May 30, 2024 | Eul Basa

Mind-Blowing Facts You Didn't Know About Redheads

Redheads are special, according to science

Redheads are more than just their hair—their unique genetics give them many fascinating traits that distinguish them from the rest. They have also played significant roles in various societies throughout history. Click next for some mind-blowing facts you didn't know about redheads.

Redhead Cover

Redheads have a high tolerance for pain

People with red hair can tolerate more pain due to a specific gene mutation that impacts their pain receptors. This makes them less responsive to certain types of pain, especially thermal pain, in comparison to individuals without red hair.

Man Wearing Pink Crew Neck Shirt Lying on bedMaria Geller, Pexels

Redheads are common in North and West Europe

Red hair is more common in individuals with Northern and Western European ancestry, particularly in Scotland, Ireland, and Norway, due to the prevalence of the MC1R gene mutation. Natural selection also played a role in the high occurrence.

Portrait Photo of Domhnall Gleeson speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic ConGage Skidmore, Flickr

Redheads need higher doses of anesthesia

Individuals with red hair have a gene mutation that impacts pigmentation and anesthesia reactions. Research shows they may need higher doses for sedation and pain relief due to resistance. Anesthesiologists must adjust procedures for their safety.

Portrait Photo of Woman in White TopKarol Carvalho, Pexels

Redheads are extremely rare

Red hair that occurs naturally is extremely uncommon, existing in just 2% of the worldwide population. The uncommonness is caused by the fact that both parents must pass on the recessive MC1R gene for it to be expressed.

Photo Of Red Haired Woman With Yellow Flower On Her LipsKauê Lutz, Pexels

Redheads are very prevalent in Scotland

Approximately 13% of Scotland's population have natural red hair, the highest globally. Genetic factors and cultural influences contribute to this prevalence.

Portrait Photo of Karen Gillan at the 2023 New York Comic-ConPhilip Romano, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Redheads were prized in ancient Rome

Red-haired slaves were valued in ancient Rome for their perceived luck and special abilities. This belief stemmed from red hair's rarity and association with gods. They were especially popular with wealthy Romans.

Two redheaded twins during the Roodharigendag (Redhead Day) in Breda, Netherlands.Eddy Van 3000, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Redheads have fewer hair strands than blondes

Individuals with red hair typically have around 90,000 hair strands, while blondes have around 140,000 strands. Variations in hair density are influenced by pigmentation and hair structure.

Portrait Photo of of man with red hair in blue shirt, smilingErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads don't get grey hairs with age

Red hair doesn't turn grey with age like other hair colors do. The pigment pheomelanin fades over time, causing red hair to gradually lighten to a coppery shade before turning white or silver.

Portrait Photo of Mick Hucknall in dark suit performing on stageSimplyred Ltd, CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikimedia Commons

Redheads are celebrated in the Netherlands

The annually-held Redhead Day in the Netherlands celebrates red-haired individuals, promoting unity and challenging stereotypes. Gathering in Breda, the event includes group photos, cultural displays, and social activities, attracting thousands of participants.

Beautiful girls waving in the Catharinastraat in BredaEddy Van 3000, Flickr

Redheads tend to have paler skin and freckles

Red hair, fair skin, and freckles are commonly associated due to genetic factors affecting melanin production. The MC1R gene mutation leads to higher pheomelanin levels and lower eumelanin levels, causing paler skin and freckles.

Portrait Photo of of a young girl wit red hair facing the cameraCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads were sacrificed as offerings in ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians associated red-haired individuals with offerings to Osiris, the deity of the underworld and afterlife. Red hair was considered unique and possibly signified a spiritual connection, leading to its involvement in ceremonies and sacrifices.

Portrait Photo of a boy with red hair facing the cameraCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads can make their own vitamin D

Redheads produce more vitamin D in dim lighting due to a specific gene mutation linked to their hair color. This adaptation helps them maintain strong bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Portrait Photo of a man with red hair in blue shirt looking to the right.Erik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads are feared by gingerphobics

"Gingerphobia" is fear or dislike of redheads, originating from the term "ginger." Prejudice, known as "gingerism," towards redheads can manifest as teasing, bullying, or stereotyping, requiring confrontation and acceptance.

Portrait Photo of two girls with red curls smilingEddy Van 3000, Flickr

Redheads with blue eyes are the rarest of all

Red hair and blue eyes is a rare combination that creates a visually striking look. This unusual pairing of characteristics is uncommon is seen as special.

Portrait Photo of a woman with red hair in black outfit facing the cameraCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads have a harder time dyeing their hair

Dyeing red hair is challenging due to its natural thickness, roughness, and unique pigments like pheomelanin. Red hair requires specific methods, multiple appointments, and more dye to achieve desired hues. Regular touch-ups are needed to maintain color brightness.

