Dr. Epperson says he sees more cancers in redheads and blondes than darker-haired patients.
“Some redheads and blondes just don’t tan, and they go into the sun and get burnt,” Dr. Epperson says. “The most at-risk patients I see tend to be redheaded women who tan.”
While head hair does provide considerable protection for women, men with facial hair also see some protective benefits. Men with thick dark beards as opposed to close-cut light beards have some measure of protection on the face and neck. But even so, facial hair offers minimal protection, Dr. Epperson says.
A full head of hair, while somewhat protective, does not provide complete defense against sunburn. The sun’s harmful rays can still penetrate via your hair’s natural part or in parts created as the hair moves and separates when wet from swimming. Pulling the hair into a ponytail can eliminate a part and provide better scalp protection, but exposes the neck and ears.