Don't Underestimate a Lingering Pimple
- Entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, 63, was getting touched up for a 2015 TV appearance when her make-up artist spotted a little whitehead on her face.
- The television star, who serves as one of the “Dragons” on the hit British show Dragon’s Den, had initially brushed it off as nothing, but got it checked out shortly after the exchange. It was squamous cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer.
- Fortunately, Deborah’s cancer was found pretty quickly, that’s why it’s super important to get skin checks and always get any lingering spot checked out, even if it doesn’t look overly suspicious.
Deborah was shocked to learn that the unsuspecting little blemish was skin cancer.Read More
The Somerset, England native noted that the spot had been there for six weeks or so, and she would have completely brushed it off if it weren’t for her make-up artist.
“She kept saying, ‘That’s not right, Deborah’, and I thought, ‘OK that’s really weird, I don’t usually get spots.’ I was going off to Africa and I thought, before I go, I just need to get that checked out.”
“When I say I was lucky, we caught it incredibly early,” she added, urging people to be careful about a pimple that doesn’t go away.
“I’ve always looked for moles, I know all the rules about moles, I’ve never looked for something that actually looked like a whitehead.”
What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma?
Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer, with basal cell being the most common. According to the American Cancer Society, squamous cells are “flat” cells in the outer part of the skin. These cells are constantly shedding and growing.
When the cell growth is out of control, that’s when skin cancer can form. With squamous cell carcinoma, it can grow deeper into the skin and is likely to spread if not caught early. Fortunately, Deborah’s cancer was found pretty quickly, that’s why it’s super important to get skin checks and always get any lingering spot checked out, even if it doesn’t look overly suspicious.
Get Savvy About Skin Cancer Prevention
We’ve said it before and we will say it again, the sun is not your friend. For most people, there are simple ways to significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. We asked dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman to provide the top five ways to protect your skin from skin cancer. Turns out, most of her recommendations are really simple to implement, and could save your life.
- Avoid sun during peak hours – This means from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It doesn’t mean you should never go outside during the middle of the day, but make sure you’re protected when you do venture outdoors.
- Cover your skin and eyes – A wide brim hat and sun glasses will protect your face, the top of your head, your ears, and the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Wear an SPF of 30 or higher – This is easy enough. Plenty of facial moisturizers have SPF built into them. Dr. Engelman also recommends reapplying every few hours, or after excessive sweating or swimming.
- Get an annual skin check – You can check your own skin for anything that looks out of the ordinary, but you should still get a yearly check to make sure you didn’t miss anything. If you do happen to notice anything out of the ordinary in between checks, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor about it ASAP — it is always worth it to make sure.
- Avoid tanning beds – This one is obvious … but just a reminder, tanning beds can significantly increase your risk of developing melanoma. If you feel like you’re just too pale, Dr. Engelman recommends a sunless tanner. “There’s absolutely no benefit to going to a tanning bed,” Dr. Engelman said.