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Can Your Hair Color Predict Skin Cancer?

Posted May 07 2009 9:24pm

Mid Brain muses: my_favorite_brunette

Blondes allegedly have more fun but brunettes are healthier because their darker coloration protects them from getting skin cancer, right?

Sun tan and skin cancer

Wrong. According to a report at Science Daily new genetic research indicates that hair color is NOT a good predictor of skin cancer.  Historically scientists thought that certain characteristics associated with having dark hair (dark eye color, not prone to freckles, tanning after repeated sun exposure or tanning without burning meant that you were less likely to develop melanoma. But now they’ve found that regardless of hair color, people with certain MC1R gene variants have a more than two-fold risk of melanoma.  Science Daily says: “Traditionally, a clinician might look at a person with dark hair who did not sunburn easily and classify them as lower risk for melanoma, but that may not be true for all people in the population.”

Unfortunately, as of now, there is no simple screening test for the MC1R gene.  But if one is developed it could be a powerful tool in the battle against melanoma.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

I was suprised to read this study because I thought increased risk of skin cancer could have explained the report from the World Health Organization that predicts that blondes will become extinct within 200 years.

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