Red Heads and Sunburn
Name: Anna P.
Date: May 2002
Why are redheads more susceptible to sunburn, as opposed
to a blonde (perhaps, unless they have the same susceptibility as a
redhead) or a brunette?
It really depends on the combination of genetics a person inherits, but most
redheads are fair because they have less melanin in their cells. Melanin is
the chemical which causes skin color. The more melanin, the darker your
skin, the less the lighter your skin (in general). Melanin protects the skin
from UV rays. People whose ancestors come from areas near the equator tend
to have darker skin. Also, when you go out in the sun, the melanin in your
skin causes a series of chemical reactions to occur that darkens your skin
(tanning). People with red hair tend to burn more quickly because they have
less melanin to begin with.
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Update: June 2012