Myths busted: Are light-skinned people more prone to skin cancer?


A common myth is that light-skinned people are more likely to develop skin cancer over dark-skinned people.

This is true, in fact.

While it’s correct that people with fair skin, blonde, light brown or red hair or even green or blue eyes are at higher risk of skin damage, there are other factors to consider.

Dark-skinned people are less prone to contracting skin cancer as the melanin levels in their skin protects them against UV radiation and therefore burn less.

However, experts at House Call Doctor say it’s important to remember that people with dark skin are still at risk of developing skin cancer due to environmental factors or even genetics.

What are some risk factors of skin cancer?

The risk factors to consider include:

  • Older age: When you get older the risk of squamous cell and basal skin cancers increase. Older people have been exposed to the sun for a longer amount of time.
  • Chemicals: People who are exposed to chemicals such as arsenic, which is used in some insecticides, can have a high risk of developing skin cancer. Those who work and are exposed to certain types of oil, tar or coal also have an increased risk.
  • Some skin conditions: Skin damage from burns, bone infections or skin diseases have a small increased risk of skin cancer.
  • Genetics: Research has found that people with certain heredity parts of the normal cells are at higher risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Weak immune systems: People who’ve had transplants are more likely to develop melanoma skin cancers.
  • Gender: Research has shown that in the United States, men are more at risk of developing skin cancer than women.
  • Medicines: Some medicines can supress or lower your immune system and make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

While there are many factors that increase the risks, fairer skinned people are more likely to develop skin cancer than people with darker skin. Consider this myth true!

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