What are you: Blonde, brunette, redhead? Did you know that your natural hair color has a big impact on your mental and physical well-being? It’s because hair color is part of your genetic makeup – so it’s linked to your DNA. Here’s what your hair color says about your overall health:

  • If you’re a blonde, give your skin extra protection. Melanin gives skin its color, and helps shield it from harmful UV rays. Blondes produce less melanin, making their skin and scalps more vulnerable to skin cancer. So use SPF 30 sunscreen that shields against UVA and UVB rays – and wear a hat when you’re in sunlight.
  • Also, if you’re blonde, protect your eyes. Blondes – especially blonde women – have a higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness. The compounds in kale, spinach and snow peas can protect your eyes. So, eat one cup a day.
  • If you’re a brunette, protect your hair. Brown hair is usually coarser and thicker than blond or red hair. So, brunettes start out with fewer hairs per square inch, and when brown hair follicles die, they leave bigger empty spaces. The fix? Low iron can contribute to hair loss, so eat spinach and lean red meat.
  • What else should a brunette do? Avoid tobacco products! Excess melanin makes hair brown. It also prevents your liver from metabolizing nicotine. The longer it’s in your system, the faster you become addicted. The fix? Don’t smoke!
  • If you have red hair, you’re at higher risk for Parkinson’s disease. A recent Harvard study found that redheads have a 90% greater chance of developing Parkinson’s than blondes or brunettes. That’s because the illness is caused by the same gene mutation as red hair. On the plus side, research shows that folic acid may slow the progress of Parkinson’s. So, get yours from orange juice or garbanzo beans.
  • And if you’re a redhead, watch out for pain. The “red hair gene” also makes people resistant to general and local anesthetic. Dr. Daniel Sessler, an anesthesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, says redheads may need up to 20% more Novocain than blondes or brunettes. The best idea is to talk to your doctor or dentist before surgery.