Portrait Photo of a woman with red hair in a floral dress facing the cameraCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads are more likely to be left-handed

Redheads are more likely to be left-handed compared to people with different hair colors. Researchers are still not fully sure about the reasons for this connection, and more studies still need to be conducted.

Portrait Photo of of a girl with red hair smiling, facing the cameraCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads may be connected by lineage to Adam's first wife

Lilith, often depicted with red hair, is a figure in Jewish legend believed to have been Adam's first wife before Eve. Some interpretations see her as rejecting Adam, associating her with demons.

Portrait Photo of man with log red hair and a beard facing the cameraErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads were thought to be supernatural in ancient Greece

Red hair in Ancient Greece was linked to supernatural beliefs like turning into vampires because of its rareness. Greek myths depicted vampires with red hair and eyes, possibly influencing the perception of redheads as having similar characteristics.

Portrait Photo of a young girl with red hair smilingCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads were studied using animal models

Researchers have utilized pigs and birds as animal models to delve into the genetic and physiological factors linked to red hair in humans. By studying the genetic foundations of hair color diversity in these animals, researchers gain crucial insights into human red hair genetics.

Portrait Photo of two girls with red hair smiling and facing the camera.Erik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads go way, way back

"Redhead" has been used for centuries, as far back as 1510. It was a valid and accepted descriptor for people with red or reddish hair, as it is today.

Portrait Photo of a woman and a man with red hair standing next to each otherErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads are the inspo for the names of British islands

Many British Isles last names reflect a connection to red hair, stemming from Old English or Gaelic terms. Names like "Reed" or "Russell" signify red, while "Flynn" and "Rowan" also connote red hair.

Portrait Photo of a young man with curly red hair looking to the rightErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads come in many different shades of red

Red hair comes in a variety of shades, from bright crimson to dark burgundy or auburn, influenced by genetics, environment, and pigmentation. Shades may also include hints of copper, gold, or brown.

Portrait Photo of five girls with red hairs posing on a stage.Erik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads came from cats, according to Mark Twain

Mark Twain humorously proposed redheads descended from cats, highlighting their unique qualities in contrast to ape ancestry. Obviously, there is no scientific basis supporting his statements.

Portrait Photo of a young girl with red hair and glasses looking to the rightErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads have a higher risk of melanoma

Redheads have a higher likelihood of developing skin cancer due to their MC1R gene, which can also lead to more severe brain illnesses like Parkinson's disease, according to scientists.

Photo of Man Wearing Hoodie with turned backAlfie Thompson, Pexels

Redheads can be "honorary" due to a protein defect

A lack of protein in rare cases can cause hair color changes, like dark hair turning red. Adequate protein is crucial for hair growth and maintenance, and severe deficiency can disrupt normal pigmentation, leading to "nutritional reddening." This phenomenon is temporary and can be reversed with proper nutrition.

Portrait Photo of three girls with red hairs, smiling and posing for the camera.Erik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads in Africa were likened to witches

Red hair in Africa was historically linked to witchcraft and supernatural abilities due to cultural beliefs. Stigmatization and discrimination of red-haired individuals persist in some societies despite modern knowledge.

Portrait Photo of with curly red hair, smiling, looking to the rightErik Jacobs, Flickr

Redheads were said to exist among the Neanderthals

Research indicates that ancient ancestors possessed a gene for red hair resembling the modern variant, though less vivid. Neanderthals likely did not interbreed extensively, suggesting a different origin for the gene.

Portrait Photo of man with curly red hair and a beard looking to the rightMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Redheads are said to originate with Prince Idon of Mu

According to myths, the original redhead was Prince Idon of Mu, a legendary land in the Pacific Ocean like Atlantis. These legends from pseudo-historical and New Age ideologies connect red hair to noble ancestries, despite lack of proof of Mu or Idon's existence.

 Portrait Photo of A Man with red hair Holding a BookMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Redheads were persecuted during witch hunts

During the witch hunts of the 16th to 17th centuries, women with red hair were often suspected and persecuted due to their unique appearance being associated with witchcraft and supernatural abilities.

Portrait Photo of a young woman with curly red hair smilingCarolina Georgatou, Flickr

Redheads were Titian's biggest art inspiration

Titian, a renowned Italian Renaissance artist, skillfully portrayed vibrant red hair in his paintings, establishing a strong association with himself and the color red. His love of painting red hair significantly contributed to his reputation and continues to influence art today.

Portrait Photo of girl and boy with red hair smilingCarolina Georgatou


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