I’m a Skincare Blogger and I Have Skin Cancer

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Sunscreen is my favorite part of my 7 step skincare routine; as someone who is usually the lightest shade in any given foundation, I am not friends with the sun. I’ve been wearing SPF daily for at least five years, constantly wear sunglasses, and have a bit of a penchant for berets and baseball caps. I also pen skincare reviews almost daily and make sure to fit my annual skin screening in each February.

So, imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from my dermatologist saying my biopsy came back positive for skin cancer and I need to have Mohs surgery. I’d had my screening nearly two weeks before and she took a biopsy from a small, raised, reddish pink spot near my temple. I assumed it was negative when I didn’t hear back in the typical seven day window.

Having a biopsy isn’t too concerning; most doctors prefer to err on the side of cautious over-testing than risk missing a possible issue. I’ve had four biopsies taken over the past decade and all were negative. However, skin cancer has run in my family for generations and I’m sprinkled with freckles and moles, so annual screens are necessary. My parents have had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) unfortunately. From their experiences, I learned about the different types of skin cancer and thankfully wasn’t terrified when I was diagnosed with BCC, the most common form.

Still, I’ve been questioning my diligence around reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and wondering if maybe my chemical exfoliants or (infrequent) retinol usage caused this. I’ve taken a step back from blogging because being diagnosed with BCC made me feel like a bit of a failure as a “skincare expert.” How could I possibly share my opinions and recommendations when my own defense routine let me down?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC is “usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.” That means over the course of a period of time. Forgetting sunscreen once last September didn’t cause my skin cancer; I’ve had that spot on my temple for at least a couple years. No routine is a perfect shield and my genes are already vulnerable to skin cancer despite what I’ve done to minimize sun damage. In other words, this is not my fault. I’m a skincare blogger and having skin cancer doesn’t make me a failure. Noticing that the spot changed colors over the past few months and scheduling my appointment makes me proactive in supplementing my daily defense. We all should be more proactive when it comes to our skin, especially considering that non-melanoma skin cancers are the most frequent cancer diagnosis in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

My Mohs surgery is scheduled for a couple weeks from now (planned around an overseas trip or I would have done it sooner!) and should completely remove the cancerous cells and hardly leave a scar after it heals. If you take one piece of advice from any of the hundreds of posts I’ve written, please make an appointment for your annual skin screening.

Reviewing Minis from Tatcha, La Mer, and First Aid Beauty

Would I buy the full size?

I’m testing out three minis this week and I’ve fallen in love with one, am confused on another, and dislike the last. It’s so interesting how cult favorite products may or may not work out; I’m glad I had smaller sizes of these products to try out before deciding to invest in the full size.

Starting with the one I loved: The Deep Cleanse from Tatcha. I had actually posted about this when I first received it in January (see below for a very old, shadowy picture…) My normal to somewhat dry skin was a lot drier back then and it felt a tiny bit stripping. Which makes sense, because this cleanser is really for normal to oily skin.

Lately, I’ve been using it after a workout, when my skin feels sweaty and oily. I think – true to the name – it’s great for a deep cleanse. My skin feels clean without being squeaky and it’s also a little softer due to the luffa fruit fibers. It doesn’t feel tight or dry thankfully! I’m really happy I gave this a second chance with my skin changing as the weather does too.

I think my skin might be a tiny bit too dry still for the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer. This seems like it’s hard to blend in due to the thicker texture. I’m wondering if it would be better over a hydrating primer or maybe mixed with a facial oil. I’ll have to try it that way and update you, because I really love the natural finish.

It also evens out my skintone a bit (even though Fair is almost too dark for me) and helps with slightly diffusing redness. I love how easy tinted moisturizers are in theory, so I’d love to try out a few more and compare. The SPF 30 in this one was a huge plus for me!

Lastly, the Creme de La Mer moisturizer didn’t work out for me. It doesn’t sink in easily or quickly in my experience and I don’t like tugging at my skin. I also disliked the scent, which almost gave me a headache. It’s reminiscent of powdery rose. So many people rave about this brand, so I’m open to trying their other products. The new bronzer looks stunning.

I like the Tatcha cleanser enough to buy the full size and and I would definitely pass on the La Mer moisturizer. I think the FAB tinted moisturizer will be great with a drop of oil, so I’m still undecided there. Do you guys have any recommendations for tinted moisturizer?