I don't know if you noticed or not, but I'm a redhead. Yep. It's true. While I did not embrace it as a child, I now love the uniqueness of having red hair.
Do you want to know just how unique redheads are? (say yes)
Did you know... that red hair is a genetic mutation? Professor Jonathan Rees conducted a study of redheads at Edinburgh University. He identified the gene for red hair, the melancortin 1 receptor (MC1R), found on the 16th chromosome. He found that this single gene was responsible for red hair.
Due to the MC1R gene, people with red hair are more sensitive to pain than their dark and blonde haired counterparts. In addition, they often need higher levels of anesthesia to get the same level of sedation. They also tend to be more prone to allergies than those with other hair colors. Redheads tend to bleed more and longer, due to slightly different clotting factors, which is why doctors make special preparations for them in childbirth.
Redheads need far less sunlight to generate Vitamin D than non-redheads. Because their red pigment is an inadequate filter of sunlight, their skin is more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkling with age. (which is why my dermatologist gave me 70SPF sunscreen)
While the individual hairs tend to be thicker, Redheads have the smallest hair count on their heads, about 90,000 as opposed to 140,000 on people with blond and brown hair.
The highest percentage of natural redheads in the world is in Scotland (13%), followed closely by Ireland with 10%. In the U.S., about 2% of the population are natural redheads.
Redheaded men and women have often been ridiculed down through the ages.
For example, when redheaded Queen Elizabeth I reigned overin the late 1590's, poet Edmund Spenser wrote "The Faerie Queene" in honor of her. After that, the Southwestern English began to believe in fairies. However, they were depicted as being impish and naughty. As a result, fairies were said to have red hair.
In early Germany, natural red hair was considered to be a sure sign that a woman was a witch.
The Greeks believed that redheads became vampires when they died.
According to a Russian adage, "There was never a saint with red hair".
Red hair has long been associated with flaming tempers, peculiarity, lying and red-hot sexuality.
The Egyptians regarded the color as so unlucky that they had a ceremony in which they burned redheaded maidens alive to wipe out the tint.
Adolph Hitler reportedly banned the marriages of two redheads as he feared their children would be "deviant offspring".
"I'll beat you like a redheaded stepchild" is a phrase that was born out of the American south. It implies the status of illegitimate offspring with a white master.
Bees are thought to sting redheads more than others.
In Corsica, if you pass a redhead in the street, you are to spit and turn around.
During the Spanish Inquisition, having red hair was evidence that its owner had stolen the fire of hell and had to be burned as a witch.
Aristotle was known to believe that redheads were emotionally unhousebroken.
A French Proverb states that "redheaded women are either violent or false, and usually both."
The fear of redheads is called "gingerphobia".
Famous Redheads in History
Richard the Lionheart
Queen Elizabeth I
Mary Queen of Scots
Eric the Red
Sir Winston Churchill
Vincent Van Gogh
Martin Van Buren
General George A. Custer
I'll end this redhead tutorial with my favorite redhead quote:
"While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats."
My cat addiction makes so much more sense now.