What is your hair trying to tell you?

Whether you embrace your natural color or not (we’re all for experimentation), taking note of the shade you were born with can yield some insight into health issues that you might face down the road. Women’s Health magazine’s Health and Feature’s editor Sascha de Gersdorff explains the surprising amount of info your natural hair color can reveal, from a predisposition to health conditions to what you need in your diet right now.

Let’s start with blondes like your cover girl Kristen Bell since they’re supposed to have all the fun.

Actually, compared to people with other hair colors, blondes have a higher risk of getting age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. Most natural blondes have fair skin and light eyes. Light irises let in more UV rays than darker irises, and one theory is that that’s why blondes tend to have more age-related macular degeneration.

Does that mean never forget the sunglasses?

Exactly. Wear UV-protected sunglasses all year round. Eat vegetables like kale and spinach, which have nutrients that protect your eyes.

How about folks with red hair? I’ve always wanted to be a redhead like Isla Fisher. 

This is one of those things that I’ve heard before from my redheaded friends: They are more resistant to anesthetics, both general and local. They need 20% more than the average amount of anesthesia. All my redheaded friends hate going to the dentist!

The good news about this one is you can work with it. You can talk to your doctor before a procedure to ask for a higher dosage of anesthetics.

True. Here’s another fact: Redheads have almost a 90% greater chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. The recommendation is to make sure you’re getting enough folic acid--400 micrograms a day-- which has been shown to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

Yikes. OK, let’s talk about brunettes, which is what I am. What can folks like me and Angelina Jolie expect to be dealing with?

First of all, brunettes have less hair overall than blondes or redheads. You might not notice it, but 30 million American women suffer from hair loss. If you’re a brunette, that means you’ll want to incorporate certain foods into your diet that promote hair growth. We recommend eating iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements that equal 18 milligrams per day.

I can deal with that. Steak and kale for every meal!

And one last cautionary point: Brunettes are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to cigarettes faster than people with other hair colors. Studies have shown that the melanin in your skin prevents you from metabolizing the nicotine so your brain has more of a chance to get hooked on it. The takeaway is, of course, don’t start in the first place.

For more information with Sascha check out the current issue of Women's Health with the lovely Kristen Bell on the cover at womenshealthmag.com.


Will this help YOU amplify your style?