Check Your Symptoms

Home Treatment

Most bumps, spots, growths, or moles do not need any type of home treatment. But the following measures may be helpful:

  • Keep the area clean and dry. Wash with a mild soap and warm (not hot) water. Do not scrub.
  • Avoid irritating the area.
    • Do not squeeze, scratch, or pick at the spot.
    • Leave the spot exposed to the air whenever possible.
    • Adjust your clothing to avoid rubbing the bump or spot, or cover it with a bandage.
  • Conceal a mole or birthmark if you are embarrassed by how it looks. Many cosmetics are designed for this purpose.
  • Use a humidifier in your home in the winter or all year if you live in a dry climate.
  • Shower after swimming or using a hot tub to rinse off chlorine or salt water. Use a moisturizer after showering.
  • Perform a skin self-examClick here to see an illustration. to learn about your skin. This will help you spot new skin growths.
  • Eat a balanced diet and drink 8 to 12 glasses of water each day. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.

Try the following measures if a bump, spot, or growth shows minor signs of infection, such as a small amount of pus or redness around the bump:

  • Gently wash the spot with an antibacterial soap once or twice a day.
  • Leave the spot unbandaged, unless it becomes irritated or dirty.
  • If a spot becomes dirty or irritated, apply an antibiotic ointment, such as bacitracin or polymyxin B sulfate, and cover it with an adhesive bandage. The ointment will keep the spot from sticking to the bandage.

    Note: Stop using the ointment if the skin under the bandage begins to itch or develops a rash. The ointment may be causing a skin reaction.

  • Change the bandage every day and any time it gets wet. If a dressing is stuck to a scab, soak the dressing in warm water to soften the scab and make it easier to remove the bandage.
  • Watch for other signs of infection, such as increasing pain, swelling, redness, heat, fever, or chills.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Signs of a skin infection develop.
  • A mole or colored skin spot:
    • Bleeds or forms an ulcer.
    • Changes in size, shape, or texture.
    • Becomes sensitive, itchy, or painful.
  • Symptoms do not improve, become more severe or frequent, or don't go away.
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