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Nov 01

Studies Show Redheads at Greater Risk of Developing Melanoma

It is no secret that people with red hair are more susceptible to sun burns due to their fair skin. Researchers know that red haired people have less black-brown melanin, called eumelanin, and more of the red-yellow form called pheomelanin. Pheomelanin is less effective at blocking ultraviolet rays and therefore red heads are at higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Now research with mice suggests that red hair people are not only susceptible to skin cancer with sun exposure, but also without. In the study, mice with high levels of pheomelanin were more susceptible to melanoma, even in the absence of UV light. The research hints that pheomelanin production or pheomelanin iteself somehow contributes to skin cancer susceptibility.

Sun exposure is still a huge risk factor for all skin tones in developing skin cancer and SPF lotions are a must in prevention. However, this study suggests that oral antioxidants and other treatments that work internally may be just as important.
For more information on skin cancer please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website.
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