What Causes Red Hair

Daven Hiskey 65
Today I found out what causes people to have red hair.  It turns out, it is not because they are the spawn of Satan or otherwise evil at heart (Well, supposedly.  Everyone knows a group of red-heads known as “The Fire of Rankin”, lead by the Septi Caput Capitis counsel, secretly rules the world in Edinburgh, Scotland;  coincidentally this is where most of the “Red Head’s Aren’t Evil” research comes from.  Wake Up Sheeple!!!).**

In any event,  red heads get their distinctive hair color and inability to survive when sunlight hits their skin from being bitten by a vampire, but not having their blood all sucked dry… Or if you want to believe the Septi Caput Capitis funded Edinburgh researchers, it’s because of a little thing called the “Melancortin 1 Receptor” or MC1R for short.  Everyone has Melancortin 1 Receptors, but in red heads this is mutated (The cause of this is from their MC1R’s being twisted by dark arts and evil rights, which I shall not speak of here).

This mutation in the MC1R also causes them to have light skin from having less eumelanin pigmentation and more phaeomelanin pigmentation.  This is a genetic advantage for people living in parts of the world where there is little sunlight.  Having lighter skin lets more sunlight through, which stimulates the production of Vitamin D, which in turn is useful for preventing things like rickets and for fending off the holy hordes of heaven as they seek to destroy the black hearted gingers and rid us of their evil.

As anyone who’s been around a redhead knows though, having skin that won’t tan has decided disadvantages when the sun is out.  Putting a true redhead (as opposed to all those brown haired girls who like to call themselves redheads) in the sun for any length of time, tends to have the same effect as putting a fork in the microwave;  entertaining to watch, but not too pleasant for the fork.  This tends to lead to much higher rates of skin cancer and birth defects due to the sun destroying the levels of folic acid in their skin in addition to the normal number of birth defects you’d expect to see when a spawn of Satan breeds with their unholy brethren.

Evil Carrot TopMost redheads carry two mutated MC1R genes, one from their demonic father and one from their unholy mother.  In the case where someone only carries one copy of the mutated MC1R, they tend to end up having brown hair with light skin, though when female they will insist on telling everyone they are a redhead because when they apply their hair directly to the sun it has a minuscule reddish hue before it inevitably bursts into flames.  Seriously ladies, you have brown hair.  Accept it.  You likely only carry one of the two needed MC1R mutated genes.  Be happy about it.  Perhaps you won’t be cursed with the inevitable damnation that awaits all redheads when they die.

This mutated MC1R gene also happens to be recessive.  What this means is that you can carry one of the unholy genes, but be a more natural blond or brunette.  People who carry only one copy are known as “carriers” (like with a disease).  This is why a redhead can be born from two parents that aren’t redheads themselves.  Both parents have a functioning MC1R gene and a mutated evil version.  In this case, there is roughly a 25% chance that a child born from these two will be a spawn of Satan.    Other variations can also happen.  For instance, if one parent caries two copies of the mutated MC1R (and has therefore likely sold their soul to Satan) and another is only half evil, with one mutated MC1R and one normal, then there would be about a 50% chance that their child would be a redhead.

Interestingly, contrary to popular belief, redheads weren’t just located in Northern Europe throughout history.  In fact, there were pockets of peoples all over the world that had red hair.  From Russia to China to certain groups of Jews and many others; there are even references to indicate there were indigenous peoples of Africa with bright red hair.

Today though, Scotland has the highest proportional population of redheads at about 13% (primarily due to being the headquarters of the Fire of Rankin and the location of the Septi Caput Capitis counsel).  The most redheads in any nation though, is the United States (USA! USA! USA!) with about 15 million gingers.

The Archangel Michael Defeating Carrot TopSo if the world used to have pockets of redheaded people all over the place, but not so much now, what happened?  Well, the Archangel Michael and his angels managed to defeat most of the Fire of Rankin in the great battle of Feuergabelung on the northern borders of Germany at a time when the gingers were massing in order to try to take over the world openly, instead of just running things in the shadows as they’ve done for centuries.

Another reason is that now-a-days people are much more mobile than we were before.  We move around a lot.  Because of this and the fact that the redhead gene is recessive, even though the mutated gene itself is still being passed along, getting the two mutated copies necessary to produce a redheaded child is becoming much less likely.   Before this increased mobility, groups that had excessive amounts of people with this gene mutation, tended to stay in one spot; so inevitably pockets of redheads would pop up making it more likely that they’d in turn mate with other redheads as nobody moved around, thus perpetuating their particular brand of evil through the generations.

