Melanoma Advice For Fair Complexions

Photographed by Rochelle Brock.
It's no secret that natural-born red heads have to be careful in the sun or risk their skin turning the same shade as their hair. And that tendency to burn leads to a greater risk for redheads to develop skin cancer, according to a new report from Boston University.
But new research from the University might be able to help. Prior studies have found that people born with red hair have variants in Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R), a protein used for pigmentation in humans, which translates to an increased risk for cancer.
For the first time, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have found a way to reduce risk. MC1R is modified by a process called palmitoylation. A laboratory experiment to enhance palmitoylation using a small molecule called palmostatin B, showed fewer cases of melanoma when exposed to UV light than did a control group that was not enhanced.
It's a promising first step that might one day lead to a treatment for people with red hair to be less affected by the sun, but it's still a first step. More research and more laboratory, animal, and later human tests will need to be done before the research from Boston University can become a real-life medicine people with red hair can take to prevent skin cancer.
“We hope our study allows for the development of a pharmacological prevention strategy for red-headed people to protect their skin and let them enjoy the sun like other people," the study authors said in a statement.
In the meantime, it's still important for everyone — no matter your hair colour — to protect against UV radiation from the sun. That means slathering on sun screen if your skin will be exposed (yes, even in the fall or winter).
Here are our top picks of SPF suncream for daily use.
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