I absolutely love being a redhead. It wasn’t always this way, and I was often made fun of in school. After a few years of being dragged down, and often considering dying my hair, I realized I was being ridiculous. It is an honor and privilege to be a redhead, and I am one of the 2% of the population that gets to say that. I now couldn’t imagine dying my hair, and fully embrace my red locks.
But being a redhead has its downsides.
While the scrutiny can often weigh redheads down, it was my dermatologist who really shocked me. During an appointment last week, he walked in, took one look at me and immediately exclaimed, ‘you’re a redhead? Oh you better stay out of the sun!’
While I always knew I needed to be cautious, he went on to explain that the pigment in red hair is unable to filter sunlight, which makes more sun hit our skin. Generally, redheads also happen to have more fair skin (which I do, despite being Italian) making them even further prone to burning. Because of this, redheads are nearly 80% more susceptible to skin cancer. Isn’t that just lovely?
Of course I needed to research this further because hearing it from a professional just isn’t enough for me. Unknowingly to me, this was a big deal in 2006 when scientists initially linked the ‘red hair gene’ to skin cancer. Shockingly, studies showed that people with darker skin who had the red hair gene had a higher risk of skin cancer than more fair individuals. Nonetheless, the risk is high for all redheads, regardless of initial skin color. The worst part is the risk for melanoma, the most severe type, is higher than any other type of skin cancer for people with a red hair gene.
It’s safe to say us redheads need to unite and be cautious. The last thing I need or want is skin cancer, and if I can prevent it, I sure as hell will. I wear 50 SPF sunblock, and try to stay out of the sun at the highest points of day. A hat is suggested as well, but I often can’t bring myself to do that to do that to my fashion sense.
Lovelies, what do you do to protect yourself from the sun regardless of your hair color?
P.S. Shout out to all my fellow redheads…Be safe ladies!