It’s not something you can do alone, but make an appointment to have your dermatologist look at your scalp. Why? A study from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine showed that melanomas, a particularly deadly form of skin cancer, are almost twice as lethal when found on the scalp or neck than when they are found on any other part of the body.
“These areas are hidden by hair and the skin cancer is not easily seen,” says dermatologist Dr. Stacy Salob, clinical assistant professor at Cornell University Medical Center and NY Presbyterian Hospital. If you can’t get to the dermatologist immediately, have your hairdresser check your scalp. Salob says research has shown that about 50 percent of melanomas are discovered by hairdressers.
Also, if you’re a man over 50, make sure to use sunscreen and wear a hat to protect your scalp. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 39 percent of men older than 50 still believe being in the sun is good for them and they don’t protect themselves from ultraviolet rays. But men over 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma than younger men, so be sure to slather on the sunscreen before you head out with your head out. Or, wear a hat.
“Hats are perfect — they provide not just complete protection for the entire scalp, but also shade for the face and, if it is a wide brim hat, the ears, and back and sides of neck,” Salob adds.