Very often we see or hear media advising us to protect our skin from harmful UV radiation, especially in the summer months, however, if you have red hair or you know someone with red hair, you must make a more conscious effort to protect your skin in these coming months (Southern Hemisphere) when the suns UV rays are at their strongest.
For many years we have known people with red hair and fair skin have the highest risk of developing melanoma than any other skin type.
There are two types of melanin; dark brown/black: Eumelanin and red brown: Pheomelanin. Individuals with blonde, red hair and fair skin predominantly will produce pheomelanin and when exposed to the suns rays, this is evident as freckles and pigmentation and are at high risk of developing Malignant Melanoma. Even areas not exposed to sunlight are at risk of developing melanoma!
Sunscreens play a role in protecting some forms of UV damage such as sunburn, but there have now been studies that suggest they may not be as effective against the protection of developing melanomas or other types of skin cancers in people with red hair genes.
Studies have shown that individuals with red hair genes developed skin cancers even when not exposed to UV radiation. As this gene controls many other cellular activities beyond pigmentation production scientists suspect the the red pigment may be chemically related to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). High levels of DNA damage produced by ROS supports the theory of oxidative damage as a mechanism behind the higher risk incidence of melanoma formation in red heads. Due to this oxidation process, it can also be assumed that individuals with the red head gene, may have evidence of accelerated ageing with their skin.
With this in mind, using skin care preparations containing high doses of Antioxidants will be necessary to reduce the amount of DNA damage caused by ROS. Of course using effective broad spectrum sunscreen when exposed to daylight is also a must and goes without saying.
Do you have red hair? Do you use skin care products containing antioxidants? I would love to hear what you have discovered or would you like further information? ………….. I look forward to hearing from you. DCC