Even if you treat sun protection and skin cancer checks like a religion, we bet there’s one place you might be missing: under your fingernails.
As one heroic manicurist is speaking out about, there might be something sinister lurking under your sick nail art. As reported by The Sun, beauty salon worker Jean Skinner spotted a dark vertical line, not unlike a thin stripe of polish, running right down the center of her client’s thumb nail.
According to a Facebook post by Skinner, the woman asked for a polish dark enough to cover the annoying line, which other salons had told her was nothing to worry about — a lack of calcium or a harmless blood blister. Skinner recognized the line as a potential melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer.
This type of melanoma is rare but real, according to the Melanoma Research Foundation. Officially called a subungal melanoma, the cancerous streaks are a type of Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM). “ALM is often overlooked or mistaken, because it tends to appear like a dark spot, bruise or streak under the fingernail or toenail in its early stages,” according to the website. It occurs most often on the thumbnail or big toe.
This type of melanoma can also occur on the palms or soles of your feet where it can “look like a bruise or an irregular tan, brown or black spot,” according to the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Unfortunately, Skinner was right about her client’s suspicious stripe. According to her Facebook post, the woman called to tell the salon worker she had been right — the line was an aggressive melanoma that had already spread to her lymph nodes.
Listen up: Next time you get a mani or pedi, make sure to sneak a peek at your nails between polishes. If there are any discolorations — especially dark spots or stripes — see your dermatologist, STAT.