Cryotherapy aftercare

Results of cryotherapy treatment

Pain

During treatment, the pain of cryotherapy is an extremely cold, sharp, stinging sensation. This settles almost immediately to a milder pain which usually lasts a few minutes, but may persist for some hours. The treated area sometimes feel mildly irritated or itchy after this.

Headache can occur following cryotherapy to the scalp or forehead. This is a result of tightening of the scalp muscles in response to the treatment. The headache usually responds well to simple pain killers and rarely lasts more than a few hours.

Redness and swelling

Like a burn, the treated area turns red in the minutes after treatment. This redness usually lasts for one to two weeks. There may also be swelling and puffiness of the treated area. This is likely to settle within a few days

Scabs or crusts

Treated lesions often develop a scab. This is more common on the face or scalp, and lasts for about a week. When the scabs fall off, they leave behind a pale pink area of healing skin. In most cases, this colour returns to normal over several weeks.

Blisters

The treated area may develop a blister in the hours after treatment. This is a sign of effective treatment: the skin cancer or solar keratosis has separated from the healthy skin and will replaced by normal tissue as the blister heals. Blisters are usually painless, but they may weep a small amount of clear fluid.

Aftercare

If there are no blisters or scabs, no special treatment is necessary. You can shower, swim and bathe normally.

There is no evidence that applying creams or ointments will improve healing, and some preparations may actually increase the risk of infections. Do not apply any medications, creams or moisturisers to the area until the surface is completely intact. The doctor will advise if any medications are required.

Leave blisters intact. Punctured blisters are more painful and take longer to heal. We recommend covering the blister with a Band-Aid or other simple dressing for a few days. Do not use any creams, powders or ointments on the blister. It will heal best if left alone.