Redheads make up 2% of the population due to the MC1R gene, which according to numerous scientific studies, offers various health and skin benefits.
Producing Vitamin D Naturally
The highest concentration of people with red hair and pale skin live in cloudier, European regions, which results in adaptation and less of a need for vitamin D as redheads have a greater ability to naturally produce it. Higher levels of vitamin D also makes it less likely to get arthritis and diabetes.
Pain Tolerance and Temperatures
A McGill University study showed redheaded women can tolerate up to 25% more pain than people with other hair colors. Due to this, redheads undergoing anesthesia for a surgery or procedure receive about a 20% higher dose for sedation, according to the University of Louisville.
“Our tests showed that redheads are less sensitive to a particular type of pain: skin pain," said Lars Arendt-Nielsen, professor and lead researcher on an Aalborg University study. “They react less to pressure close to the injected area or to a pinprick. They seem to be a bit better protected and that is a really interesting finding.”
In another study, the University of Louisville found a connection between red hair and temperature sensitivity. Scientists believe it could be a result of the MC1R gene causing the human temperature-detecting gene to become over-activated.
Scientists at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, have also discovered that the MC1R gene keeps people looking younger than they actually are by about two years on average.
“For the first time, a gene has been found that explains in part why some people look older and others younger for their age,” said Manfred Kayser, Ph.D., professor of Genetic Identification at Erasmus University. “Looking young for one's age has been a desire since time immemorial. The desire is attributable to the belief that appearance reflects health and fecundity.”