How Can Haircuts Help Detect Cancer?

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Regular haircuts can help in detecting skin cancer.

Moms and dermatologists tend to be the most vocal when it comes to protecting your skin.

How often have you been told to wear sunscreen, a hat, or long-sleeve clothing to protect you from damaging UV rays from the sun?

How often did you listen?

Skin cancer is something most people hear about, but few people think will happen to them.

As I was in my “Wonder Bread Years,” preparation for summer fun and working outdoors required the following steps.

First, get a couple of sunburns.

Second, after the skin flaked off (I know, kinda gross), then you had a nice tan and were good to go.

That was it.

A few (well, more than a few) moons later, that does not seem like a very prudent approach.

But who knew?

According to a recent Livestrong article titled “Want to Age Well? Do This the Next Time You Get a Haircut,” skin cancer is fairly common.

Haircuts can be helpful prevention screenings.
Hairdressers and barbers spend their entire careers looking at necks, ears, and heads while giving haircuts.

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 1 in 5 Americans can expect to develop skin cancer at some point during their lives.

Some forms of this cancer are worse than others.

Melanoma is considered the deadliest type of skin cancer and has grown in prevalence in recent decades.

Early detection can protect against the spread of cancer cells in the body.


Treatments can be applied at earlier stages when the cells are localized in the skin.

Early interventions include prescription creams or minor skin surgery.

Getting regular haircuts can help in the early detection of skin cancer.

How so?

The scalp, ears, and neck are the places on the human body most exposed to sunlight.

As a result, the chances of skin cancer developing in these locations is high.

Unfortunately, these parts are also difficult for people to see themselves.

During haircuts, hairdressers and barbers focus their attention on these areas as they wash, cut, and dry hair.

They may notice when spots or moles look unusual or have changed.

Although your hairdresser and barbers are not experts on skin and skin cancer, asking about whether they notice anything unusual at your haircuts could be an additional level of detection.

You should not rely solely on haircuts for your skin cancer prevention and screening.

You should wear protective clothing and sunscreen and have annual visits with your dermatologist to get your skin checked to promote better health and screen for skin cancer.

As for me, I have learned my lesson after two Mohs surgeries on my left ear.

Take it from me, prevention is much preferred over treatment.

Reference: Livestrong (June 25, 2023) “Want to Age Well? Do This the Next Time You Get a Haircut”

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