In the first ever systematic study, scientists from University College London and Imperial College London have found that light skin and tanning may be linked to a higher risk of melanoma.
The research, published in The Lancet Oncology, found that people who had light skin had an 11% higher risk compared to people with light skin with a normal complexion.
Researchers say the findings, which are the first to link light skin to melanoma, will help doctors and patients understand the complex interactions between skin characteristics and risk factors for melanoma and its progression.
Dr. Anne Smith, lead author of the study, told the Associated Press that light-skinned people have less pigment in their skin than their darker-skinned counterparts, making it more difficult to control melanoma progression.
The findings will also help clinicians diagnose and treat patients who are at high risk of developing melanoma over time.
Researchers studied nearly 1,200 people in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
They compared the risk of skin cancer to the risk based on the skin’s melanin content, as measured by the tanning index, or the number of spots in the skin.
More than half of those in the light-skin group had a higher number of melanin spots than those in both the light and dark skin groups.
Researchers believe the light skin group was more likely to have a high proportion of spots and fewer melanin cells.
However, the researchers say that the findings don’t prove a cause and effect relationship.
They say there is still a lot of research to be done on the link between light skinness and melanoma risk, but it’s important to remember that a person’s risk is dependent on a number of factors, including their genetics, lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions.
There are many different skin types, and a person who is more fair-skinned may be at a greater risk of having melanoma than a darker-looking person.
However, Dr. Smith told ABC News that a significant number of people are still diagnosed with melanoma even after being diagnosed with light- skin.
“If we really want to get the message across that we can reduce melanoma as we age, then we have to understand the link to our skin color and the role it plays in melanoma,” she said.
“We’ve shown that people with lighter skin are more likely than people with darker skin to have melanoma.”
Dr. Smith and her colleagues are now looking at other factors that could affect melanoma in the future, including the skin tone and makeup of the person’s skin.