life,  style

How I Changed My Skincare After a Melanoma Scare

My Skin Biopsy:

For starters, the mole in question whom I named Donald after someone else I’d love to see unceremoniously removed, was that it looked nothing like the ABCDE example moles on WebMD. It was a flat dot on my right thigh that looked I’d accidentally poked myself with an uncapped crayola marker. I’d had it since birth, proven by my baby photos, but had faded in adulthood. It looked different since I once dropped a boom mic on it while wearing shorts and scraped it.

Lengthy backstory notwithstanding, my dermatologist looked at the birthmark under a microscope and thought it looked “pretty suspicious”. Less than 10 minutes later, it was removed in a shave biopsy. A shave biopsy is when the dermatologist removes the mole by literally using a razor to remove it from your skin after a local anesthetic sets in. It’s not painful at all, it just requires quite a bit of maintenance during the healing process.

 

Risky Business:

Please stop tanning so you don’t have to go full Winnie the Pooh at the dermatologist to get a biopsy. I do recommend wearing Meowth socks though.

My biopsy came back benign, much to my shock and my Sunflower Dermatology go-to Dr. Lynn’s surprise. But with that, Dr. Lynn had a real talk moment with me: I am at very high risk for melanoma and other skin cancers:

 

  • Skin tone: I am really, really pale. For reference for all of my makeup addicts, the Naked Palette from Urban Decay is too dark for me, THAT is how pale and pinkish I am. I’m also naturally blonde with blue eyes, which I guess is also a red flag.
  • Ethnicity: Let me put it to you this way: I got a 23 and Me kit for my birthday and they could have just summed it up with “Caucasian AF.” I’m 31% British & Irish, 24% German and 18% Polish which basically makes me a walking sunburn. a
  • Sun / UV exposure: Mom, if you’re reading this, you were right that I should have worn sunscreen during swim team and golf. Also, I came of age in the Jersey Shore era when everyone fake baked.
  • Moles at birth: This was a wild card for me. I had no idea that having moles at birth is a significant risk factor.

What’s Next for My Skin:

With that news, I’m having to approach my skincare and sun protection with as much gusto as I approach a bowl of queso at Jose Peppers. I want to be straight up with you, as much as I would love to only have high end products, it simply isn’t in my budget so I mix and match what works for me.

 

Between my melanoma scare and starting to think about anti-aging, I’m working with both my dermatologist at Sunflower Dermatology and my local medi-spa Plaza Aestethetics and Wellness to have a solid game plan for my skin going forward. That’s my big thing: If you take one thing away from this post, please have a game plan for your skin from a medical professional. This is simply what works for me and might be a starting point for a conversation between you and your doctor:

My Starting Lineup:

Cleansing – Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Cleansing Gel ($8.99)

Toner – Clinique Clarifying Toner 2 for Dry/Combination Skin ($16)

Makeup Remover Wipes – Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($8)

Makeup Remover – Neutrogena Hydrating Eye Makeup Remover Lotion ($7)

Cleansing Brush – Whatever fits your budget on Amazon. Anything around the $15-$20 will probably work for a year.

Facial Scrub – Vivier Vitamin C Scrub (Ask your local spa. If you’re in KC, stop by Plaza Aesthetics and Wellness)

Moisturizer – Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 ($34 – I get mine at Sunflower Dermatology!)

Vitamin C – Vivier (Ask your local spa)

Overnight – Advanced Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer ($79 but I snagged mine at TJ Maxx for $19)

 

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