-*Whether you're thinning on top, completely bare on top or simply enjoy the low maintenance and striking looks of a shaved pate, bald men need to take just as much care of the skin of their bare scalps as the skin on the rest of their body, if not more. Scalp skin should be cleaned, moisturised and protected with the same care and attention you give to the skin on your face, but protecting your dome doesn't stop there.
Skin cancers are just as likely to occur on the top of the head as they are on the arms, legs or any other part of the body, and without the protection of a thick head of hair between your scalp and the sun, bald men can be at particular risk of developing skin cancers there. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these cancers from forming and methods by which the early signs of scalp skin cancers can be detected before they pose a serious threat.
How can skin cancer be detected on a bald scalp?
The early signs of skin cancer on the scalp look more or less the same as they do when they occur on any other part of the body, but detecting them can be difficult given the somewhat awkward location. A number of different types of skin cancer can occur on the scalp, ranging from squamous cell carcinomas (which tend to manifest as irregular, discoloured lesions) to basal cell carcinomas (which often resemble ordinary pimples). The dreaded melanomas can also occur on the scalp, but are less common so don't just keep an eye out for moles when checking your scalp for signs of cancer.
As a general rule, men with thinning or absent hair should check all over their scalps for any irregularities at least once a month. Having your partner or a close friend do the inspection for you can make it a lot easier to check less visible areas such as the top of the head and behind the ears, especially if you still have some hair on top. However, the best way to ensure your scalp is thoroughly checked is to have it inspected by a trained professional, either at your GPs office or a dedicated skin cancer checking service.
How can bald men help prevent skin cancers from occurring on their scalps?
The same rules that people with full heads of hair use to prevent skin cancers from occurring apply just as much to the shaven gent, and keeping sunscreen to hand at all times is particularly vital. The scalp is more exposed to sunlight than any other part of the body, so a strong sunscreen should be used whenever you intend to go out (even on cloudy days) and reapplied every couple of hours to ensure constant protection.
Hats are also a good way to protect your scalp from the deleterious effects of sunlight exposure. A standard baseball cap will give your scalp good protection, but may leave your ears and the back of your head and neck exposed. Wide brimmed hats provide more protection, especially if they are made from specialised UV-blocking fabrics.