Individuals of all skin tones are at risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma, though the cancer is much more common in those with fair skin, light-colored eyes, and red or blond hair. Individuals with very fair skin tend to burn easily and have a higher risk of developing the disease, and those who suffer from albinism are also at high risk for skin cancer because they produce a low rate of melanin.
Lighter-complected individuals have less melanin in their skin, and there's a greater likelihood of them developing SCC than those with darker skin. Melanin is a dark brown to black pigment that provides a protective effect against damaging UV radiation, and thus individuals with a tan or darker complexion have a lower risk of developing skin cancer compared to those with a fair to light complexion. However, studies show a shorter survival time for those who do develop it.