According to a 2007 study done by the Oxford Hair Foundation and funded by the hair dye maker Procter and Gamble who was trying to boost the sale of red hair dye, redheads will very soon become extinct.  This however has since been proved completely false for two reasons.  One, because there will always be new people in the world with only evil in their hearts, and two because the mutated gene itself is still being passed on, even when a redhead is not produced (often producing brown haired women who insist on telling everyone they are redheads).  So, while the numbers may continue to diminish by diffusification, the potential for a “redheaded step child” will remain for the foreseeable future.

Other fun Red Head Factoids:

  • Scientists in 2005 from the University of Edinburgh found that redheads have a higher tolerance for pain than normal people.  This is because the MC1R mutation triggers the excess release of Pheomelanin, the hormone that stimulates melanocytes and Pheomelanin also stimulates a brain receptor related to pain sensitivity.
  • Approximately 4% of the world’s population are redheads
  • Red hair and green eyes were once thought to be the sign of a witch, a werewolf, or a vampire  *looks at wife* I knew it!
  • Redheads are harder to sedate than any other group, using most common anesthetics; they require on average about 20% more anesthesia.
  • The average adult redhead with a full head of hair has fewer number of hairs on their head than people with other hair colors (brunettes having the most hairs on average).
  • In Corsica, if you pass a redhead in the street you are to spit and turn around.
  • In Greek mythology, redheads turn into Vampires when they die; in real life, they are Vampires from birth.

Insulting Nicknames for Red Heads:

  • Ginger
  • Tampon Tops
  • Red-Knobs
  • Fire Crotch
  • Ginger Streak
  • Freckle Face

Famous red-heads through history:

  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Winston Churchill
  • Galileo
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Richard the Lionheart
  • Eric the Red (shocker)
  • Queen Elizabeth the First
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Martin Van Buren
  • General Custer
  • Esau, brother of Jacob who was the patriarch and founder of the Israelites
  • King David
  • Mythological figure Achilles
  • Lord Shenzawai founder of the Fire of Rankin and high lord of the Septi Caput Capitis

**Disclaimer:  Before any redheads lambaste me with nasty emails and comments (with your fiery temper and general evil nature compelling you), it should be noted that my wife is a redhead; and not one of those brown haired ladies that call themselves redheads nor one of those red hair from dye redheads; no, in this case I can affirm that the carpet definitely matches the drapes and those are very red.  So kind of like how Jews get to make fun of Jews and make all sorts of offensive Jew jokes, and likewise dentists get to make dentist jokes and Catholics get to make Catholic jokes; by marriage, I get to make redhead jokes. :-)

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65 Comments »

  1. 'Nuff Said January 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    Yeah, that “redheaded brunette” thing seems vaguely familiar. Oh, wait, now I remember, my mom and sisters all do that. But craving hot weather (as I, a true ginger, do) and burning like insensibly unwatched bacon under the sun is a curse I wish upon no one [T^T], so I leave them to their pipe dreams.

  2. Rebecca Sinclair January 15, 2010 at 3:37 am - Reply

    ROFLMAO! I *loved* your piece. I have two spawns of Satan and am myself sometimes mistaken for one (thank you, Miss Clairol). I’m going to print out and pass on your enlightening words to my little devils (not so little anymore!) so they can find out exactly where their red hair did come from. Thanx for the info & the chuckle!

  3. klsmith January 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Wonderful. As a true ginger I enjoyed your facts. I am the spawn of two browns and always called the milkman’s baby. Every thing about pain and anesthesia is true also. My nick name was little devil growing up. Yes we do burn under a 40watt light bulb. Thanks.

  4. Sam January 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    lol at the carrot top pics and the nicknames!

  5. Darcie Dickey April 2, 2010 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I’m a redhead and nothing is different about me.

  6. Jamie December 9, 2010 at 2:37 am - Reply

    this is so hilarious! :D

  7. butterfly mann December 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Napoleon is from Corsica, did people ostracize him as a kid? maybe that’s why he had an inferiority complex and tried to conquer Europe.

    and what about Achilles? was he really a tampon top? when he died he didn’t become a vampire though… Silly greek mythology…

  8. logan December 24, 2010 at 7:49 am - Reply

    the funny thing is, Christina Hendricks in naturally a blonde

  9. Ron December 29, 2010 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    dark arts and evil *rites*, not “rights”.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven December 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm - Reply

      @Ron: Thanks! I’m the worst editor in the world. ;-)

  10. Chey. February 20, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    We will rule the world one day.

  11. jenbur March 6, 2011 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Funny, laugh all the way through. Born from two browns I went on to marry another red and produced three reds. I and my offspring find being attractive helps; any who tease in a less good hearted way, are then spurned and left without. Mawahahahahaha!

