The baby is ginger: how do you protect him from the sun?

Why are we born red?

over the centuries, freckles It has long been denounced and ridiculed. Remember that in the Middle Ages, after orange hair She wasn’t very popular… and could even send you straight to the stake if you had the misfortune of being a woman! Until today, to be ” Red hair “ may turn difficult for a child. A feature that hardly goes unnoticed in the stadiums. But where does this come from? Red color ? Why is a child born red? “Freckles are caused by a mutation in the MC1R gene (melanocortin receptor 1) located on chromosome 16, Professor Brigitte Dreno identifies right away. This receptor is involved in the production of melaninEye and hair dye.

Strawberry blond, dark red or brown: a matter of pigments

Skin pigments consist of two main types of melanin: eumelanin, a brown/black pigment, and pheomelanin, a yellow/orange to red pigment. Pheomelanin is the so-called “precursor” of eumelanin. However, mutation of the MC1R gene will inhibit its synthesis and prevent it from converting to eumelanin. The result: redhead kids They have Higher concentration of pheomelanin of brown children and more sensitive tothe sun because Skin pigment provides very little protection from UV rays. “Red is characterized by high concentrations of the red pigment – pheomelanin – and relatively low concentrations of the dark pigment: eumelanin, assures Brigitte Dreno. It is often associated with pale skin and theLight eyes (blue or green) and will be more or less distinguishable depending on genetic differences: from strawberry blonde to Dark red passing by Auburn “.

Red is a rare hair color. “Only 1-2% of the world’s population owns Red hairBrigitte Dreno confirms. Freckles are more common in northern and western European countries.” We find aA higher proportion of redheads are in the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia as well as in North America and Australia (the country of migration of these populations). Freckles are especially important in Celtic-speaking populations, so much so that we sometimes speak of the “Celtic gene”. Thus, Ireland has 10% of redheads; The number jumps to 13% in Scotland, which has the highest rate of redheads in the world. On the other hand, only 5% of the French are ginger. As for knowing if your future baby will be ginger… it’s all a matter of genetics!

Newborn genetics

In fact, just like eye colorThe hair colour comes from hereditary Provided by the mother (50%) and the father (50%). Remember that during the fertilization of the egg by a sperm, the 23 chromosomes present in the sperm will fuse with the 23 chromosomes of the egg to form Baby’s first cell. So this will contain 46 chromosomes:

  • 23 Bring the genetic characteristics of the mother,
  • and 23 other genetic characteristics of the father.

Chromosomes are made of DNAWorld Health Organization carries genes (about 20,000). Each gene contains two alleles: one that comes from the father and the other from the mother. allele that causes freckles rare genetic traitBoth parents must be carriers of this MCR1 . gene mutation in which Baby is red. This means that both alleles must be present in both genes of the chromosome 16 pair, one coming from the mother and the other from the father.

On the other hand, if the parents carry different alleles, the dominant (brown) allele will predominate over the recessive (red) allele. Finally, two brown people could have a red baby if each had this variant of the MCR1 gene, but the probability would be small (25%).

MCR1: Freckle gene

According to a scientific study published in Nature Communications (Source 1) on 10 December 2018 and conducted on nearly 350,000 English people, the MC1R variant alone is not responsible for the red colour. Other genes will be taken into account when the MC1R gene is expressed, resulting in the inhibition or lack of pheomelanin production.

Hair Color: At What Age Is It Final?

Your baby was born with hair strawberry blonde where Ginger ? Know that it is common for the color to darken with age due to increased production of eumelanin. Actually, hormones Produced at puberty affects the expression of genes involved in hair colour. If red-haired children could get darker as they grow, the pigment, on the other hand, would still be there…

Baby’s skin: watch out for the sun

Freckles are a risk factor for skin cancer. An Australian study published in 2019 in the British Journal of Dermatology (Source 2) showed that redheads had more than 20 moles On the body significantly increases the risk of skin cancer. So it is strongly discouragedto expose his childIn the sun in an extended way.

Ginger baby: what is his image?

Dermatologists classify different skin types according to 7 types of skin ranging from image type 0 (persons albinism) in Skin type 6 (People with black skin). More The picture will be weakmore Protect your child from the sun In order to avoid developing skin cancer. “The red baby is phototype 1, Brigitte Dreno identifies. This is characterized by very light white skin not tan; from blonde or red hair Beside blue or green eyes. This type of skin can also be accompanied by from ephelides Freckles appear quickly when exposed to the sun. »

Why are ginger children more sensitive to the sun?

The melanin He has a role for us UV protection (UV) when exposed to sunlight. The sunbathe Furthermore it The skin’s natural defense mechanism. However, in children with red hair, the absence or rarity eumelanin (brown pigment) for the benefit pheomelaninIt makes their skin clearer and above all less sun protection. That’s why it tends to blush, not tan. On the other hand, a study conducted by American researchers showed that under the influence of ultraviolet rays, pheomelanin is degraded and released free strays Which increases the risk of cancer.

How do you protect your child?

Since pheomelanin does not provide the same type of protection as pheomelanin, it is important to avoid exposing your child to the sun.

The specialist warns that sunburn in childhood and adolescence is the melanomas of tomorrow. Especially in children with red hair, the risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood increases dramatically. That is why parents should avoid exposing them to the sun and above all protect them well.

  • Avoid exposing your child to the sunAnd
  • To apply a high protection sunscreen(SPF 50+) on the body and face,” to make sure it covers UVA++++, insists the dermatologist. This is essential because it’s UVA rays that stimulate the production of free radicals. UVA rays are responsible for skin cancer and skin aging. To find out if The sunscreen protects against UV rays, just check the packaging: in general, there is a circled number indicating the level of UV protection that must be equivalent to at least one third of the indicated SPF. »
  • from Renew the application every three hours And after every swimAnd
  • to put it on sunglasses. The eyes of red-haired children are more sensitive to radiation,
  • Avoid exposure between 12 pm and 4 pm.that is, the moment when the sun is higher,
  • To put Anti-UV clothing for her baby. “Be careful with the water, says the specialist. Clothing (shirts, etc.) tend to provide less protection when wet. Therefore, at the beach, it is advisable to choose anti-UV clothing that is specifically designed to filter and block the sun’s rays.”

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