Skin cancer is no fun, and unfortunately, I have quite a history with skin cancers. When I was young, I used to lay out for hours on end, slathered in baby oil and on a silver blanket. Despite having red hair and being fair-skinned, I was convinced I could get tan. The reality is that I burned time and time again to the point of blistering.
I have had 7 skin cancers (one squamous cell on my lower lip and 6 basal cell skin cancers). I see a dermatologist in Woodbury, Minnesota every 6 months for a full-body check. I have often felt like a petri-dish with getting skin and moles cut out for biopsies, or frozen off. When I have a “suspicious” spot he often takes a picture of it, and then we compare it at my next check-up.
Three years ago I had a suspicious spot on my lower left leg, which he photographed. I asked him what he thought about me using Frankincense Essential Oil on the mole, and his response surprised me. He said, “that’s Phooey. You are the third person to ask me about Frankincense in the last couple of months, and I don’t believe there is research to support it’s use”. Despite this, I went home and began “frankincensing” this mole on my leg twice a day.
Six months later, I returned for my bi-annual skin-cancer screening. My dermatologist compared my mole to the picture from the previous visit, and was shocked. He asked what I had been doing, and told me he was no longer concerned with that mole. The dark spot in the center of the mole was no longer there. I replied that despite him telling me not to, I had used a rollerball of Frankincense diluted with fractionated coconut oil twice/day on that spot. He replied, “I have changed my tune on that. While I’m not advocating for the use of Frankincense, if I were you, I would keep ‘Frankinsteining’ your leg.” It was the day before Halloween, so the Frankenstein reference was quite clever!
Natural Remedies For Skin Cancer Prevention
In the three years since this, I have not had another occurrence of skin cancer. My daily protocol for prevention is to drink two drops of Lemon Essential Oil and one drop of Frankincense Essential Oil in my water twice daily. I have a rollerball of Frankincense that I apply to any areas of concern daily after my shower. I make my own sunscreen using natural products of Shea Butter, Zinc Oxide, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera and Helichrysum Essential Oil. My homemade sunscreen is not water or sweat proof, so I purchase a natural sunscreen through Beauty Counter that I use for swimming or long periods of sun exposure. I also wear clothing that has sunscreen in the material when hiking or golfing.
Nutrition is the foundation for good health, and I also consume a diet of healthy fats and leafy green vegetables, which has some research that it can help to prevent sunburn. Optimizing your Vitamin D levels also has research on being beneficial for preventing skin cancer. Many experts recommend exposing your skin to the sun for 10-20 minutes/day (making sure to avoid burning) before applying sunscreen to get your Vitamin D and/or supplementing with a quality Vitamin D supplement.
Skin Cancer Research
Would I ever say that people should use essential oils to treat skin cancer? Of course not! My dermatologist has done a great job of taking care of me, and I like that he did research on Frankincense after I asked about using it preventatively. There is encouraging research on Frankincense promoting healthy cells, and I like having something I can use at home between dermatologist visits. You can go to the government’s website www.pubmed.gov and type “Frankincense And Skin Cancer” in the search bar to find studies that the government has on this subject.
I hope that my story inspires you to take care of your skin by getting regular check-ups with a dermatologist, and also exploring some natural options with essential oils and nutrition to support healthy cells and healthy skin. Being sensible in the sun is also something I would encourage for everyone, and I love the newer option of sunscreen clothing. I hope and pray my days of skin cancer are over, and I wish the same for all of you!
If you have a natural remedy you like for preventing sun burns and skin cancers, please share in the comments below!