Heroic Manicurist Noticed That a Black Line on Client's Nail Was Rare Type of Skin Cancer

manicurist working

You probably know by now that skin cancer is becoming more and more serious, as one in five Americans will develop it in his or her lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, the number of skin cancer diagnoses continues to rise, outpacing all other cancers. So you follow the precautions: You go to the beach and slather on sunscreen. You routinely check everyone's bodies for strange moles. Heck, you might also make sure your face cream has SPF in it. But a sobering Facebook post by a UK-based manicurist is becoming a cautionary tale of skin cancer.


A woman walked into Jean Skinner's nail salon asking her for a dark nail color to cover a "straight dark vertical stripe down her nail," according to the Facebook post.

black line on nail skin cancer
Jean Skinner/Facebook

Other manicurists had called the stripe various things, such as a blood blister, and said it was hereditary or even from a lack of calcium.

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But Skinner recognized the nail condition as something far more serious: skin cancer. "I did not want to frighten her but I told her she needed to see the doctor immediately!" 

Skinner turned out to be right, and the woman was diagnosed with "a very aggressive melanoma that has already spread to her lymph nodes!"

According to Allure, this woman's type of melanoma, called acral lentiginous melanoma, is a real thing, but rare. It can be hard to notice because it just looks like a bruise under your toenail or fingernail -- most likely on your thumb or big toe. 

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"Please pay attention to abnormalities in your nail beds!!" Skinner warned. "Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about! But sometimes it is an indication of a very serious disease." She added, "Early diagnosis can make all the difference int he world!"

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