Facialist who’s trained to spot the early warning signs of skin cancer reveals she looks for scar-like patches and lesions that change size (so, do YOU know the red flags?)

  • Andrea Simpson has undertaken training in how to spot dangerous skin lesions 
  • Charity Skcin are encouraging beauty professionals to learn how to check skin
  • Prevention is key –  avoiding sunbeds and wearing sunscreen all year round

You may not think the humble facial could save your life, but a facialist says that undergoing regular skin-boosting treatments may help you catch the early warning signs of skin cancer.

Andrea Simpson, an award-winning facialist from Derbyshire, has undertaken advanced training with company Geneo, in how to spot potentially dangerous skin lesions and has already helped one of her clients when she spotted a pre-melanoma. 

Rates of melanoma have soared by 128 per cent in the last two decades, leading to charity Skcin encouraging beauty professionals to step forward and learn how to check skin for potential problems.  

Andrea is keen to help others be more ‘skin savvy’ and know the warning signs and says, when giving facials, she’s on the look out for signs including lesions, which bleed or change in size, and also waxy, scar-like patches.

Here she also tells FEMAIL that prevention, such as avoiding sunbeds and wearing sunscreen all year round, is a must.  

The skin care therapist is keen to help others become more ‘skin savvy’ and know the warning signs


Andrea, a UK ambassador for clinical facial platforms geneo+, has been a trainer in advanced facials and skincare for over 17 years.

‘As beauty professionals, we see our clients on a regular basis, and we have the opportunity to observe changes that may occur on our clients skin – particularly in areas that clients may not be able to see themselves,’ Andrea said.

Performing skin treatments everyday, including facials and microneedling, Andrea is up used to being up close to the skin, and says this additional training has made her more aware of what signs to look for. 

Certain things I am always looking out for are: ‘Lesions that are scaly, crust, bleed, or maybe heal then reappear. They can itch and be different sizes and shapes. 

‘Pearly or translucent nodules that can also be shades from pink to black, or scar like waxy patches with undefined borders are also something to look out for.’

While she also reveals that when it comes to moles its best to ‘remember your ABCDE’ – which includes looking at the asymmetry of them and also the colour.

‘By taking the time to swot up on skin surveillance and learn how to identify suspicious lesions, after undergoing this invaluable training, we’re perfectly placed to detect the early signs of skin cancer and advise clients to take action.’

What should we look for in moles? 

With moles remember your ABCDE

Asymmetry – when one half of the mole does not match the other half

Border – when the borders of the mole are irregular, ragged or blurred

Colour – when the colour of the mole changes or varies throughout/not uniform pigmentation

Diameter – when the diameter is greater than 6mm (but could be smaller)

Evolving – changes in the mole over variable time – weeks, months, or years


‘If you’re worried about your skin or someone has pointed out something that doesn’t look right, seek advice from your GP or a dermatologist straight away – early detection is key,’ Andrea says.

‘Checking your skin on a regular monthly basis is recommended and get a partner to check the areas you cannot see.

‘You’re looking for anything that doesn’t look ‘ right’ or changes that may have occurred, particularly with moles and pigmentation. Make a note of anything that you detect, take photos and measure to keep track.’

‘Recently I noticed an area of skin didn’t look quite right for one of my clients so I advised her to go and get it checked – it turned out to be pre-melanoma. 

‘Her dermatologist asked how she spotted it and after explaining her facialist had noticed it he remarked how lucky she was, as this could easily have turned into full blown skin cancer.’ 


Andrea says that when it comes to preventing skin cancer the first thing to avoid is sun beds: ‘I cannot stress this enough. The risk of skin cancer is dramatically increased, and the damage and risk increases with each and every use. 

‘Using geneo+ to assess, clean and treat my client’s skin I see right up close, and you can tell the women who used them as youngsters, some of which now have irreparable damage to their skin.

‘If you’re going on holiday avoid the sun between 11am-3pm, as this is when UV radiation is at its highest. Make a conscious effort not burn, regardless of your skin type. 

‘Burning can double the risk of skin cancer – scary but true. Wear a hat, sun shades and cover up. Don’t forget skiing too – the snow reflects the UV rays by up to 80% and the sun’s rays are much stronger at altitude and reapply just as you would at the beach.

‘Back in the UK, I always advise you wear a broad spectrum UVA/UVB of SPF 30+ and wear a separate SPF (that being separate to what is in your moisturiser and make up) every single day of the year – rain or shine – on your face. ‘


Rates of the deadliest form of skin cancer have soared by 45 per cent in ten years.

The jump of melanoma cancer has been recorded in all ages, rising from the eighth most common cancer in Britain to the fifth most common cancer.

It’s also the second most common cancer in young adults, with rates increasing by 70 per cent since in 25 to 49-year-olds since the 1990s. 

Cases of melanoma cancer have increased by more than a third for women and by 55 per cent in men from 2004-2006 to 2014-2016, according to the most recent figures available. 

Cancer Research UK found overall, there are now 26 cases per 100,000, compared to 17 cases per 100,000 in 2004.   

Experts at the charity said package holidays, which have become more popular since the 1970s, and cheap flights may be to blame, making it easier for people to bathe under intense sunshine.   

The rise of cheap flights means many people now go abroad, where they can be exposed to stronger sunshine, several times a year. 

Melanoma cancer can be prevented by wearing SPF protection, even in the less sunny months.

Source: Dailymail.

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