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Hugh Jackman’s latest beach selfie isn’t the kind of sexy, shirtless snap you’d expect. Instead, he’s proving he takes skin cancer prevention seriously by covering up from head to toe.
In the Instagram post, captioned “Paradise. #springbreak,” the 49-year-old actor can be seen wearing a straw hat and long-sleeve rash guard in a glittering, tropical locale that’s giving us major vacation envy. And although the picture might make him look more like your friend’s hot dad than an A-list Adonis, it’s clear Jackman is taking the appropriate measures to protect his skin.
Jackman has good reason to take sun protection seriously — the 49-year-old has battled skin cancer six times and kept his followers in the loop throughout. “Another basal cell carcinoma,” he captioned a 2017 post-operative photo. “Thanks to frequent body checks and amazing doctors, all is well. Looks worse with the dressing on than off. I swear! #wearsunscreen.”
Though the name sounds ominous, basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, found in the deepest layer of the epidermis, which is actually just the top layer of skin. It’s rare for basal cell cancer to spread to other parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society, but it can grow into nearby tissue if left untreated.
Fortunately for Jackman, his makeup artist spotted some blood on his nose during filming of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and encouraged him to get it checked out by a doctor. And catching it early meant he was able to make a full recovery.
People who have already had basal cell carcinoma are more likely than others to get it again, so Jackman is doing the right thing by covering up. What’s more, he’s using his social media platform to educate people about skin cancer prevention, which kind of makes him a real-life superhero.
For example, after his fifth basal cell carcinoma removal, Jackman urged his followers to wear sunscreen and go to the doctor’s office if they suspect anything weird going on with their skin: “An example of what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen. Basal Cell. The mildest form of cancer but serious, nonetheless. PLEASE USE SUNSCREEN and get regular checkups,” he said.
Using sunscreen to protect yourself from severe sunburn is crucial to keeping your risk for developing skin cancer low. But not all sunscreens are created equal. In 2017, the Environmental Working Group found that nearly 70 percent of the sunscreens they tested were either unsafe, ineffective or both. To find the best way to protect yourself, check out our list of the 31 safest sunscreens and three you’re better off avoiding.
While it’s never easy to learn that you have cancer, Jackman proves that early detection can really make a difference when it comes to recovery and staying healthy. What’s more, seeing him walk the walk on social media and actually take precautions to prevent another cancer scare is an incredible way to stay motivated to do the same.
Read more: How 13 Celebrity Couples Keep Their Relationships Healthy
What Do YOU Think?
Do you do anything, either every day or before you’re about to spend a lot of time in the sun, to protect your skin? Do you get regular checkups? Has Jackman’s post inspired you to take action? Share in the comments section!