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Reading Marion Roach's book on redheads she mentions visiting Rees lab where he shines UV light on her skin. Apparently this is an ongoing experiment of his regarding the propensity of redheads to sunburn more easily, but the book doesn't adequately explain why.

Why do redheads sunburn more easily?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you please stick to this edit, despite what the author wrote? $\endgroup$ – Chris Jan 26 '17 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ @R.M. Oh my, all those references to fights and wars. Wow. This is not a fight, let alone a war. I'm just trying to keep posts as civil as possible. Some terminologies may be deemed offensive by folks. That's all. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 27 '17 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ @R.M - I was talking about keeping posts civilized. I've never accused anyone here. You are the one that seems to take things personally and sticking labels such as 'accuse' , 'fight', and 'war' on simple semantic changes. Dude. Relax. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 28 '17 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD Whatever. I still maintain that if you and/or Chris believe that using the term "redhead" is "insulting" or not "civil" (your words, not mine), it's incumbent on you to back that assertion up. $\endgroup$ – R.M. Jan 28 '17 at 19:48
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You should have a look at wikipedia > melanin.

Melanin is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. [..] Melanin is an effective absorber of light; the pigment is able to dissipate over 99.9% of absorbed UV radiation.1 Because of this property, melanin is thought to protect skin cells from UVB radiation damage, reducing the risk of cancer. Furthermore, though exposure to UV radiation is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of the melanocytes, studies have shown a lower incidence for skin cancer in individuals with more concentrated melanin, i.e. darker skin tone. Nonetheless, the relationship between skin pigmentation and photoprotection is still being clarified.

Most of the variation in skin color among humans is caused by differential levels of melanism. People with red hair have a low level of melanism (almost by definition) and therefore suffers more from sunburn than people with more pigmented skin.

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The more important thing is that Melanin is formed through evolution due to Darwinism. If you lived in places which didn't get much sun you went whiter and sunnier places darker. Over generations of darkening the skin took on a darker pigment to protect itself by production of structures within the cell that was compatible with those energies to prevent deterioration and provide a medium to equalize the energy flow from the sun (Basically one of the many ways evolution was proved by sequencing ecoli strains and exposing them to synthetic sweeteners so that we could sequence the DNA structure during the evolution process). Basically the stronger you are and more adapted you are to the environment the more likely you will reproduce and propogate your characteristics. If you are whiter you required more Electromagnetic energy absorbtion for other processes so you gained characteristics that would enable that flow of energy.

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    $\begingroup$ This does not answer the question. And: Melanin doesn't reflect the energy, it absorbs it. $\endgroup$ – Chris Jan 26 '17 at 17:11

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