A beauty expert to the stars was left devastated after she was diagnosed with skin cancer because she “missed one tiny bit” while applying sun cream to her face.
Jo-anne Jewett, 57, who counts Princess Diana and Madonna among her previous clients, discovered she had the illness after spending a year in Corfu.
When she returned to the UK, she was stunned to find she had the illness because she hadn’t correctly applied sunblock under her eyes while sunbathing.
Dangerous UV rays from the sun had managed to penetrate her sunglasses through to a small patch of unprotected skin around her eye.
The mum-of-two said: “My skin cancer was a gift from Corfu. I lived there for a year and sat on the beach writing a book.
“I’d put some very expensive eye cream around my eyes thinking it had an SPF factor, but it didn’t. I’d missed one bit.
“I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been – me – someone who prides herself on knowing how to look after her skin.
“I wore ordinary varifocals, not sunglasses, so the sunlight went straight through to the unprotected skin around my eye – where I’d put eye cream instead of sun block.
“My consultant said that the varifocals acted like a magnifying glass, increasing the intensity of the rays.”
Unaware of her mistake, she didn’t recognise the warning signs, and visited her GP for another matter in August last year.
Jo-anne, who lives with husband Richard, 61 in Parwich, Derbys., and has two children Shannon, 20, and Cameron, 28, was told she had contracted melanoma.
She added: “I went to my GP about something completely unrelated. He said ‘never mind that, what’s that under your eye?’
“I’d had it for two years and it kept getting bigger and bigger but I ignored it.
“It’s horrific when I think about it now. I am normally over the top with skin care. Cancer is sly and clever. I thought it was an innocent white head.
“Skin cancer is hard to detect, it killed a very good friend of mine and also took the life of Colin Bloomfield, a lovely man and presenter on Radio Derby who interviewed me.
“I was worried I would end up with a lop-sided eye and a scar. It frightened the life out of me. But it’s amazing. I look better than I did before.
“Mind you, I did tell the surgeon I wanted to look like Madonna, who’s the same age as me.”
Jo-anne had the growth removed and received plastic surgery and has since been given the all clear.
She hopes her story will inspire others to take extra care in the sun.
She added: “Skin care is absolutely essential and you should always make sure your cream has an SPF factor.
“I covered my face with total sunblock because I am fair skinned but decided to put very expensive anti-wrinkle cream just under my eyes.
“It didn’t protect me at all. I feel quite angry with the cosmetic company.
“Considering it’s my profession, I know it was really silly not to check but I think all face creams should have an SPF factor.”
Jo-anne teaches make-up techniques, beauty tips and tricks to help women look more youthful.
She added: “My mother always used to say, when you get over 50 things start to drop off. I never knew what she meant, but I do now.
“It’s a testing time and it’s made me more aware of how people feel when illness knocks them off their feet. My skin cancer has given me a new empathy.
“I taught Lady Di her how to do her engagement make-up. I still think she went a little heavy on the mascara, though.
“I had to talk her out of blue eye shadow. I did suggest that a little blue pencil under the eye would be all right.”
Jo-anne, who has also given Madonna a makeover, said: “She was in her 20s when we met, very much a pop star as opposed to the icon she is today.
“The main thing I remember is that she had a problem understanding my accent and laughed loudly at some of my sayings, like ‘wye aye’ instead of ‘yes’.
“She was already good with make-up but was open to new ideas and wanted a natural look for everyday wear.”
Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesman, said: “Jo-anne’s skin cancer was likely a result of direct UV damage from the sun and a lack of protection around her eyes.
“UVA still penetrates glass. The delicate skin around the eyes needs protection from UV just as the rest of the body.
“It is therefore worth investing in a good pair of sunglasses and using skin products made for this area with SPF.”