Blog – Ginger Facts

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Aside from guaranteed beatings at school and an inability to tan, being ginger is actually pretty special – in fact, just 1-2% of the world are red heads…

*Redheads have thick hair, but the least number of hairs per head, at an average of 90,000. The overall average is 100,000.

*People with red hair are more susceptible to pain, according to doctors. Research carried out in the US suggested that redheads need 20% more anaesthesia than people with other hair colour. [BBC story]

*Redheads “are deemed to be the emotional slaves of our colouring as no other group,” wrote redheaded Nicola Tyrer in the Daily Telegraph.

*Common redhead stereotypes are: bad temper, sexual fire, untrustworthy, being smart and eccentric.
* Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world as 13 percent of the population has red hair and approximately 40 percent carries the recessive redhead gene.

*A recent DNA study has concluded that some Neanderthals had red hair, although the mutation responsible for this differs from that which causes red hair in Homo Sapiens.

*Harvard dermatologist Madhu Pathak calls redheads “three-time losers” because their red pigment is an inadequate filter of sunlight and their skin is more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer and wrinkling with age.

*Genetically, red hair is a recessive trait, which means it can hide in genes and pop up several generations later.  Two redheads would most likely have a red haired child (RR). To have a redheaded child both parents must carry the red hair gene.

*The red hair pigment is called pheomelanin. The gene is melanocortin 1 receptor.

*In France, to be redheaded is thought to be a fate so dire that some women have formed a Proud to be Red association.

*Percentages of redheads in different countries range from single digits to a fraction of 1 per cent — a recent estimate for France is 0.03 per cent of people. (A 1977 estimate for North America is 4 per cent) Redheads generally are more numerous in northern latitudes, but also turn up among Hungarians, Egyptians, Israelis and certain Nigerian tribes.

*The Redhead Encyclopedia, a book devoted to the study and celebration of the flame-haired, says that if one parent has red hair, there’s a 50% chance the gene will be passed to the children. If one or two parents aren’t redheaded but carry the gene, there is a 25% chance of having a ginger child.

* Ancient Greeks died their hair red to show courage.

*“In Denmark it is an honour to have a redheaded child. In Corsica , if you pass one in the street you spit and turn around. In Poland , if you pass three red-heads you’ll win the state lottery,” claims Sylvia Stevez, the Parisian founder of Association Francaise des Rousses.

*There are two kinds of redhead, says Mary Spillane, managing director of British image consultants Colour Me Beautiful. There’s “the autumn type with hazel eyes,” and the Celtic type with translucent skin, light eyes and carrot top — leprechaun redness “that people have trouble with.”

*Redheads have been thought untrustworthy. As a 17th-century Frenchman observed, “Judas, it is said, was red-haired.”

*Ginger superstitions include… “red hair is unlucky”, “it’s lucky to rub your hand on a redhead’s head”, “bees sting redheads more often”.

*Aging Redheads don’t turn grey.  First the hair turns a blondish color then white.

*The Egyptians regarded the colour as so unlucky that they had a ceremony in which they burned red-headed maidens alive to wipe out the tint, says author Claudie De Lys.

*Oxford researchers believe that all redheads inherited the gene from European Neanderthals. Based on rate of gene mutation, Oxford says the redhead gene appears to be much older than Cro-Magnon man in Europe . The accepted explanation is that the Celtic tribes had a strong remnant of Neanderthal blood caused by Cro-Magnon/Neanderthal interbreeding.

*For more facts, check out Wikipedia – Red Hair