19 Aug Redheads Going Extinct?
Good bye, redheads? Say it ain’t so!
Aveda offers a variety of products for hair care including coloring, design and hair therapy. Needless to say, we work with clients of all hair colors…including redheads.
A recent research article about redheads caught our eye – it basically said that redheads were going extinct. So we put on our scientific hats and dug a little deeper into it. Here is a fun read on what we found:
Climate change is affecting the way people live and where they live, the ripple effect touching every part of human existence. It appears one special target is the redhead.
Scientists are at odds about the effect global warming will have on the MC1R on chromosome 16, the gene responsible for causing the color red in hair. Changing weather patterns will result in either more cloudiness or less, both of which will make the appearance of red hair and very fair skin less useful in human evolution.
Redheads and Vitamin D
Right now redheads have the advantage when it comes to Vitamin D. It is easier for the human body to absorb this nutrient from sunlight when the skin is very fair, a trait that appears with red hair.
This is very useful in northern climates, where sunlight is rare during the long winters. It helps to explain the large number of redheads in Germany, Scotland, Ireland and northern England.
Is it true?
Scientists disagree about the possible extinction of the redheaded gene. There was strong interest when a study released its findings recently. But other scientists are asking about the origins and methods of the study, which was apparently funded by Proctor and Gamble, a conglomerate that makes numerous hair dyes.
With over 40 million redheads in the world, it would take a long time for them to reach the point of extinction. And researchers claim that it would still be present as a recessive gene in numerous people, even if red hair became less common.
So it won’t die out any time soon, a relief to redheads and those who love them.
There are many myths about people who have red hair. It is commonly assumed they have hot tempers and passionate personalities. It is often said they are unlucky, a claim they hotly deny. One of the more preposterous legends has it that they are the result of the coupling of aliens and early humans.
Redheads and their fair skin have always stood out in a crowd over the centuries. The ancient Romans thought so highly of them that they were willing to pay highest for a slave with red hair.
Medically, redheads are more prone to skin cancer, a direct result of their fair skin. It absorbs the harmful UV rays from the sun much more readily than other types of skin. In surgery, they need about 20% more anesthesia than other people.
If you know someone with red hair and blue eyes, you have met one of the select few. Only one percent of the human population has this color combination.
Characteristics of red hair
Hair stylists know that people with red hair need special care. For example, the hair of redheads resists standard dyes and hair color procedures. It takes a lot more work to do a good job when a redhead wants to change her color.
Interestingly, they have less hair on their heads, though the strands are thicker, perhaps as a way to offset this fact.
One advantage they have is that they don’t go grey. The color simply fades to rose and copper and then silver or white.
So it seems that redheads aren’t going anywhere soon. They are a distinctive part of the human community. If you’re a natural redhead or one that is pretending to be, our Aveda Madder Root Shampoo is designed specifically for red hair. One of its features is keeping your red highlights around for a longer time. Ask your stylist for more information!