A 2012 study from the journal Nature, found that the pigment pheomelanin, which gives hair the red color, makes redheads more susceptible to the melanoma than fair-skinned blonds, even when they cover up their skin.
"What happens in the sun?" asked Braiker. "I stay out of it. The sun is not my friend. I get more freckles and I should wear a ridiculously high SPF on my face."
Growing up had its challenges, he said, but eventually there were social advantages to being a redhead.
"Over a lifetime, I have developed thick skin," said Braiker. "Growing up I was advanced a year in kindergarten or grade 1," he explained. "So I was a year younger with red hair and a little bit weaker than the rest. I was easy prey."
He grew his hair long in college, even sporting a red afro, and continued to get cat calls from strangers: "What's up carrot top?" and "Ronald McDonald." But, he said, it made him tougher.
"I always felt a little bit like a freak," said Braiker. "But over time, I learned to embrace the weirdness and it did help shape my personality. ... And there are definitely ladies who like redheads."