Throughout history, redheads have been feared and revered, loathed and adored, degraded and exalted. No other single human trait has provoked such a dichotomy of emotions in such a large number of fellow humans. It is as boiling is to freezing or despair is to hope. It is as hate is to love.
The Bad Myths
Long before the study of genetics, the rarity of red hair led to the creation of magical and wildly imaginative explanations. Ancient Greeks decided their Thracian neighbours were especially warmongering and bloodthirsty because they were flame-haired. At some point in history a dichotomy of sorts emerges: men with red hair were up to no good, with several notable paintings depicting Judas with red hair, for example, while during the reign of Elizabeth I, women fell over themselves in their efforts to dye their hair the same colour as the queen. Science eventually intervened, although it was only in that scientists identified the gene responsible for red hair; the melanocortin 1 receptor MC1R protein. Having two copies of this gene triggers the production of high levels of the red pigment phaeomelanin and reduced levels of the dark pigment eumelanin, resulting in the classic fair skin, freckles, light-coloured eyes and red hair. However, in northern climes, such as Ireland and Scotland, this rises above 10 per cent. The medical world was not above contributing to redhead myths: although almost certainly apocryphal, I remember being warned on several occasions during training to keep a close eye on patients with red hair as they were likely to bleed excessively postsurgery. Subcutaneous lidocaine lignocaine was significantly less efficacious in the red-haired cohort, who were also more sensitive to the perception of pain from cold and heat than the control group. According to Collis Harvey, people with red hair produce more adrenaline than non-redheads and their bodies access it more speedily, making the transition to the fight-or-flight response more natural for them than for others.
All gingers are Caucasian
That's approximately million people. That's according to a study by a German sex researcher who found that women with red hair had sex more often. A similar English study found that redhead gals had sex an average of three times a week, while our blonde and brunette counterparts have it twice a week. Shame the fellas weren't questioned, too. Because it holds its pigment tighter than any other hair colour, red strands need to have their pigment stripped before being dyed by bleaching which, of course, damages the hair. Stay red! Each strand of red hair is generally thicker than other shades which compensates for the fact that redheads have less hair. Apparently they have — on average — 90, strands while blondes have ,, and brunettes have , Because of their commonly fair skin and sensitivity to ultraviolet light, redheads are more likely to develop skin cancer. The International Journal of Cancer reported in that natural redheads are approximately two and a half times as likely to develop the dangerous cancer as people with other hair hues.
The redheaded stepchild. The insatiable ginger girl-next-door. The wimpy redhead who can't handle going to the dentist. The list of stereotypes and myths about our beloved red-haired brethren go on for miles, often maligning those with a fiery crown of flowing locks. For as long as human culture has been documented, redheads have walked among us, often bearing the brunt of the ire of everyone else's perception of them. And for as many freckles that dot their skin, so too are there weird falsehoods in circulation, speculating about everything from the most intimate details to the most obvious things. But it should come as no surprise that many of the weird rumors and legends that are propagated about gingers aren't always true.