All redhead women have heard brunette, blonde and black-haired men say, “I have red in my beard.” It’s definitely their way to relate to the women with flowing red locks.
But it’s true.
Many men, no matter their color, usually have a touch of red in their beards. There’s even a slang term for this: “Gingerbeard”.
According to Urban Dictionary, Gingerbeard means: “A dude with brown, black, or blonde hair, who when he grows a beard, it is entirely red, or red in patches.”
Studies show that two in five men have redheaded beards.
Vice magazine spoke to Petra Haak-Bloem, from Erfocentrum, the Dutch national information center for genetics and hereditary traits. He said, “The genes that determine hair color are so-called ‘incomplete dominant hereditary traits.’ This means that there isn’t one single gene that’s dominant over the rest, but all genes influence each other.”
So, all the genes that determine hair color are out for themselves so this allows for a lot of possibility; and can differ from the top of your head, to your underarms.. to your beard.
Haak-Bloem continued, “Generally speaking, people inherit hair color not only from their parents, but also from their grandparents and earlier ancestors. So it’s entirely possible that one distant ancestor had a hair color that suddenly appears again though a certain combination of genes–and that can be quite unexpected for parents.”
But, why exactly do some men have red beards?
It turns out the shade of hair is determined by the amount of melanin (pigment) in the hair and your personal DNA encodes this.
And, us redheads know all about the MC1R gene. The gene that makes our red hair, red!
Haak-Bloem explains the MC1R gene sayign, “More than a decade ago, researchers discovered that one gene (MC1R) on chromosome 16 plays an important part in giving people red hair. MC1R’s task is making a protein called melanocortin 1. That proteine plays an important part in converting pheolmelanine into eumelanine. When someone inherits two mutated versions of the MC1R-gene (one from each parent), less pheomelanine is converted into eumelanine. The feomelanine accumulates in the pigment cells and the person ends up with red hair and fair skin.”
Think it’s confusing? Well, most men have red hair in their their genetics; dating back to their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents.. or further. The gingerbeard comes from someone in the family with red hair — and instead of it being on the head (or perhaps on the head, too), the gene chose the beard!
It all makes sense now, right? It seems to us that this is further evidence that redheads are definitely not going extinct. Does anyone in your family have a redhead beard? Share with them and comment below.
Rock it like a Redhead!
Main Photo: Model, Kristofer Hivju