Never underestimate the importance of sunscreen, or you could be increasing your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. Caitlyn Jenner recently got a painful reminder of this fact, and on Tuesday, she posted about her experience on Instagram to warn other people against making the same mistake.
She uploaded a picture of herself in a white robe with what appeared to be quite a lot of skin missing from the tip of her nose. In the caption, she explained exactly how it happened. "I recently had to get some sun damage removed from my nose," she posted. "PSA—always wear your sunblock!"
Although Jenner didn't specify what kind of sun damage had to be removed or whether it was cancerous, People confirmed that she had a "cancerous basal cell carcinoma" removed from her nose.
As the Mayo Clinic explains, basal cell carcinoma often appears as a somewhat transparent bump on the skin.
But it might also look like a brown, black, blue, waxy, or scar-like lesion. It could also be a scaly, flat, reddish patch. You basically want to be on the lookout for any spot that looks different from the rest of the marks on your body, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Basal cell carcinomas are pretty common (about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell carcinomas are diagnosed every year) and tend to be very treatable. They're often located on areas of the skin that tend to get a lot of sun exposure.
Basal cell carcinomas also occur on the outermost layer of skin. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, the type of treatment that's right for a particular case depends on its size and location as well as whether or not this is a patient's first diagnosis. In addition to several surgical options, there are some topical treatments available for more superficial cases.
When it comes to prevention, Jenner is totally right: According to the ACS, the most important thing you can to do to prevent basal cell carcinomas is to limit your exposure to UV light, including the sun. But, in addition to sunscreen (which is surprisingly difficult to use correctly), you can always be on the lookout for shade when you're outside, cover up as much as it's comfortable to do so, and avoid tanning beds at all costs.