    • carolina January 23, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

      with four more you could make an awesome weasley team cosplay!

  12. Aubrey March 30, 2011 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Now i know this may sound crazy to the creator of this website but i am one of thoes “evil” redheads and although your point is interesting and informative yet boring i hate to dissapoint you. Us redheads are just like everyone else, we eat, sleep, and survive. No crazy evil spirits or devil worshiping here. And another fact that you might not have known is not all red heads burn in the sunlight, i myself am not half vampire and i can hold an awesome tan all summer. everything just depends on your genes and DNA. Maybe next time you should do a little more research. I don’t know what red head stole your man/woman or rejected you but try no to hate on them so much, kind makes you sound pathetic. we are just people like you and everyone else. BTW, i’ve been called every red head name in the book during my 25 years of life and never once hear ” tampon top” i think you made that one up

    • kimmy February 22, 2013 at 6:15 am - Reply

      All of the stuff about devils dark arts etc was obviously all a tongue-in-cheek joke. Stop being so uptight, people. No one actually thinks people have red hair because they’re the spawn or satan or were bit by vampires anymore than anyone actual believes blondes with blue eyes are the devil. The scientific part is fact, however. Go look it up. Natural redheads ARE genetically likelier to have a higher sensitivity to sunlight and a lower threshold for pain. Some may be a part of the exception but that doesn’t mean the research supporting the difference isn’t true. There are plenty of genetic differences that can be linked to OTHER genetic differences. It’s science. And for the record, it’s stupid to say it’s “racist” to make a joke about someone’s hair color. Racism targets a person’s RACE. Not the color of their hair or eyes or even their skin.

  13. Kim December 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Lmao! Love it! Just one thing. Only 1 1/2 – 2% of the world’s population are natural reds (including me). 4% is only America’s percentage. :-)

  14. Shawnie December 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    I know a few people who tell me I am not a “true” red head. I admit I am not a bright orange “ginger” or anything, but it kinda makes me sad that the less blinding variants get treated like we dun count. Like it’s our fault so many people forget what natural red can look like. I blame the unnatural shades they sell out of boxes for that. ;p
    Really though. I love my somewhere between ginger and auburn hair. :)

  15. Zack February 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    I myself am a true ginger, not brown at all and definitely not dyed, and i dont take offense to the ” ginger jokes” btw, i honestly think they are pretty funny, but ive been trying to figure out why i dont burn like all the others, i actually tan pretty well, not deep tan like some people but i definitely tan without burning, anyone know why this may be???

  16. Mom February 17, 2012 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Love it! This is great!

  17. Candice February 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    My sister and I are both red heads, although of a lighter version than a normal ginger. While not quite ginger, I still am unable to tan and burn viciously if I forget the spf 50 (30 and 40 won’t cut it since I live in the desert *shudders*). I was shocked at the beginning of your article until I realized it was a joke. You did a good job tying in the archaic views of ancient cultures.
    I think you did a very good job with your research. Its not like you were writing a dissertation for college, just a post on something you discovered.
    Good job

  18. Daven Hiskey
    Daven May 3, 2012 at 2:54 am - Reply

    @Aubrey: No redhead has wronged me, that I know of, and both my wonderful wife and one of my sisters is redheaded. The humor in this article was just injected to make a dry subject entertaining…. and to tease my wife and sisters, as well as my sister-in-law who’s one of those brown haired ladies who likes to think she has red hair. ;-)

  19. Julie May 3, 2012 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Love it! I personally love my new nickname of Ginger fire! Last time I went in for surgery they asked me if I was a real redhead and yes I am! I told him it would take more medicine to put me out and thankfully he agreed! I have had too many bad experiences with that! The Dentists always thought I was just crazy and love to be numbed! Thanks for the humor in this!

  20. cad August 1, 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

    So kind of like how Jews get to make fun of Jews and make all sorts of offensive Jew jokes, and likewise dentists get to make dentist jokes and Catholics get to make Catholic jokes; by marriage, I get to make redhead jokes.

    FALSE, Only a ginger, can call another ginger, ginger.

    Listen to me if you care for your health, don’t call me ginger unless you’re ginger yourself.

