Redheads have genes to thank for their tresses. Research shows red hair usually results from a mutation in a gene called MC1R , which codes for the melanocortin-1 receptor. The pigment found in redhair that makes it red is called pheomelanin. But redheads as a group have more in common than only their hair color -- certain health conditions appear to be more common among people with red hair.
hair colors: Do redheads tolerate alcohol better or worse than other hair colors?
Redheads feel more pain, studies have shown. At least, a different kind of pain. To say that redheads have their own charm would be an understatement, but it has also had its downsides — particularly during the Dark Ages , when gingers were often considered witches or heretics. Red hair is most commonly found in the northern and western parts of Europe, especially in and around the British Isles.
13 surprising things you didn't know about redheads
Or that she must be insensitive when she doesn't seem to mind ferociously hot curry sauce that sets your mouth on fire? An increasing number of studies show that redheads are differently constituted in terms of pain perception and body reactions. Research reveals that redheads:. Some studies indicate that redheads are more prone to illness because they prefer to keep out of the sun and so lack vitamin D, or because their ability to absorb the vitamin is less efficient. A persistent rumour has also circulated about surgeons being reluctant to perform surgery on redheads because they are said to bleed more.
Hoary stereotypes, such as the idea that redheads are also hot heads, are mixed together with actual physiological differences — such as a heightened sensitivity to pain. Now science is getting a better understanding of redheaded physiology than ever before. In numerical terms, people with red hair are a decided minority.