We Are Sunshine

Smart Tan Clarifies Gray’s Anatomy Case

Friday, February 8th, 2008

TV Actor Dane’s Case Was Not Tanning Related

The tabloid media this week has super-hyped television actor Eric Dane’s removal of a lip lesion that doctors told Dane was a “malignant” skin cancer, adding confusion to misinformation campaigns waged by anti-sun profiteers, many of whom advertise skin care products in beauty and tabloid magazines.

Dane appeared on the cover of OK magazine this week under the banner headline, “My Fight Against Cancer.” Considering his lesion reportedly was removed with liquid nitrogen on an outpatient basis – a treatment reserved for curable, removable skin lesions – the headline was fairly dramatic.


Doctors burned off the sore with liquid nitrogen, Dane told OK magazine, and then followed up by prescribing a cream — a typical course of action for non-melanoma skin cancer or benign lesions called actinic karatoses. These lesions seldom if ever metastasize, but are more likely to spread if they occur on a mucous membrane or on the lips, which is rare.

Malignant skin lesions generally are surgically removed by most dermatologists. Further, a lip lesion is not tanning-related.

“Dane reported a lesion on his lip. Because lips don’t tan, the magazine would have been more accurate by pointing out that that this case has nothing to do with tanning,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “This is a nuance that the media really doesn’t understand. Lip protection is important because lips don’t tan. We teach that in professional tanning facilities today more effectively than anyone else.”

OK reported that Dane had a reaction to the cream prescribed by the dermatologist, also common in these cases. Because his lip was sore, OK magazine reported that Dane was “traumatized” because of the sore lip and “didn’t eat well for a couple of weeks and lost a bunch of weight.”

“Obviously, we wish Dane the best, but the point people should get from this coverage should be to protect your lips — not to avoid sun exposure,” Levy said.

Click here to visit for more information.

Click here to read OK magazine’s coverage.