  21. Me August 11, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    People stop this trash! Redheads are bullied and picked on because we are different. We are one percent of the population, and it is so rare for me to meet fellow redheads. I was recently in a room with over 2,000 people, and among them there were only about 2 or 3 redheads, myself included.
    And like Cad said, don’t call me ‘ginger’ or ‘carrots’ unless you’re a redhead too.
    It’s racist, to make fun of redheads for their hair color. It’s as bad as telling an African American they aren’t a person because of their skin color. Because we’re all human. Just because we look different doesn’t mean you have any right to discriminate us.

    Stop the hate and discrimination!

    • Shannon August 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      I’m a ginger myself, and i was bullied but i think the fact that you take offense to ginger jokes is stupid because most of the people that say them mean no harm. and racism has to do with your RACE, it has nothing to do with hair color.

  22. Calamity Lulu September 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Actually, red heads are MORE sensitive to pain because of the MC1R mutation, not less.

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/surgeries-procedures/redhead-anesthesia1.htm

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey September 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm - Reply

      @Calamaity Lulu: It actually depends on the type of pain. A couple recent studies have seemed to indicate that redheads are more sensitive to thermal pain, but less sensitive to a variety of other types of pain, such as electric shock, cuts, and pressure related pain, as was noted in a recent study done by Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University’s pain laboratory. Here’s a couple other studies you can read more about this: Increased Sensitivity to Thermal Pain… and Melancortin-1 recepter…

  23. Mylillian October 2, 2012 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Well, everything you wrote is so true. ;) my hair couldn’t be more firy-red, 10 minutes in the California Sun can kill me, I hate dentists because they never give me the right amount of anesthesia and I have to suffer through the painful proceedures , and I am very evil because I can men make loose their will! ;)

  24. Kayli October 29, 2012 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I though this article was a joke. who cares if people have red hair we are no different. I myself am a natural red head and like previous commenter’s I have never even heard of “tampon-top” , so idk where you got that one from. We are not evil or the a spawn of satan. You give some good facts i’ll give it to you , however you need to do A LOT more research because you sound uneducated about red heads and ridiculous. Also just because your wife and sister are redheads doesn’t give you the right to make fun and pick at red heads , that’d be like me saying because my boyfriend is black i can make black jokes. No it is not right , just because we have different hair color doesn’t make us any different from someone who has brown or blonde hair.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey October 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm - Reply

      @kayli: “just because we have different hair color doesn’t make us any different from someone who has brown or blonde hair.” False. You have different color hair. Thus, your hair makes at least 1 difference. Q.E.D. ;-)

  25. Michelle January 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I loved your article.. laughed all the way thru it.. my father is a “spawn of Satan” but my mother was only half evil.. but 3 out of 4 of us are redheaded.. we used to call my little sister the milkman’s kid because she was the only one without red hair.. :P

  26. Cherie February 18, 2013 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Totally amusing. Thanks for the giggle.

  27. Sev May 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    @cad – lol Tim :D And as far as the article went, had a huge laugh, well done. Gonna pass this on to my matchstick girlfriend ;)

  28. Natalie May 21, 2013 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Both my sisters are redheads and so is my youngest son. I am a brunette. I adore gingers and the fact that them being ginger is ‘unique’. My cousin used to tell my sisters that due to the excessive water on their brains, everything inside was rusting and that is why they had red hair. Thank you for a very entertaining read! Will be passing this on to my “blisters” (sisters) and every other ginger I know!

  29. red June 13, 2013 at 2:05 am - Reply

    The resistance to numbing and knock out stuff is true. I’ve experienced it three times in my life and remember all three vividly!

    First time was when I was having bottom front baby teeth removed by a dentist. He numbed me by giving me a shots in my gum but it didn’t take. Wasn’t too bad though since it was just baby teeth. The shots hurt worse than the pulling.

    Second time was when I was 10 or so and was having a slither of paint removed from under my Big Toe [from an old led paint water slide at a beach]. Doctor numbed the toe and drilled into the base of the nail in order to remove enough of the nail to get the paint out. THAT WAS PAINFUL. I was under so much stress and strained so much [clinched my teeth] that a patch of my head hair fell out a few days later [about the size of a silver dollar - but it grew back]. I remember my dad standing over me crying – I guess he was crying for me – because I never did. The pain was way passed the point of crying. I just straaaained.

    The last time was when I was 18 or 19 and was put to sleep to have my wisdom teeth cut out. I awoke at some point midway through and sat straight up. All I remember was seeing white lab coats and a hand coming over my face pushing me down. I didn’t feel anything [thank god!] but just woke up. I bet it shocked the crap out the Ortho and assistants.

