We’re talking about skin safety now more than ever, with sunscreen becoming a hero product in skincare routines and self-tanning potions replacing tanning beds and hours spent baking under the sun. This is partially due to the beauty and skincare boom that’s taken place in the era of YouTube and TikTok skincare influencers. Thanks (at least in part) to them, many of us are now more aware that sun exposure causes the skin to age more quickly, and that sunscreen helps skin maintain that youthful appearance many people desire while also protecting against skin cancer.
In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by sun exposure. The organization states that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and worldwide, with 1 in every 5 Americans developing skin cancer by age 70. The good news? Regular, daily use of SPF 15 or higher decreases the risk of developing certain types of skin cancer, according to the Skin Care Foundation, reducing the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by approximately 40 percent and melanoma by about 50 percent. And the organization isn’t alone in communicating the importance of taking protective measures when it comes to the body’s largest organ.
From Khloé Kardashian to Hugh Jackman, many celebrities who have been diagnosed with skin cancer have taken to their social media platforms to share their experiences and encourage others to prioritize skin health. Jackman, who is a six-time skin cancer survivor, wrote on his Instagram Story after his most recent spot removal procedure in April 2023: “Please remember to wear sunscreen with a high level of SPF, no matter the season.”
For more celebrity testimonies on being diagnosed with, treated for, and preventing skin cancer, keep reading.
In 2022, Khloé Kardashian revealed that she had to have a tumor removed from her face — which was the second time she’s had to undergo a procedure due to skin cancer.
The Good American co-founder explained on her Instagram Story, “After noticing a small bump on my face and assuming it was something as minor as a zit, I decided to get it biopsied 7 months after realizing it was not budging.” She continued, “A few days later I was told I need to have an immediate operation to remove a tumour from my face.”
Kardashian added, “At 19 years old, I had melanoma on my back, and I had a surgery to remove that as well, so I am predisposed to melanomas.” She encouraged others to be vigilant when checking for abnormal spots and wearing sunscreen, writing, “I am someone who wears sunscreen every single day, religiously so no one is exempt from these things. Please take this seriously and do your regular self-exams as well as your annual check-ups.”
After being diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma and having a cancerous spot on her nose removed, Melanie Griffith encouraged her fans to take care of their skin. In 2018, the Working Girl star shared a selfie on Instagram featuring her bandaged nose, and she captioned the photo, “Bandaged again after having dermabrasion, the final step to fix the now removed basil cell skin cancer.”
Griffith continued, “If any of you have it, get it fixed. If you lay in the sun, are exposed to lots of sun, be CAREFUL. Use sun screen. Get checked out by your Dermatologist. If you don’t have one, get one, or go to your nearest clinic and ask to be tested for it.”
Diane Keaton opened up to the Los Angeles Times in 2015 about being a two-time skin cancer survivor. Recalling when she was first diagnosed at 21 years old, the actress shared, “It’s a family history. I remember my Auntie Martha had skin cancer so bad they removed her nose. My father had basal skin cancer and my brother had it.”
Although she’s now a fervent sunscreen user, Keaton admitted she hadn’t always been so regimented when it came to wearing SPF. “Back in my 20’s I didn’t pay attention much. I didn’t research and didn’t really care and that was stupid because it’s dogged me my entire adult life, even recently. I didn’t start sun care until my 40’s,” Keaton shared, adding she now carries sunscreen with her wherever she goes.
Hugh Jackman was first diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013, and he’s undergone six procedures to remove cancerous spots from his skin in the years since.
Of his initial diagnosis, the X-Men star told People, “It’s always a bit of a shock just hearing the word ‘cancer.’ Being an Australian, it’s a very common thing. I never wore sunscreen growing up so I was a prime candidate for it.”
After his latest procedure in April 2023, Jackman wrote on his Instagram Story, “My biopsies came back negative!!! Thank you ALL for the love. I feel it!” The actor added, “Please remember to wear sunscreen with a high level of SPF, no matter the season.”
Brooke Shields spoke to People about a skin cancer scare she experienced in 2009 due to an abnormal-looking mole on her face. The model shared, “The doctor scraped it, and it turned out to be precancerous. I was scared.”
She touched on how, when she was younger, she didn’t realize that the sun impacts your skin everywhere you go if you don’t wear SPF. “All my girlfriends and I would go up on the roof in New York; we didn’t have to be at the beach,” Shields said.
Adding that she stopped tanning long ago, she shared, “You think that because you’re not in the sun anymore, it’s all in the past. And then something like [a precancerous spot] crops up and you’re made aware of how dangerous it really can be.”
When Witney Carson was just 19 years old, she was diagnosed with melanoma — and the cancer diagnosis coincided with her debut as a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars. Carson recalled during a 2022 interview with People, “I finally got this call that was going to just skyrocket my career. It was my dream.”
She continued, “All of a sudden I get diagnosed with melanoma, and of course, being myself, I’m like ‘It’s fine. I can still go on the show.’” Carson explained, “I think I was embarrassed only in the fact that I was an athlete and I was supposed to be encompassing everything healthy and fit. I was supposed to be doing all the right things to be an athlete … The producers didn’t know. My partner didn’t know. I wanted people to think I was perfectly healthy.”
The DWTS champion had to have a mole and several lymph nodes removed to eliminate the cancer, but she’s been free of melanoma ever since.
During a 2020 appearance on Jenny McCarthy’s SiriusXM radio show, Andy Cohen spoke about his malignant melanoma diagnosis. “There was a dot on my lip that I had for a while that I was not paying attention to,” he explained, continuing, “Kelly [Ripa] came up to me and goes, ‘What’s happening with your lip? Get that checked out today. That is skin cancer.’”
The Watch What Happens Live host added that while he loves to get a tan, he’s “no longer that person” since his bout with skin cancer.
In 2008, Ewan McGregor revealed he had two cancerous moles removed from his face. Per Reuters, the Star Wars icon told BBC, “I had a little skin cancer under my eye. I just went to have [the moles] checked … I went to see a specialist who thought they were better to be removed and indeed he was correct.”
Sharing a photo of her red nose following a procedure to remove a cancerous spot, Caitlyn Jenner wrote on Instagram, “I recently had to get some sun damage removed from my nose. PSA- always wear your sunblock!” While Jenner didn’t specify what kind of cancer she had, People confirmed the spot to be basal cell carcinoma.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp has had over a dozen melanomas removed. In January 2023, she shared an update with fans letting them know that after having 12 spots removed and being cancer-free for a period of time, she went in for a check-up and her doctors found new spots.
Mellencamp wrote on Instagram, “I went in for my 4-6 week checkup and there were three new spots my doctors felt needed to be biopsied.” She added, “I’m getting a lot of questions about the spots being white. I have had both white and brown melanomas; this is why I continue to share to get checked no matter what.”
The television personality continued, “As someone who is a controlled person, I’m dealing as best I can with something out of my control. Things I can control: staying on top of my appointments, self-checks, and asking my doctors questions.” Mellencamp concluded, “I’m trying my best to stay positive and will fill you in when I get the results. If this saves even one person from going through what I’m going through, it’s worth it.”
Soccer star-turned-actor Vinnie Jones was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013, and he spoke to BBC about how prolonged exposure to the sun caused him to develop melanoma.
“Footballers never put on sunblock and they should all be wearing it,” he said before adding, “Kids should all be wearing it every time they play sport.” Jones encouraged people to consult with a doctor about any skin concerns, suggesting, “If you spot something on your skin that doesn’t feel right, get it checked out immediately.”
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