How Your Hair Stylist Could Help Save Your Life

Amanda Elser

Who knew that those fabulous head massages I get when I go to the salon are good for more than putting me to sleep?Research published Monday in theArchives of Dermatology suggests that hair stylists could play an important role in the health of their clients by spottingpotentially cancerous skin lesions on their clients’ scalp, neck and face.

NPR reported that in a survey conducted in the Houston area, 58 percent of hair stylists toldHarvard’s School of Public Health that they have at least once urged a client to get a mole checked out by a doctor.

Alan Geller, a senior lecturer at Harvard and study co-author, told NPR that it only makes sense to have hair professionals informally search their clients on a regular basis.”Almost every dermatologist I’ve talked to anecdotally has said to me, yes, I’ve had a melanoma case referred to me by a hair professional,” he said.

According to the article, even without training, many of the hair care workers were already performing their own exams. But according to Geller’ssurvey, 49 percent said they would be willing to receive more formal training.

Geller is now working with the Melanoma Foundation of New England to develop a statewideprogram to train hair professionals in Massachusetts on how to recognize potential signs of skin cancer.

We personally think there can be no harm in getting an extra pair of eyes to take a look around your scalp since over time this area probably receives the most exposure to the sun’s UV rays with minimal protection. But don’t take your hair stylist’s word for it. Make sure to go see your doctor since they are the real skin care experts.

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