Superstar Justin Bieber has saved lives just by blocking the sun; the youthful hairstyle once popularized by the Canadian-born singer sweeps the forehead with long bangs. Among adolescents sporting the hairstyle, fewer freckles — a sign of future skin cancer risk — were counted by dermatologists in a recent study.
They’re calling it the “New Big Bang Theory.” By covering the face during youthful exposure to the sun, adolescents may lower their long-term risk of developing deadly skin cancer as they age, wrote Crystal Agi and Bernard Cohen in an editorial this month in JAMA Pediatrics. “For the past few years, we have embraced this hairstyle in our teenage patient population to encourage discussion of sun protective measures,” they wrote. “It is believed that the majority of an individual’s lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood and adolescence, making diligent sun protection during these years critical.”
Scientists believe freckles, while not posing a direct health threat, are somehow associated with melanoma in adults. “Those of us who care for children and adolescents should not overlook the influence of a celebrity model even if the big bangs disappear as hairstyles evolve,” they wrote. “This is a cool way for pediatricians to open conversations with kids about sun protection.”
Still, some kids aren’t buying Bieber’s hype. “I wouldn’t care if a doctor told me about his hair,” Ambrie Rodriguez, 13, of New York City, told the NY Daily News. “I don’t like him. He’s not a role model.” Likewise, 13-year-old Vivian Zhen, also of New York City, denied any affinity for the popstar. “His hair won’t help others — he only does things for attention.”
Several years ago, Bieber even rapped about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for emulating the sweeping hairstyle, closely guarding his signature coiffe. Yet, this week, the singer’s spokesman declined to comment on the JAMA editorial, leaving others to wonder whether clinicians should even broach the subject of the Bieb. Might the same effect be achieved with a hat? Pediatricians throughout New England should take note: Tom Brady wears hats.
Source: Agi, Crystal, Cohen, Bernard. The Big Bang Theory: Adolescent Hairstlyes and Sun Protection. JAMA Pediatrics. 2014.