Donna Kim-Brand

Hair Color and Your Health

When my young children and I moved to a new town years ago, a rather boorish ‘player’ type of guy decided he’d try to attract my attention. My kids didn’t like his pushy style, so when he said he loved redheads because he had a 10 year old son who was a redhead like me, my 8 year old daughter retorted, “Yes, but I bet his red is natural!”  Whoah nelly! Where did that come from, especially from one so young!?

You see, I grew up with mousy brown hair with red highlights that shone brilliantly only in the sunlight. Who wants to be mousy brown? Not me! So in later years I just helped bring out more of the deep auburn with hair coloring. These days we are all privy to tinting or highlighting in any shade we want to express what we perceive to be more of our character or style.

There are health reasons to pay attention to our natural hair color, however, for certain coloring genetically predisposes us to health challenges that need dealing with differently. This according to health experts.


Did you know that darker haired brunettes are more likely to become addicted to smoking than other hair colors? Supposedly, the melanin in the skin pigment binds the nicotine so it sticks around in your liver and bloodstream longer and builds in a craving that makes it harder to quit. Take in extra Vitamin C in foods or supplements to aid in flushing the liver. Better yet, resist the urge to get hooked on smoking in the first place.

On top of that, brunettes of all shades tend towards thicker, courser hair, so when it falls out the space left is more visible. To prevent hair loss from being exacerbated, brunettes are advised to up their intake of iron. Supplements, oatmeal and other iron-rich foods should be taken to slow down hair loss, 50% of which happens to brunettes.


We’ve all heard the old stereotypes, ‘blonds have more fun’, and ‘blonds are more ditzy’. Is this why they tend to stay out in the sun and suffer sun damage? Not necessarily! The lighter pigmentation of a blond is usually accompanied by lighter skin tones and eye coloring, putting blonds at greater risk from UV rays. Not only is sunburn a problem, but so is more inclination towards macular degeneration, an eye condition that causes blindness. Yikes!

What’s a blond to do? Protect your skin and scalp from burning and skin cancers by staying out of prolonged direct sunlight and use high SPF sun screen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, wear a hat and sunglasses with UV ray protection when outside to protect your face and eyes.  As for your diet, lean towards one rich in antioxidants along with plenty of leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and snow peas.


Now, for the redheads. Having a mother with Parkinson’s, I am not happy to learn that redheads are 90% more susceptible to this disease than brunettes. (Maybe my mousy brown hair was a good thing after all?)  Research hasn’t yet confirmed if the cause is related to the melanin or the red-head gene is related to the neuro-environment that causes Parkinson’s. I’m happy to hear we redheads can take a multi-vitamin which has sufficient folic acid (400mgs/day) to reduce our chances of triggering the condition.

It was also news to me that redheads are statistically more resistant to anesthesia, requiring up to 20% more in a procedure than women with other natural hair coloring. Remember that on your next trip to the dentist!  One thing the feisty carrot-tops are supposedly not immune to is romance, so make sure to take appropriate health precautions!

My goodness, so many factors to consider tied to hair color. Pay attention to health conditions connected to your natural coloring to take active precautions or preventive action. Other than that, enjoy the pleasures that come with each, or make up your own. Who’s to know, but you!

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