Causation Of Hair In Red Color

Hair has long been a topic of interest to people throughout the world. The color, texture, style, and length come up often in conversation. There is one particular coloration of hair that is almost universally associated with one region of the world despite it actually being a part of many. The naturally red-haired human being is a rare creature. They are often referred to as “titian” or “gingers”. While science has a very specific reason for this physical trait there have been many other reasons cited for its existence for hundred of generations. Most of these folklore explanations have been negative and often incredibly insulting.


Scientifically speaking red-haired has been determined to be caused by a single gene on the sixteenth chromosomal strand of human DNA. This recessive gene affects the MC1R protein which determines color based on two chemicals pheomelanin and eumelanin.

These two types of melanin intermix to create protein strands which eventually becomes hair color. Pheomelanin generates lighter colors such as red and blonde hair. Eumelanin generates darker colors such as black and brown.

Advertisements

When these two melanin types appear they determine the coloration of the hair. With a very low Eumelanin amount and a higher Pheomelanin production hair will become red. There are several differing thoughts among the scientific community as to the origin of these gene that range from the largely discounted acquisition of it from intermixing of homo sapiens sapiens with homo neanderthalensis to negative selection. The red-haired gene evidenced in that cousin species to modern cro-magnon humanity has been determined to be a different type of mutation that the one that exists within homo sapiens sapiens. Negative selection is a concept that dictates that the red haired mutation survived in northern Caucasians because the environment didn’t select against it. Red hair and fair skin would have caused incredible hardship in an area like Africa but in the far north it didn’t cause as many issues and the fair skin simply aided in the acquisition of vitamin D.

While non-pathological genetics are considered the general reason why this rare hair coloring exists it is not the only reason. There are actually several types of genetic disorder, disease, and injury that can cause hair to turn red.

A disease known as Kwashiorkor and similar protein deficiencies can cause hair to turn red. Severe malnutrition will cause the hair to change from a darker color to red or possibly blond due to lack of protein and chemical shifts within the body as it tries to stave off starvation.

There is a type of albinism known as “Rufous” albinism that afflicts individuals of African Decent as well as some from New guinea that also causes red hair and red skin to occur. It is also generally found in individuals with a deficiency in pro-opiomelanocortin. This is a precursor polypeptide that controls several factors of physicality. Mutations in this gene have been cited as being causes for obesity and adrenal insufficiency as well as pigmentation it can cause.

What do you think about this post?

17 Comments »
    • Ranga wrote:
      Mea RANGA

    • XPickles wrote:
      I am a redhead and so is my younger sister...my younger sister's hair makes my hair look almost blond her's is so copper penny/brick red! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! My hair has natural strawberry blond highlights and it is one of the gifts I was given in my beauty arsenal...some women have great legs, great shoulders, etc...one of mine is my hair. My sisters hair is also naturally spiral curly and she hates it...mine is naturally spiral wavy and I permed my hair for many years before realizing that it was wavy naturally...it was the desire to have tighter curls like my younger sis...YEP, redheads do have a temper...but don't all us vixens?! that's the only truth to any of the folklore...

    • Lorena wrote:
      what does you going to the grocery store have anything to do with red hair?

    • Anonymous wrote:
      <i>I am a redhead and so is my younger sister…my younger sister’s hair makes my hair look almost blond her’s is so copper penny/brick red! ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! My hair has natural strawberry blond highlights and it is one of the gifts I was given in my beauty arsenal…some women have great legs, great shoulders, etc…one of mine is my hair. My sisters hair is also naturally spiral curly and she hates it…mine is naturally spiral wavy and I permed my hair for many years before realizing that it was wavy naturally…it was the desire to have tighter curls like my younger sis…YEP, redheads do have a temper…but don’t all us vixens?! that’s the only truth to any of the folklore…</i> +1

    • Sophia wrote:
      I'm a natural red head and I absolutely love it! Yeah, not being able to naturally tan and having to use fake-bakes in the summer can be annoying, but it's worth it. My colour is aburn but with a lot of red and gold. The natural highlights (I have never dyed my hair or gotten highlights) are a goldish red. It is naturally curly, but straightens very well. I'm a very lucky girl! Since my eyes are a green-blue-and-gold colour, they compliment my hair very well. Again, I'm very, very lucky because there is only one other red head in my family! Redheads are also very lucky because instead of going grey like brunettes and blondes, we go sandy brown, then white :) GO GINGERS! :P

    • Yeaaaa! wrote:
      My hubbies a TALL redhead. I'm a small brunette. It's very fun :)

    • Chelsea wrote:
      I also have red hair.. nobody else in my family (and i'm not adopted) has red hair.. and when i say nobody not an aunt or cousin. I'm not irish either i'm 25% each german hungarian italian & french. My hair is wavy/curly and i get natural highlights but put more blonde in. I tan pretty easily except my face doesn't get very dark. My eyes are an ocean blue they vary from blue, blue/gray, to blue/green. Anyone with similarities?

