How a Facial Could Save Your Life
Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but just a little. Here’s my story.
I get regular once-a-year checkups by my dermatologist. As a member of the generation who didn’t know any better, I had tanned every summer for years, often using products that offered little or no spf. Yes, the golden tans looked healthy and attractive — but the resulting sun damage was a big price to pay.
As I write about spas and various spa treatments, I regularly attend the annual ISPA (International Spa Association) media event to sample the various new treatments and products. I stopped to try a new skincare product, and as the esthetician applied it to my face, she touched my nose and asked: “How long have you had that?”
“Oh, it’s just a zit,” I said, though I had wondered why the tiny bump had lingered so long.
“Have it looked at,” she said, and her tone told me not to delay.
A visit to the dermatologist and a biopsy confirmed that what I had on my nose was a basal cell carcinoma. Not the worst kind of skin cancer, but nothing to fool around with. I had what was called a Mohs procedure, which removed the cancer and smoothed out my nose so it looked almost-as-good-as-new.
I am eternally grateful to the esthetician and to the mini facial, for if the “zit” had gone untreated and continued to grow until I had my regular checkup, the removal could have caused much more damage to my nose. And if it had been a more serious form of skin cancer, early detection could well have saved my life.
If there is a moral to this story, it’s that your annual dermatological checkup may not be enough to detect skin cancer. Be aware of your own body and monitor changes to your skin. And as my dermatologist said: “If you get something that could be suspicious and it lasts for several weeks, have it looked at.”