Esthetician's Guide to Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma

This condition appears in the ASCP SkinPro app


The most common type of skin cancer, caused almost exclusively by cumulative sun exposure or overexposure resulting in damage to the skin.


  • There are four different forms: Nodular, pigmented, superficial, and scarring.
  • The most common, nodular, appears as a pearl-like nodule.
  • If the same crusty or scaly area comes and goes, this may be indicative of a potential basal cell carcinoma or actinic keratosis.

This slow-growing cancer is curable in most cases, and rarely metastasizes (spreads beyond the skin). However, if not detected and treated, they can destroy skin tissue and result in scarring.

The most common skin types for this cancer are Fitzpatrick I and II. These carcinomas are most commonly seen on sun-damaged skin with multiple solar freckles, rough textured surface, and often with actinic keratoses.

There are four different forms. The most common is nodular-- It appears as a pearl-like nodule, often with a telangiectasia within it. As they advance, they often form a depressed center and may crust over. The second form, pigmented, appears as a shiny, blue-black nodule. The superficial basal cell carcinoma presents as a scaly red patch and may have a depressed center area. And the fourth form, scarring, resembles a crusty-looking scar and often has a depressed center as well. This form is the most aggressive type and is also the least common.

Treatment Considerations

  • Refer the skin care client to their dermatologist immediately.
  • Proceed with routine facial procedures and esthetic treatment for photoaging with contraindications in mind.
  • Moisturizing and soothing treatments may help the skin feel and look better, but will not replace dermatological treatment.

ASCP Members can access SkinPro to continue reading about basal cell carcinoma.

Not yet an ASCP member? Join ASCP and get ASCP SkinPro, ASCP Career Toolkits, ASCP Skin Deep magazine, and the best professional liability insurance in the profession!

SkinPro App

ASCP SkinPro

Introducing our newest resource for estheticians, ASCP SkinPro—a web app that can easily be saved to your mobile device!

Included with ASCP membership, ASCP SkinPro is designed to aid in skin analysis by putting the essential knowledge of contraindications for common skin-related conditions and ingredients at your fingertips. Members can log in for access or go directly to the app.

Picture this: You’re in the treatment room and a client tells you they have atopic dermatitis and several allergies. You’re pretty confident you know how to proceed with treatment, but you want to be absolutely sure. Simply open the app, search for the condition, and you’ve got expert information at your fingertips. You can also use ASCP SkinPro to look up ingredients quickly and easily, identifying important contraindications and best practices so you can adjust your treatment plan on the spot.

Consult with ASCP SkinPro with confidence and elevate your treatment plans. The ASCP team sourced information from a variety of clinical journals and worked with Dr. Mark Lees, author of Skin Care: Beyond the Basics and a longtime contributor to ASCP Skin Deep magazine, to bring it all together.


  • During consultation: Your client mentions a condition or ingredient allergy during the intake process and want to contraindications.
  • During skin analysis: You observe a skin condition and want to make a quick decision about the best treatment.
  • While retailing: You’re about to recommend a product for your client, but you want to confirm the contraindications and ensure the product will perform as needed. 


ASCP SkinPro uses progressive web app technology so you can save it to your phone, mobile device, or computer like an app, but it won't take up too much space. The app can recognize the device that you're using, and the instructions provided will match that device. For example, if you want to save ASCP SkinPro to your phone, log in with your phone and follow the instructions provided. Click here for instructions.

Already an ASCP member? Take a few minutes to try ASCP SkinPro here and discover your new go-to consultant!

Not yet an ASCP member? Join ASCP and get ASCP SkinPro, ASCP Career Toolkits, ASCP Skin Deep magazine, and the best professional liability insurance in the profession!

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