By now we’ve all viewed the shocking skin-cancer selfie posted by Tawny Willoughby that went viral this past week. Her story is all too common, previously tanning in an indoor bed four to five times per week.
“I had my own personal tanning bed in my home and so did a lot of my friends growing up … everyone tanned,” Willoughby told CNN. “I didn’t really even think about the future or skin cancer at the time.”
Willoughby decided to see a dermatologist after one of her nursing school classmates was diagnosed with melanoma. Now at 27, she’s been treated for basal cell carcinoma five times and squamous cell carcinoma once.
“If anyone needs a little motivation to not lay in the tanning bed and sun here ya go! This is what skin cancer treatment can look like,” she posted along with her photo. “Wear sunscreen and get a spray tan. You only get one skin and you should take care of it.”
As a skilled Utah facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Thompson sees patients frequently who have had skin cancer removed from areas of their face that are referred to him for repair. Though the results are amazing, the process takes awhile and often involves taking skin from another area of the face or body to replace the cancerous skin that was previously removed. Patients are often surprised to see how large of an area needs to be removed to clear carcinoma that likely presented as a small lesion on the face. It’s not easy…emotionally or physically.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include fair skin, skin that burns easily, and excessive sun exposure and history of sun burns. Warning signs include changes in size, shape or color of a mole or lesion, and a sore that doesn’t heal.
It’s important to stay out of tanning beds and when spending time in the sun, use a quality sunscreen containing zinc and titanium oxide of SPF 30 or higher. Zinc and titanium oxide work as a physical barrier to UV-rays and it’s important to reapply every 2-3 hours on long days outdoors, even if it’s overcast. Our most popular sunscreen is SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense which is tinted and blends well with any complexion. It’s made with 100% mineral filters and provides amazing broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
SkinCeuticals just came out with a matte version with an oil absorbing protective base proven to maintain a matte finish in hot, humid climates making it perfect for summer. Get 25% off when purchasing with any antioxidant through the month of May by calling (801)776-2220.