How to avoid nasty Chiskop skin ailments

By Drum Digital
14 November 2013

A new University of Cape Town study is advising fans of the "chrome-dome" or "chiskop" haircut to take their own clippers when they next go to the barber.

UCT's head of dermatology Professor Nonhlanhla Khumalo told TimesLive that barbers who fail to properly sterilise their equipment could leave their clients not only with a "chiskop" but some rather nasty skin ailments.

She conducted two studies on the health risks of the "chiskop" - a style often favoured by black men.

The close shave can often leave irregular, raised scars - or keloids - on the back of the head.

The study was conducted in Cape Town's Langa township.

"A question directed to the last 170 participants in that study revealed that 32% of the participants had a history of haircut-associated bleeding and the prevalence of keloids was 10.5%," said Khumalo.

And while there appeared to be little risk of getting HIV, the hairstyle increased the risk of bleeding even among those with healthy scalps.

"The risk of transmission of blood-borne infection via haircuts is likely to be low, but requires formal quantification," said Khumalo.

The second study also found that invisible bleeding from such close shaves was also common.

"The simple message is: if you wear a chiskop haircut, make sure your barber uses a steriliser or clearly labelled antiviral spray on clippers; methylated spirits are not enough.

"Otherwise take your own clipper for him to use," said Khumalo.



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