Washington: Apparently the trend of women skipping exercise to preserve their hairstyles is so extreme that the United States surgeon general issued a new message to American women: don't skimp on your health for your hair.

On August 25, a newspaper reported on Dr Regina M. Benjamin's comments when she spoke at Atlanta's trade fair Bronner Brothers International Hair Show, which draws some 60,000 hair stylists.

Benjamin cited that this is a particularly hot-button issue for black women, like herself, who sometimes invest considerable time and money into transforming naturally curly hair into silky manes. Sweat is a notorious killer of smooth hair.

"Oftentimes you get women saying, 'I can't exercise today because I don't want to sweat my hair back or get my hair wet,' " she told the newspaper. "When you're starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the hair is one of those reasons."

The news daily reports that Benjamin's mother was a hairstylist, and she has noted studies that have shown black men and women are more likely to visit a doctor when they talk about the health issues with their barbers and hairdressers.

"I hate to use the word 'excuse,' but that's one of them," said Benjamin. "We want to encourage people, and also give women the ability to look good and feel good and to be empowered about their own health."

(Agencies)