    That toe was one was the baddy tho… I’m going on 39 now … and looking back – my parents could’ve sued the living daylights out of that place but they weren’t too bright and things like that just didn’t occur to them. I’ve wondered recently if my bruxism might have something to do with that incident though. I clinch my teeth in my sleep so bad that my gum bones have grown from the pressure. If years from now someone digs up my jaws they are going to think I was deformed or had a very stressful life!

    • Yer Pal October 25, 2013 at 8:51 am - Reply

      “A slither of paint”? Do you mean a sliver?

  30. Jem July 12, 2013 at 1:21 am - Reply

    I read your comment on the bottom and though I get the Satan/evil jokes – I feel like there were way too many for me to read this article for the legitimate information. I had to weed through all those jokes to get to the point. Less would be better I think- thank you ^^

  31. Jules August 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    LOVED this article. I am one of those brunettes with a hint of red in the sun (recessive trait, there are about 5 redheads in the family) but I married a true red, so I hope for little devil babies one day! Both of us also have green eyes, so maybe werewolf babies aren’t too much to ask for!

  32. Carlisy October 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Holy crap I AM dying! This was hilarious.

  33. Carl McVey December 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    My dream woman must have red hair, I’m crazy about red heads.

  34. Alan December 5, 2013 at 7:09 am - Reply

    Dumb blonde and ginger jokes are racist. They are allowed to pass where other racist jokes would not be allowed because these jokes will give an inferiority complex to kids who don’t look like everybody else in a diverse (black-haired) environment.

    Whites who laugh at these jokes and even create them are block-headed.

  35. Janine December 22, 2013 at 2:31 am - Reply

    It was funny at first, the whole “redheads are demonic” thing, but it got old pretty quickly, about a few paragraphs in. You decided to milk that joke way past its expiration date. I get it. We’re evil. It’s hard to concentrate on the scientific validity of your article when every other sentence is about Satan.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey December 22, 2013 at 2:50 am - Reply

      @Janine: If you thought the jokes went on too long in the article, you should see my wife. A dozen years now and she still is having to put up with the redhead jokes. I consider it a perk of marrying a child of the underworld. ;-)

  36. Kui January 30, 2014 at 11:44 am - Reply

    interesting article, but i couldn’t finish it due to all the red head bashing. It was almost funny the first couple times but the insults kept coming, so relentless. Gonna look for another article elsewhere to explain the same subject.

  37. golu patel February 9, 2014 at 4:19 am - Reply

    i habe only red beard not fully redhead what does it means????

  38. fallen April 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    I am a red head,i new my dad had a demon he admits it and my mom was mean,so they got together made me-then one day i found out that my grandparents belong to illuminati so i am joining soon they told me the red hair came from the fallen angels and also told me that most angels have red hair god made noah blond but he had red haired kids cause god chose them and the i found out jesus had red hair so red hair comes from the most high for his chosen chosen ,reed bible soon only ones left will be red head (nwo) hitler was a blond with hair die ,you was close cain had red hair it was the mark of the beast also,either you take the mark of the beast or be headed soon,it has to have the right marks on it or else get some redhead666 in a bottle made by the beast

  39. Howard Blair May 4, 2014 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    “the holy hoards of heaven” *hordes*; hoards are piles of treasure….or junk, if you’ve watched “Hoarders.”

    “…when a spawn of Satan breads with their unholy brethren.” What does breading have to do with Satan? Oh, you meant “breeds.”

    You seriously need a proofreader.

    • Daven Hiskey
      Daven Hiskey May 4, 2014 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      @Howard Blair: Don’t I know it. ;-) To be fair, I rarely write anymore, and it’s much easier to edit my writer’s work than my own. Typos still get through, but not nearly as often as when I was editing my own stuff. :-) Thanks for catching those and mentioning them, by the way.

  40. stephanie June 17, 2014 at 8:30 am - Reply

    im a natural redhead and I kind of find this offensive, its not like I had a choice to be soulless

  41. RedRedMane August 14, 2014 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Vampires ( TRUE vampires ) don’t really have black hair like the Romanians. Vampires have blood red hair so dark that it only LOOKS black!!! In the daylight ( yes, they can and do survive in sunlight. It’s just that they cannot STAND being in the sunlight!!! Force one out into the sunlight, and you’ll get your face ripped right out of your foolish HEAD!!! ) … in the sunlight, a vampire’s hair will have a blood red “tinge” to it. If you “bleach” a vampire’s hair THREE TIMES, it will look very VERY Ginger!!!

  42. Jen September 13, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Redheads are beautiful. I love the pigment challenged. The lighter the better.

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