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Cancer of the skin remains the most common form of cancer in the US.1 Moreover, most people do not apply sufficient sunscreen to achieve adequate protection.2 On March 30, 2021, actress Gwyneth Paltrow shared her skincare routine in a video on the Vogue channel on The actress said she applied sunscreen primarily to her nose, leaving most of her face and neck unprotected. “I like to put some…on my nose and the area where the sun really hits [rather than all over],” said Ms. Paltrow in the video.4 Soon after it posted, the video received criticism from dermatologists due to its depiction of inadequate application and distribution of sunscreen.2

According to Instagram, Ms. Paltrow’s account has 7.5 million followers5 and the Vogue channel on has 9.54 million subscribers.3 As of this writing, the video has been watched 854,954 times.3 Ms. Paltrow’s online demonstration of ineffective sunscreen application serves as an example of the potential influence of celebrities on health outcomes, particularly during a time when Americans are increasingly relying on the internet for health information.6

But, celebrities can also increase awareness of skin cancer and its treatment. In fact, this phenomenon has been described as the “Hugh Jackman Effect,” because of increased internet searches about basal cell carcinoma after the actor used Instagram to announce his excision surgeries and was subsequently interviewed on the topic by People magazine.7,8

What can we learn from these most recent examples of celebrity involvement as it affects skincare? Celebrities can raise awareness of dermatological conditions. However, miscommunications and misinformation can also happen. Dermatologists can use social media, news media (local and nationa/global, like the Associated Press), and the scientific literature to clarify misinformation and reassure the public. Skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, may require surgical excision. For those who inadequately apply sunscreen and think, “It’s no skin off my nose,” one day, it very well might be!

1. Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed April 4, 2021.

2. Differy BL. Sunscreens, suntans and skin cancer. People do not apply enough sunscreen for protection. BMJ 1996;313(7062):942.

3. Vogue. “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Guide to Everyday Skin Care and Wellness.” YouTube video, 11:57. March 30, 2021.

4. Blanton K. Why Dermatologists Are Horrified by the Way Gwyneth Paltrow Applies Sunscreen. 2021. Available from: Accessed April 4, 2021.

5. Gwyneth Paltrow [@gwynethpaltrow]. (2021, May 16). Guys most of my favorite GOOP… [Photograph]. Retrieved from

6. Jacobs W, Amuta AO, Jeon KC. Health information seeking in the digital age: an analysis of health information seeking behavior among US adults. Cogent Social Sciences 2017;3(1).

7. The Hugh Jackman Effect-The Impact of Celebrity Health Disclosure on Skin Cancer Awareness. Dermatol Surg 2018;44(7):1039-1040.

8. McNeil L. Hugh Jackman: The Moment I was Told I Had Skin Cancer: People. 2015. Accessed April 4, 2021.

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