No one quite knows your head like your hairdresser does. And it just might save your life. According to a new study, your hairdresser — not your doctor — may be your best line of defense when it comes to checking for skin cancer.
Published in the journal Archives of Dermatology, researchers found that of the 203 hairdressers from 17 salons in a single chain in the Houston area that they surveyed, 37 percent said they looked at more than half of their customers' scalps for suspicious lesions in the last month. About 29 percent of hairdressers reported looking at more than half of their customers' necks, and 15 percent looked at more than half of their customers' faces. Furthermore, 58 percent of hairdressers said they had recommended at least once that a client see a health professional about a suspicious mole.
Although most hairdressers in the study had received no formal training on skin cancer, researchers say that training them to spot abnormal moles and lesions could be a natural way to help catch skin cancer early. Melanomas of the scalp and neck account for about 6 percent of all melanomas and about 10 percent of melanoma deaths in the U.S., according to WebMd.
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.