Blonde hair (which usually goes with fair skin) is a melanoma risk factor, but what about for biracial people with olive or caramel skin?

How often have you read that “blonde hair and blue eyes” are a risk factor for melanoma, along with “fair,” “pale” or “light” skin?

Certainly you’ve read that dark skinned people have a lower risk for melanoma when compared to light skinned people.

So here’s an interesting question that I posed to Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a board certified dermatologist with Baxt CosMedical:

Is blonde hair relevant as an added risk factor for melanoma in biracial individual?

After all, some biracial people have varying shades of blonde hair as well as skin tones.

“These are questions that we really don’t know exact answers to,” says Dr. Baxter, “as there are no good prospective studies looking at eye color and hair color and parentage and how much skin cancer these populations develop.

“From clinical experience, darker skinned people have lower risks of all skin cancers, but not zero risk.”

An even more interesting question is if blonde hair means an increased risk of melanoma in a very dark skinned individual.

Below are natives of the Solomon Islands who have a gene called TYRP1, which causes blonde hair.

As Dr. Baxt has stated, there is no data on this. Nevertheless, no human is immune to melanoma.

In fact, melanoma can appear in areas that get very little sun exposure, which means that in those cases, the amount of natural melanin (skin pigment) would not play a role.

Plus, biracial people and those with a deeper olive complexion, have been known to get the sun-related skin cancers of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

And don’t forget that sun exposure and light skin are not the only risk factors for melanoma, especially the type of tumor that develops inside the mouth, nose or eye.

Genetics do play a role, even in those with dark skin. Researchers also believe there are risk factors not yet discovered.

Dr. Baxtdr. baxt is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU and a member of the Skin Cancer Foundation. She also specializes in laser treatments, skin rejuvenation procedures, acne treatment and rosacea treatment.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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