By: Christine Bertan
Redheads, do you ever feel like you’re the only bright personality in bitter cold, dark months? Do you see the beauty in even the gloomiest of mornings and tackle tasks with the same vigor as your red locks?
Cold weather and darker days can really get people down. Seriously. Winter can bring on bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Those feeling the effects may go about their day feeling empty, hopeless, or irritable. SAD is caused by decreased sunlight absorption, which coincides with the dark months of winter. Treatment can include light therapy and anti-depressants with symptoms abating once spring and summer roll around.
A study has proven redheads could be protected against SAD because of the MC1R gene, the gene responsible for red hair, pale skin, and freckles.
Yes, you heard me right!
The ‘ginger gene’ could be saving us from depression and sadness during the cold months. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, mutations in the MC1R gene increase a redhead’s sensitivity to sunlight. That sensitivity is keenly felt in the summer months when sunscreen and large-brimmed hats are essential, but it also protects moods in the winter and defends against SAD.
The mutations causing red hair and pale skin are thought to originate in dark and rainy climates; this is thought to help redheads absorb natural sunlight and produce Vitamin D — even in constantly cloudy conditions. A redhead’s skin is therefore wired to absorb sunlight even in the dimmest environments. Redheads are thought to soak up rays easier, boosting and maintaining a bright mood.
Genetics definitely give redheads the edge in winter. So, while others may be struggling to keep a positive attitude before the jump into spring, redheads will make a vibrant transition: with a bright outlook matching the fire in their hair.
Rock it like a Redhead!