Samantha Newman

Survival of the Fittest: 5 Reasons Why Redheads are Scientifically Superior

Let’s face it; redheads have had it pretty hard. Most of us can admit to holding our hands above our ginger friends’ hair in winter or asking if their favourite Harry Potter character was a Weasley.  But it turns out that the blondes vs brunettes argument has officially been settled, with scientists indicating that your ginger friend might have the upper hand. Not a believer? Have a read of these five scientific facts.

  1. They have a more accurate sense of temperature

Sure, redheads are a minority, but if your ginger friend tells you that the office is cold they will generally be right, and it all comes down to genetics. The genes that cause red hair also allow their hosts to detect temperature changes more accurately, specifically the cold[1].

  1. They age like a fine wine

Do you ever find yourself looking at a ginger celebrity like Prince Harry or Scarlett Johansson and thinking ‘god they look great for their age!’ You’re not going crazy…

While it turns out that redheads don’t have their own secret the fountain of youth, they were indeed born with something just as valuable. As researchers from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam suggest that a variant of the MC1R gene, the exact gene that causes ginger hair, is also the gene that keeps some people looking more youthful than others. Studies indicate that people with red hair will often look an average two years younger than they actually are[2].

This comes with an additional anti-ageing bonus – due to the level of pigment in the individual hair stands, redheads statistically retain their colour for longer than any other shade.Even when the colour eventually does fade, it will often go blonde before it goes grey.

  1. Gingers are tough

It comes as no surprise that gingers are tough. Now we know why – it’s in the DNA! Genetics testing by Professor Lars Arendt-Nielson of the Centre for Sensory-Motor Interaction at the Aalborg University have shown us that people with red hair react to pain in different ways than other hair colours. Arendt-Nielson concludes that “MCR1 is involved in central functions in the brain, and we know that subgroups like MC2R, MC3R and MC4R, which are also linked to redheads, have considerable involvement in brain functions”[3]. Meaning that their chemistry makes them less susceptible to things like spicy foods and stinging skin pain. Two things I would hope would never interact.

  1. They have a genetic weapon

Nearly every redhead has heard the joke that they could burn in the shade. Well, it turns out there is a positive flip side to this. Research shows that because people with ginger hair often don’t absorb sufficient amounts of Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin, their bodies have learnt how to create the vitamin without stepping outside the house. This enables them to fight off deadly illnesses such as Ricketts better than any other hair colour and means they are less likely to develop diabetes, asthma or arthritis from having low vitamin D.[4]

  1. Some Stereotypes Are Good.

With great hair comes great responsibility and all hair types have taken their share. Two university professors concluded in a 1986 study[5] that redheads can often be stereotyped negatively simply because they are rare ­- meaning that the entire world is jealous of your gorgeous locks. And despite negate stereotypes attempting to hold gingers back, it was found that redheaded women were seen as more competent and successful than other hair colours. The Redheaded women of the world are pushing back against ancient labels and making their way in the world as rare unicorn lady bosses.

This article celebrates the return of the Ginger Pride Rally, hosted by Buderim Ginger, a festival that promotes the uniqueness of all things redhead! The Ginger Pride Rally will be held at Federation Square in Melbourne from 11am on 29 April.

Registration opens at 9:30am that day. To sign up, visit

To sign up, visit The Ginger Net.

@BuderimGinger #GoGinger #OzGingerRally

HERO_IMAGE Ginger Rally

[1]EB Liem, TV Joinder, K Tsueda, DI Sessler, Increased sensitivity to thermal pain and reduced subcutaneous lidocaine efficacy in redheads, Anesthesiology. 2005.

[2] Liu et. Al, The MC1R Gene and Youthful Looks, Current Biology. 2016.

[3] Hoffman, Redheads feel a different kind of pain, Science Nordic. 2012.

[4] Rees, Red Hair is (Not) Dying Out, Reestheskin. 2011.

[5] Helms et. Al, ,Hair Color Stereotyping and CEO Selection in the United Kingdom, The Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. 2006.

Samantha Newman

‘Samantha Newman is a fresh minded member of Gen X who will soon be embarking as a graduate in the PR industry. As a Western Sydney student, she spends her time working with charities, writing industry and trend based articles and has been working as a PR professional since her 2nd year of study.’

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