    • Waka Waka wrote:
      Oh man, seriously.. If I wasn't a brunette... I'd wanna be a redhead; hands down! Except I wouldn't put any blonde highlights in it. No way! I'd just let it excite everyone in it's bold beauty.. A color psychologist would tell you that this is no surprise: red is the color that makes people hungry. Red also makes people excited, energetic, and increases the heart rate! I know what I'm gonna die my hair later on in life.... ;)

    • Alice wrote:
      I hate being a redhead,, everyone just teases you and calls you ranga,, no one understans that only 2% of the world is redhaired naturally and that soon it could die out, and my "friends" all tell me to dye my hair,, i wouldnt mind my hair normally because nobody else has it but because its different people make fun of it and i have a low self esteem so i just can't take the criticism,, other red heads dont dye your hair!!! ITS BBEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

    • name wrote:
      You know what you should do? Cry! make them feel guilty! lol

    • Chelsea wrote:
      what you should do is not let anyone know it bothers you and eventually it wont - use your hair to your advantage - wear colors like blue ivory and brown they're they best for redheads.. and plus they're probably just jealous once you get older you'll see that people would kill to be a natural redhead!

    • Chelsea wrote:
      and i've never the pubic hair comments either. i mean who really gives a crap what color your hair is? black brown blonde red? a lot of people shave it off anyway... i think red would look better than a thick,dark brown or black anyway which pretty much everyone else is...!

    • ash wrote:
      I have red hair and used to hate it! I would get made fun of so I would dye it. Now I love it bc it's so different! I can tan very easily as well!

    • kelly wrote:
      I am a 13 year old natural redhead with frizzy hair that i tame by straightening. Guys in my grade make fun of it by calling me a "ginger". At first i was pretty offended and upset by this but now i have learned to ignore it. Also, if you have conversations about who you will look good with they probably won't say anyone because they think that you have to have the same hair color as your partner, which isn't true!!!!!! Y'all are lucky for those of you who said you have blue/green eyes! I'm thinking of getting eye contacts so i can have gorgeous eyes! My eye color is copperish brown that have a fiery color mixed in, but i'd much rather have blue eyes! My legs, arms, and especially stomach can get pretty tan, but my face never does!! I don't understand why, but this summer my goal is to get an all over tan, fake or not. I love being a redhead because i'm always remembered and i stand out! In fact, at our cotillion, the guy looked through the crowd and chose MEEEEE to be his dance partner, and he was the instructor! I got to dance infront of everyone! THANK YOU RED HAIR!!!! <3

    • Chelsea wrote:
      kelly your eyes sound like theyre very pretty.. and don't worry too much about tanning - i used to be like that but tanning is overated and your skin will be with you forever while a tan fades. and yes one of the best things about being a redhead is being able to stand out.. good for you=)

    • name wrote:
      If you need to tan use the moisturizers. They're alot more even than spray tan and sun tans and it's good for skin. They even have sunblock in them (for which you will thank yourself later). It isn't for everybody though, do a patch test on your jawline or something if you have sensitive skin. Make sure you're not allergic first. I can't use tanning moisturizers because it gives me pimples because I have oilyish skin, but if it works for you, go for it.

    • Lucretia wrote:
      I'm 23 and I LOVE my red hair. I've realized growing up that other females my age don't approach me, but guys of every age and race are always approaching me. In my experience guys LOVE red hair. I've been told that people think redheads are scary and hard to approach. I don't feel scary. I'm really nice. No one really made fun of my red hair but they made fun of my freckles quite often along with being really pale. I'm extremely pale with naturally really pink lips. I barely have any freckles compared to many redheads, or freckled people in general. People actually TELL me that I dye my hair because I dont have enough freckles to be a redhead. I think the fact that teachers/adults always told me how beautiful my hair was, made other girls insecure. Anyone older than me loves my hair, the older I get the more people my age appreciate it. It grows insanely fast and is wavy. It's somewhere between a strawberry blonde and a copper color with an orange tone. I often tell people it's not red, it's orange. I have green/blue blue blue/grey eyes with a few golden specks mixed in. Being a redhead is a huge part of my identity. I don't have to say or do anything, and people notice me. I recently started taking Ultra Nourish-Hair and a little over two weeks into it I've found quite a bit of new growth scattered around, unfortunately a lot of the new growth is shiny white! And yes, I did yank a few out :) I'm really upset and I'm going to stop taking the supplement. I'm a really low maintenance mascara and chapstick girl, but if I'm going to be excessively white in my mid 20's I'll become a crazed hair dying lady. I love my hair color too much to have it taken away! Any advice?

    Please, leave your comment for this post bellow:

    Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

Get Our Tips Right To Your Email For Free! subscribe
Enter your email: