Welcome Dr. Baumann M.D. to the How to be a Redhead Community!
Redheads, please welcome Dr. Leslie Baumann M.D. to the How to be a Redhead community! Dr. Baumann is an internationally renowned board certified dermatologist; NY Times best-selling author; media personality and lecturer; and CEO of the Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute. In 2010, she was named one of the most influential visionaries in the beauty industry by Alluremagazine.
As a redhead herself, Dr. Baumann is here to educate redhead’s about their skin, beauty and more! Stay tuned for more of her answers to our most potent questions.
H2BAR: Is red hair a genetic mutation?
Dr. Baumann: There are 2 types of skin pigment in the skin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Redheads have more pheomelanin which causes the reddish pigment. Red hair (increased pheomelanin) appears in people with two copies of a mutation in the MC1R (melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor). Basically- this is a receptor- that when stimulated makes the skin cells (called melanocytes) make more pigment (called melanin).
This is the same pathway that makes you tan when you are exposed to the sun. It also causes increased endorphins upon sun exposure which is why you feel so good when out in the sun. This receptor is also activated by the sun which causes a cascade that can result in the development of various forms of skin cancer including the deadly melanoma. It is the defect in the MCR1 gene that causes red hair, freckling and an increased incidence of melanoma.
SO– Redheads beware! You cannot tan and you are at a higher risk of skin cancer so just forget about laying out in the sun- embrace your white skin- and wear a sunscreen. If you must have color- I suggest a self-tanner.
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