Eye and hair color tied to melanoma risk?

New research done by the University of Colorado in Denver suggests that there is a direct link to the risk of melanoma for children with red hair. And on top of that, even more for those who have blue eyes. These characteristics are linked to the amount of moles that are produced, and thus the risk of melanoma or skin cancer.


The study focused on the influence of these genes to higher risk of moles or freckling, which are often precursors to melanoma in later life. Children with red hair developed melanoma more often, and those with red hair and blue eyes even more.

Researchers state that the study in no way suggests that the avoidance of UV-light with children would lower this risk, but that could well be the case.

“We think if you can modify behaviours related to sun exposure in children, it will probably make a difference for their well-being in later life with respect to melanoma,” said lead researcher Neil Box, an assistant professor in the department of dermatology at the University of Colorado – where the research was done.

Know the different types of melanoma

Sun exposure

For this study, Box’s team took DNA samples from 450+ children and followed them from 2004 to 2008 – also monitoring sun exposure of these children. Each year the number of waterside vacations, sunburns and sun exposure raised – which was also the case for the number of freckles and moles. “The increasing sun exposure was directly tied to the rise in freckles”, said Box. The avoidance of sun exposure was not researched but could have lowered the rise of moles.

So should you avoid the sun at all times?

No. But skin cancer experts say that limiting sun exposure (such as regular tanning) and wearing protecting sunscreen is wise.

Regularly checking your skin makes sure that you are safe. The SkinVision app makes it easy to perform that check monthly, download here:

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