Published Dec 20, 2021
Bold and the Beautiful newbie and veteran soap star Krista Allen—also known by diehard fans as “Billie Reed” from Days of our Lives—recently shared that she privately went through a skin cancer scare early in her career, but luckily has been in the clear ever since.
The TV actor and stand-up comedian believes that she got skin cancer on her face from her time working on a Baywatch spin-off show from 2000-2001.
“I will say, they weren’t really into sunscreen there on Baywatch: Hawaii, which is crazy. At least to reapply on your face,” she told Soaps.com in an interview following her return to daytime television. “And years later, I ended up getting skin cancer on my face.”
Allen spotted a “weird growth” on her nose and was diagnosed with cancer. She received Mohs surgery—”a highly specialized” procedure for treating certain types of skin cancer—which took “16 layers” of skin out of her face.
Luckily, the Los Angeles native was deemed “cancer-free” after the intense procedure, but she was worried what the scar would do to her career. After all, soap stars are known for their perfect looks, especially then.
Thankfully, Allen’s reconstructive surgeon “did a great job with covering up the surgery mark” and said that her scar is visible only “if you look really closely.”
That was when Allen decided to try out her comedy skills. “I really enjoyed comedy writing,” she continued. “That took me to a completely different place for me. This was something that you could look at [and say], ‘Oh, this was horrible.’ No, it wasn’t. It was fantastic, because I found a skill I didn’t even know I had.”
Although Allen says her skin cancer experience was difficult at first, especially for cosmetic reasons at the time, the silver lining was that the single mom (who once dated George Clooney) was able to step out of her comfort zone and exercise a different performance muscle— doing live comedy in the theatre. Sometimes life’s biggest obstacles steer you in a positive direction; the goal is to always trust that things can and hopefully will get better.
Skin cancer prevention has come a long way after decades of irresponsible overexposure to the sun at the beach, pool, and perhaps the worst culprit, tanning salons.
As Allen mentioned, there wasn’t as much caution used in earlier years with applying sunscreen, but as of late—after widespread attention to the disease—there is simply no excuse not to lather on the SPF.
In fact, dermatologists recommend using a minimum of SPF 30 to protect yourself from harmful sun rays – and reapplying every two hours.
“The truth is that when you put on sunscreen, most of us don’t even put on enough sunscreen to actually get the true SPF that’s listed on the label,” explains Dr. Cecilia Larocca, a dermatologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to SurvivorNet. “In general, we actually only put on 50% of what our SPF is. So if you put on an SPF 60, you’re likely to get an SPF 30 effect. Regardless, even with that information, we recommend a minimum of SPF 30.”
The other important thing to look for when it comes to sunscreen is whether or not it’s broad spectrum. “So broad spectrum means it covers both UVB and UVA rays,” Dr. Larocca adds. “Thankfully, those are FDA regulated terms. And if it’s not listed on the sunscreen bottle, chances are it doesn’t provide that. When I go out in the sun, I make sure that I wear a hat, I wear sunglasses that are polarized, and I use sunscreen regularly.”
Of course, limiting your time in the sun is an even more sure-fire way to protect yourself. Cover up and make sure to get regular skin checks at the dermatologist.