You may love heading to the hair salon to get pampered and chat with your stylist for an hour or two. However, did you know that your hairdresser also plays a critical role in your health? It turns out that your stylist is often the only person taking a closer look at your head — and he or she may even be the first to spot possible skin cancer on your scalp.
A woman named Caitlin Jones learned how important that regular trip to the salon is after her husband, who’s taller than she is, noticed a strange mole on her scalp one day that looked abnormally big. Jones realized she hadn’t recently seen a hairdresser, who probably would’ve flagged that the bump had grown significantly in just a few short months. After heeding her husband’s warning and seeing her dermatologist, Jones learned that the growing bump on her head was melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer, and underwent treatment.
Luckily, Jones’s surgery was successful and she’s on the way to recovery, but her story is an important reminder during the sunny spring and summer months to take precautions when it comes to taking care of your skin, like wearing and re-applying sunscreen and a hat to protect against UV radiation. In particular, we all have a tendency to forget that places on our bodies like our scalps and ears can get burned. Considering that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and that roughly 20 percent of Americans will have some form of it before the age of 70, it never hurts to make that extra effort.
Additionally, if someone like a hairdresser hasn’t looked at your scalp recently in the pandemic, it may be a good idea to do a scalp self-check to make sure you’re not missing anything. You can enlist a friend or family member to help inspect the areas you can’t easily see. Or, if you have a dermatologist and already have an appointment, make sure your scalp is a part of that skin exam. While you don’t need to be looking for signs of skin cancer on your scalp every morning, keeping track of any abnormalities every few months can make a big difference if you need to flag something down the line.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.