According to Dr. Augustin Galopin, “redheads smell sexy.” He recorded this fact in his 1886 book “Le Parfum de la Femme.” Amy Adams, one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses with five Oscar nominations under her fashionable belt, is a lucky woman.
He detected that redheaded women emit a particularly distinct aroma, that of ambergris, an earthy and sensual scent. Science proved that skin mantle, a thin, acidic film on our skin’s surface, is actually more acidic in redheads, causing perfume to more quickly evaporate when applied and potentially emitting a unique smell of its own.
This fascinating fact as well as others, fill the new tome “The Big Redhead Book” written by scarlet-haired writer Erin La Rosa. “Gingers” are only a mere 2 percent of the population. The rarest combination being a redhead with blue eyes like Adams, they’re also different in far subtler ways. Research indicates that redheads have higher thresholds for pain and need less vitamin D than the rest of us thanks to the MC1R gene mutation, which gives their hair its hue.
Here are some of the most intriguing facts about redheads adapted from La Rosa’s book:
They don’t need as much Vitamin D
There is a higher concentration of red hair and pale skin in cloudy European environments where redheads adapted because they have a greater ability to create their own vitamin D. When a redhead goes outside, he or she produces more vitamin D in a shorter amount of time than people with other hair colors. This is certainly an evolutionary advantage since low levels of vitamin D can lead to ailments like rickets, diabetes, and arthritis.
Redheaded women handle pain better
McGill University performed a 2003 study showing that redheaded women can tolerate up to 25 percent more pain than people with other hair colors. An Oslo University found that redheaded women feel less pain when pricked by a pin but are harder to sedate. The University of Louisville found that it takes 20 percent more general anesthesia during surgery to put a redhead under, while a brunette may only need one shot of Novocaine at the dentist, a redhead needs two or three.
They know when it’s getting cold
In 2005, the University of Louisville discovered this hidden gift and hypothesized that the redhead gene, MC1R, may cause the human temperature-detecting gene to become overactivated, making redheads more sensitive to thermal extremes. Redheads feel hot and cold temperatures more severely than anyone else. When a redhead tells you they’re feeling a bit chilly, it’s time to grab a blanket.
Red is the hardest color to fake
Red hair from a bottle is easy to spot. Partly because red is a more intense hue and the bolder the color, the faster it fades. Celebrity stylist Danny Moon said the dye molecules found in red hair are larger than those in other hues, and larger molecules can’t penetrate the hair as deeply as smaller molecules can.
They aren’t all white
Native redheads born in places like Papua New Guinea and Morocco have darker skin. Redheads aren’t always fair skinned. There’s even a Hawaiian word for Polynesians with red hair — ‘ehu’ — they believe are the descendants of fire gods.
Redheads are popular in commercials
Upstream Analysis found that 30 percent of the TV commercials that run during prime time prominently features a redhead according to a 2014 report. CBS showcased a ginger every 106 seconds. That’s a lot, considering redheads are just 2 percent of the world’s population.
Redheads are seen as funnier
Professor Andrew Stott, who teaches the history of comedy at the University of Buffalo, we first began to see the circus clown as we know in the early 19th century. The wigs needed to be bright to be seen from the backs of large theaters, so red was an obvious choice. Stott speculates that the notion of the red-haired clown solidified in our culture during the early 20th century as a nod to the influx of Irish immigrants to America. “It’s no accident . . . that Ronald McDonald spells his surname the Irish way instead of Scottish,” Stott tells La Rosa in the book.
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