Dermatologists believe Justin Bieber's yesteryear bangs hair style can help prevent skin cancer and save lives, and say teens with bangs develop less freckles on their forehead — which is known to sometimes be an early sign of skin damage and a risk factor for skin cancer.
Remember Justin Bieber's swept bangs known as "The Biebs"? Because dermatologists do.
While opinion on the singer's current antics and his style polarizes between adoring to hate, Bieber's back in the day bangs are cited in a new research paper in the July 2014 issue of JAMA Pediatrics - (the Journal of the American Medical Association) as a preventer of skin cancer that can save lives.
So say doctors at the Johns Hopkins Division of Pediatric Dermatology.
In the study - in which dozens of patients were examined - Drs. Bernard Cohen and Crystal Agi found that teens with the bowl cut and bangs hairstyle of the 2009-10 Bieber were more protected from the sun. This resulted in less freckles on their foreheads and paler skin than teenagers who didn't.
Such freckles can be signs of skin damage and a doorway to skin cancer. Not always, but freckling is linked to melanoma in adults.
In their "The Big Bang Theory: Adolescent Hairstyles and Sun Protection" paper, Cohen and Agi write:
"For the past few years, we have embraced this hairstyle in our teenage patient population to encourage discussion of sun protective measures. 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."They add:
"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."The New York Daily News notes Biebs sang about his famous hairstyle in a 2010 rap and called out the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for imitating his bangs look.
"Call up Mr. Brady, tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings 'Baby,'" kid Bieber rapped.
In February 2011, the then 16-year-old Justin decided to give his bangs the heave-ho. That potentially grave decision -- based on the skin-cancer preventing paper -- was filmed and makes for poignant viewing in light of all that was to come.
But even though Bieber has evidently moved on to a less full hairstyle, model girlfriends and lamentable ideas on "Things to do with eggs," Dr. Cohen is keen for doctors use Justin as an example when consulting and treating patients.
"This is a cool way for pediatricians to open conversations with kids about sun protection," Dr. Cohen told The News, which notes he has 33 and 30 years experience in pediatrics and dermatology respectively.
The News spoke to two 13-year-olds who had a dim view of Bieber both as a role model and someone who can save lives.
But perhaps other teenagers, their parents and doctors will be able to look past the singer's recent follies and embrace "The Biebs" hair for its anti-skin cancer potential -- if nothing else.