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.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

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 

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

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*

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

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.

  • Anna

    Yikes! I never knew that fact about melanoma before, which means I should probably go and get a mole checked out that has got darker in colour but I never really thought anything about as I don’t go out in the sun much…

    • I am a redhead but always tanned. My mom says even as a toddler. I have had a precancerous spot removed, two basal cell spots, and a squamous that required a two inch incision and stitches. I sit outdoors less and now have a severe vitamin D deficiency, for which the meds are horrible. The sun doesn’t scare me. I like the color and the freckles.

  • Penelope

    Most of the facts seem a bit negative

    • Astra

      I thought this, too. Brings you down a bit. I decided to ignore the negatives because all fair people are vulnerable to that disease.
      Seems cruel to keep banging on about this on these red head sites. Since red head people have been around so very, very long on this earth, I’d say these disease threats are being overplayed. Makes you wonder who’s writing them.

      • Fed up

        For most of human history the average lifespan has been approximately 30 though.

  • Haha these are all very true!

  • Stephanie

    I’m always surprised at how many redheads aren’t aware of the elevated risk of skin cancer. Unfortunately, as a kid, I never wore sunscreen, and now my doctor is very concerned that I will develop it, especially since melanoma killed my dad. Keep yourselves covered! We don’t need tans to be beautiful… we have our hair!

  • Kim

    In reading facts about almost everything there will be positives and negatives. As a mother of a very REDHEAD daughter I was glad to get the facts both ways. Better to be informed and aware then hide the truths. After reading the comments, I went back and read through all 13 points. It was almost a 50/50 split from my perception. #1,2,3,4,5,11 Negative and #6,7,8,9,10,12,13 Positive. I feel this article was helpful and sometimes we all have to accept the good and the bad to be honest. I LOVE BEING THE MOM OF A REDHEAD!!! GO REDHEADS!!!

  • Evan Hammerman

    he he My Mom, a brother, and his son are redheads. I have some red hair but most people don’t get to see it. My mom and my redhead brother are both pain med addicts. My mom is left-handed, as was my dad, and as I. My dad was a very lucky guy from what I am reading here! Also my mom is seventy-eight, but she isn’t gray, just faded red.

  • Sandy

    Do red heads mostly have blue or brown eyes?

    • Cathy

      I am a redhead with green eyes

    • Tamara

      I am a redhead with blue eyes….I began my life as a super white blonde and it changed to strawberry blonde then Auburn.
      My eyes do have a green like quality at times…

    • Kelly

      I am a redhead with brown eyes, fair skin, covered in wonderful freckles. I started as a strawberry blonde from a baby, and my hair darkened to an auburn shade. My freckles seem to slightly fade and clump together during the winter and pop out again when I get in the sun.

    • Emma

      I’m a redhead with Blue eyes, but theyve changed to more of a gray since i was a kid.

    • I am a redhead but always tanned. My mom says even as a toddler. I have had a precancerous spot removed, two basal cell spots, and a squamous that required a two inch incision and stitches. I sit outdoors less and now have a severe vitamin D deficiency, for which the meds are horrible. The sun doesn’t scare me. I like the color and the freckles.

    • The most consistent redhead eye is gray with a green cast brought out by clothing color, jewelry, and, so I have heard, mood. The outer edge of the iris is a ring of steel blue. Blue eyed redheads are least common, and brown eyed redheads prob got the color from a non-Celtic relative.

  • Kelly

    I am a redhead with brown eyes, fair skin, covered in wonderful freckles. I started as a strawberry blonde from a baby, and my hair darkened to an auburn shade. My freckles seem to slightly fade and clump together during the winter and pop out again when I get in the sun.
    Some of the things in this article apply to me, some do not, but I don’t see it as negative…

  • Pingback: Redhead Gene Makes You Look Younger()

  • Pingback: Do Redheads Have A Scent? — How to be a Redhead()

  • Pingback: 3 Reasons Why You Should Love Redhead Season()

  • This is helpful as I’m writing a book with a main character who is a fiery redhead changing the world. Some of these ideas were already in her character (pain sensitive, high libido, uniquely unique) and others may be adopted. Thank you!

  • Pingback: Why I am Proud To Be a Redhead()

  • A lot of these facts I knew, plus, i’m actually a redhead with blue eyes, which means me and and a few more redheads have the rarest hair and eye combo ever!

  • Eliana

    These are so true, a little negative but true.

  • Stella

    I am a redhead who tans with kind of olive skin, have no freckles and green-brown eyes. Am Norwegian

  • I’m a redhead with brown eyes. Very fair skinned and freckles. I’m 100%. Italian. Including my redheaded parents and parental grandfather. Love the informative article on us redheads. Thank you. Keep them coming!

  • Pingback: 5 Redhead Personality Traits()