5 Surprising Things That Increase Your Skin Cancer Risk (It’s Not Just The Sun!)

While most skin cancers are caused by unprotected exposure to the sun, research pinpoints less obvious risks for developing the abnormal growth of skin cells.

Per the Skin Cancer Foundation, there’s a common misconception that darker skin tones aren’t at risk for skin cancer. However, a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in later stages and have a lower overall survival rate.

says dermatologist Maritza I. Perez, MD, a senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation.

“Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race,” said Maritza I. Perez, MD, dermatologist and a senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation.

She added,“Remember, ethnicity does not define skin type. It can represent a wide range of skin tones with a wide range of risks.”

 

So, what factors are responsible for the over 5.4 million cases nationwide of nonmelanoma skin cancer in more than 3.3 million people each year? The risks may surprise you.

1. Citrus juice

Research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that downing one cup of grapefruit or orange juice more than 1.6 times daily is associated a 36 percent increased risk of developing melanoma. Scientists speculate it’s due to the fruits high level of psoralen and furocoumarin compounds, which are believed to make skin more photosensitive or extremely sensitive to sunlight (UV rays).

2. Ginger-headed relatives

Believe it or not, gingers have it bad! And by bad, we mean that whether you’re a red head (or not), new research published in Nature Communications indicates that simply carrying the gene that gives you red hair leads to 42 percent more sun-associated genetic mutations (like skin cancer) when compared to people who don’t carry the gene.