By: Alexandra Bricker

Obviously, being a redhead is unique and awesome. I recently did research on natural redheads and found some facts to be astonishing. Who knew people with red hair actually have less hair or generate their own Vitamin D? More to come below, but it’s very fascinating stuff. My advice is to never look at any of these “redhead facts” as negative, we are unique, one-of-a-kind women!

Here are 13 astounding realities about red hair you probably never knew about:

1. Redheads have a higher risk of getting melanoma.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.  The pigmentation in our skin and the MC1R mutation that makes us redheads, creates a pathway to cancer when combined with UV rays.  We are at highest risk of other forms of skin cancer as well. This is why it’s pivotal to wear sunscreen every single day of the year.

2. Redheads may be at high risk for Parkinson’s Disease.

A Harvard study found that redheads are at a 90% higher risk for Parkinson’s disease.  Yikes.

UPDATE: Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital recently found that mice carrying a variant of the MC1R gene may be at a risk of getting Parkinson’s. People with MC1R produce less dopamine in the part of the brain where neurons making the neurotransmitter are destroyed during Parkinson’s disease. Second, they seem to be more susceptible to toxins that damage those neurons.

The study goes on to suggest that activating the MC1R gene, thereby reversing the mutation seen in redheads, may offer protective benefits against Parkinson’s.

“Our findings suggest further investigation into the potential of MC1R-activating agents as novel neuroprotective therapies for PD, and together with epidemiological evidence, may offer information that could guide those carrying MC1R variants to seek advice from dermatologists or neurologists about their personal risk for melanoma and Parkinson’s disease,” states lead author Xiqun Chen.

3. Redheads are more sensitive to pain.

We feel pain much more severely and we need 20% more anesthesia than others.  The good thing? Most doctors know this fact and I know from experience.

4. Redheads have more dental office phobias than any other hair color.

Because of our low reaction to numbing medications like novacaine, we don’t like going to the dentist.  Take it from me.  I had several shots in the gum and yet I still felt my wisdom tooth being pulled.  I’ve always been afraid of the dentist. However, we redheads are tough and can handle it.

READ: Redheads Feel More Pain At The Dentist? Experts Weigh In 

5. Women with red hair are at a 30% higher risk for endometriosis.

This is a uterine problem with tissue surrounding the uterus causing pain and can also make it very difficult to get pregnant.

6. Redheads have less hair.

A study proves redheads are at the lowest with an average of 90,000 strands of hair. BUT, we do have thicker strands, which is probably why I have so much hair. 

READ: Facts About Redheads That Might Surprise You 

7. Redheads generate their own Vitamin D.

I knew we were magical creatures. When exposed to UV rays, redheads normally burn to a crisp! However, we produce enough Vitamin D for our skin in low light conditions.  That’s almost like having a super power.  Who needs tanning…or osteoporosis for that matter.

redhead-in-the-sun-2

8. Redheads are rare!

Our locks might as well be diamonds because redheads cover about 2% of the population.  If you’re like me, a blue-eyed redhead, then you only cover about 1%; making us the rarest in the world.  There’s nothing I love more than being unique.

9. Redheads don’t go gray as easily or, in most cases, at all.

Usually redheads go straight from red to blondish to white.

Jessica Chastain and her grandmother, a natural redhead.

Jessica Chastain and her grandmother, a natural redhead.

10. Redheads have a higher libido.

I want to keep this very family-friendly, but you’ve heard the rumors and if you’re a redhead reading this, you already know about our other super powers…in the bedroom.

11. Redheads are more likely to be left handed.

Scientists have also proven that left handed people live longer. 

12. Redheads are NOT going extinct.

This is a rumor.  Red hair may become rarer, but we will always be around.  Actually, there were redheaded neanderthals.

13. 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.

And since MC1R is a mutation, I guess that makes us X-men. *Wink Wink*

Redheads are fabulously unique and amazing.  Each and every one of us is beautiful. Rock it like a Redhead! 

Research derived from Everyday Health & Live Science. Main photo copyright of How to be a Redhead, shot at the Rock it like a Redhead Austin Event on April 30, 2015.