Redheads Have a Higher Risk of Skin Cancer

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Fair-skinned people, particularly those with red hair, are known to be more at risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetime. But it turns out that there’s more to this risk than just having fair skin.

A study recently published in Nature reveals that the pigment melanin that gives people their red hair and freckles is actually different than what those with darker skin have. And it’s this pigment in redheads that increases the risk of cancer and melanoma. 

What’s more, sunlight wasn’t needed to cause cancers to develop. Researchers were surprised to find that half of the redheaded mice developed melanoma before they were exposed to UV light. That means that the pigment causes cancer on its own. Researchers say that the reason for this could be the way the pigments are produced. 

While this may sound frightening, experts still say that UV exposure is still the leading cause of skin cancer and melanoma. That’s why it’s always important to protect yourself from UV radiation and be sure to get regular skin checks with your dermatologist. Watch the stories of these skin cancer survivors to learn more about how you can lower your risk.