We like to think that celebrities are untouchable, but every now and then we get a reminder that, well, they’re still human. Most recently, X-Men star Hugh Jackman opened up about his experiences with skin cancer to his fans through social media with a special plea to wear sunscreen.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so we’ve pulled together this collection of celebrities that have battled this all-to-common disease. Remember, prevention and early detection are the key and as Jackman pleaded, “PLEASE! PLEASE! WEAR SUNSCREEN!”
The 35-year-old Once Upon a Time star has had a brush with the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. In an interview with US Weekly, Morrison says, “I have seven scars from having moles removed. One was a melanoma, six were precancerous. Get your moles checked!”
This actress revealed in an interview with Health magazine that she has her husband to thank for her diagnosis. “A few years ago, I had a mole on the back of my calf, and he was adamant that I get it checked,” says Monaghan. “In Australia, they’re very aware of skin cancer. I finally went and it was cancer. I had quite the chunk taken out of my leg. I’m so grateful he noticed it. I clearly now realize he has a keen eye and wonder what other imperfections he’s noticing!”
The actress revealed in an interview with People, “I had a spot on my face. The doctor scraped it, and it turned out to be precancerous. I was scared.”
Shields says that her tanning habits from her youth came back to haunt her, despite protecting her skin from the sun for over a decade. “You think that because you’re not in the sun anymore, it’s all in the past. And then something like that crops up and you’re made aware of how dangerous it really can be.”
The actress and wife of Antonio Banderas stirred up speculation after being photographed with a black eye. But her rep quickly squashed rumors and explained that Griffith had undergone surgery to remove the early stages of skin cancer from her face.
The then 52-year-old actress’ reps confirmed that she had a “benign growth removed from her back.” Shepherd’s mother, Patti Micci, went on to confirm the surgery and also explained that her daughter had spent a lot of her time sunbathing when she was young.
In 2002, the violet-eyed actress confirmed that she had gone through radiation therapy for basal cell carcinoma on her neck. At the end of her treatment, she was found to be free and clear of the disease.
It’s no secret that the sun is your skin’s worst enemy—no matter your skin color. Aside from being the primary cause of skin cancer, it’s also one of the main factors to blame for premature aging. The moral of the story is to try to expose your skin to the sun as little as possible, but if you must be in the sun, follow these tips:
- Avoid direct sunlight during peak hours—from 10AM to 2PM— as much as possible.
- Wear protective clothing like long sleeves, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it about 20 minutes before you go outside and re-apply it every two to three hours.
On the hunt for a good sunscreen?
Try Sun Bum SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion ($16) because it moisturizes your skin while it protects it from UVA and UVB rays. It’s also infused with vitamin E, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, so it’ll help prevent premature aging even further.
Don’t forget to schedule an annual appointment with your dermatologist for a full skin check. When you go in, don’t wear any makeup and make sure your nails are polish-free—that’s right, skin cancer could be lurking there too! In between check-ups, keep an eye on any dark spots or moles and look for changes in shape, color and size.