Take caution redheads: Study shows skin cancer risks even without the sun

November 20, 2012

Medical experts have long claimed that redheads were at a greater risk for skin cancer than other skin types. Their fair skin is thought to provide less natural protection against UV rays from the sun. A recent study with mice shows that redheads may be at risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, even when covered up from the sun. While studying two groups of mice with different pigment-producing genes – one with a dark-colored pigment, and the other with a red-hair pigment – the researchers found redheaded mice had developed melanoma before they were ever exposed to UV radiation. This result suggests that the genes found in pigments that cause red hair and fair skin could be a culprit in causing melanoma. The scientists urge redheads to be particularly careful about checking their skin, continue protective measures against UV rays and remember that skin cancer is preventable if detected early.

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