Who is most at risk of getting skin cancer?
Due to their relative lack of skin pigmentation, Caucasian populations generally have a much higher risk of getting non-melanoma or melanoma skin cancers than dark-skinned populations. Naturally brown and black people (skin types V, VI – see table) can usually safely tolerate relatively high levels of sun exposure without getting sunburnt or greatly increasing their skin cancer risk. In contrast, people with pale or freckled skin, fair or red hair, and blue eyes belong to the highest risk group (skin types I, II); people with dark hair and eyes who do not normally get sunburnt are at medium risk of developing skin cancer (skin types III, IV). Nevertheless, excessive exposure to intense sunlight can damage all skin types - the risk of eye damage and heat stroke is the same for everyone!
Some individual risk factors for skin cancer
blue, green, or hazel eyes
tendency to burn rather than suntan
history of severe sunburns
a family history of skin cancer