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Fry Now, Pay Later

By: Noreen Young
Posted: June 24, 2008, from the February 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 6

As another safe-sunning alternative for your clients, consider offering spray tanning or sunless tan treatments at your spa. Thanks to the constant evolution of technology, the results are more natural-looking than ever before.

Speaking from experience

On a more personal note, allow me to share something with you from one beauty professional to another. Last autumn, I noticed a small brown sunspot on my right breast that appeared suddenly out of nowhere. It was round and approximately the size of the head of a straight pin, but it grew fast and had a slightly red radius. At the time, I was lecturing on the road, and, understandably, I was very frightened.

Until I could get back home and schedule an appointment with my dermatologist, I asked a couple of esthetician friends to take at look at it. Both expressed their belief that it was nothing and assured me that I shouldn’t worry. Despite this support, I still felt apprehensive. If I had not listened to my inner voice, which persuaded me to see my doctor as soon as I returned, I don’t know what would have happened.

My dermatologist told me that, because I have dark hair and eyes, as well as a medium-tone complexion, I was not at particularly high risk for skin cancer. I confessed to him that, in the past, I had enjoyed sunbathing outdoors and occasionally in a tanning bed. He then removed the brown spot and sent it off to be biopsied. After eight days, we both received shocking news: I had squamous cell carcinoma. The doctor could not believe it, and neither could my esthetician friends.

My message here is clear: Even though you are a trained esthetician, if you notice any suspicious lesions or skin irregularities on a client’s skin, always instruct the individual to contact their physician or dermatologist immediately. The last time I did this was when one of my clients had what appeared to be a bumpy whitehead. It turned out that she had cancer of the face that spread like wildfire. She is only in her 30s and has had to endure emotional scars, as well as facial disfigurement. This client still thanks me to this day for urging her to seek medical attention.