Types of facial skin cancers 

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

BCC is the most common type of skin cancer that occurs on the face. It often appears as a pearly or flesh-colored bump, a pinkish patch, or a sore that does not heal.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

SCC can develop on the face, especially in areas exposed to the sun. It often presents as a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly crust.


Although less common than BCC and SCC, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can occur on the face, often appearing as a dark, irregularly shaped mole.

What causes skin cancer?

Facial skin cancer is primarily caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning beds. UV radiation damages the DNA in skin cells, leading to mutations that can result in the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells. While anyone can develop skin cancer, certain factors increase the risk of its occurrence:

  • Sun exposure: Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays is the most significant risk factor for facial skin cancer. This risk is higher for individuals with fair skin, light-colored eyes, and a history of severe sunburns.
  • Age: The risk of skin cancer, including facial skin cancer, increases with age due to accumulated sun exposure.
  • Personal and family history: Individuals with a history of skin cancer or a family history of the disease have an increased risk of developing facial skin cancer.
  • Immune suppression: People with weakened immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients or those with certain medical conditions, have a higher risk of skin cancer.
  • Exposure to radiation: Prior radiation treatments may increase the risk of skin cancer.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental toxins and chemicals can contribute to the development of facial skin cancer in some cases.
  • Tanning beds: The use of tanning beds and sunlamps exposes the skin to high levels of UV radiation, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Regular skin checks are crucial for early detection and prompt treatment of any suspicious skin lesions, reducing the risk of facial skin cancer progression and complications. If you notice any changes in the appearance of the facial skin or moles, seek medical attention for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Skin CancerBefore & After

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Surgery for facial skin cancers

When skin cancer is detected on the face, surgical removal with an immediate examination of each layer under a microscope increases the chance of cure without the need for revision surgery. This process ensures that the cancer is entirely removed while sparing the maximum amount of healthy tissue, which is critical in preserving facial appearance and function. Dr. Brace offers frozen section margin analysis through his partnership with the pathology department at Guelph General Hospital to facilitate expedited care and immediate results to ensure complete excision of the facial tumour.

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Scar revision after treatment for facial skin cancers

After skin cancer removal, it is essential to address any resulting scars to achieve the best possible aesthetic outcome. At Guelph Facial Plastics, we specialize in scar revision techniques to minimize the appearance of scars and improve their overall texture and color. Depending on the type and extent of the scar, various methods, such as surgical excision, fat grafting, skin grafts, laser resurfacing, and dermal fillers.

Skin grafting

Skin grafting

Skin grafting is a restorative procedure that can improve the appearance of damaged facial skin caused by skin cancer, burns, or other conditions. Skin grafting is achieved by extracting healthy skin layers from another body area, the "donor site," and transplanting them to where cancerous skin cells were removed. There are two primary types of skin grafts: split skin and full-thickness skin grafts.

Split skin grafts

Split skin grafts involve removing a thin layer of skin from the donor site, typically the thigh or buttocks, and transplanting it onto the affected area. This type of graft can cover a larger surface area and heal faster than full-thickness skin grafts. However, it may not be suitable for areas where cosmetic appearance is essential, as it can result in a more noticeable scar.

Full-thickness skin grafts

Full-thickness skin grafts involve removing the entire skin thickness from the donor site, usually the neck or behind the ear, and transplanting it onto the affected area. This type of graft is ideal for areas where cosmetic appearance is of high concern, as it results in a more natural look and less noticeable scarring. However, it may not be suitable for larger surface areas as it requires a more extensive donor site.

Our approach to facial skin cancer care

At Guelph Facial Plastics, we prioritize patient care, safety, and the preservation of the most natural-looking facial aesthetics.

Dr. Brace, a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, delivers personalized, compassionate care. With extensive experience in Mohs surgery reconstruction and scar revision, Dr. Brace provides comprehensive care for skin cancer patients, addressing medical and cosmetic concerns.

If you or a loved one are dealing with facial skin cancer, a referral to Dr. Brace by your GP or specialist is required to schedule a consultation. Our commitment to excellence extends to every step of your journey, from diagnosis and treatment to postoperative recovery and scar management. Our goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome, with minimal scarring and restoration of the most natural facial appearance and function, so you can regain your confidence and enjoy an improved quality of life.

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