Did you know that red heads have superpowers? Well, if being on average 20% more resistant to anaesthesia is a superpower.
That and many more juicy facts are revealed in a new book about being ginger, The Big Redhead Book: Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair by Erin La Rosa.
For Irish people having red hair is considered no big deal, one in ten people in the Emerald Isle sport a ginger mop. But worldwide only 2% are lucky enough to have red hair which leads La Rosa to dub gingers ‘the unicorns of the human world’.
The US has the largest number of actual redheads with potentially as many as 18 million Americans crowned with red hair.
But it’s Scotland that's the real heartland of red hair with 13% of our Celtic cousins seeing red in the mirror every day.
So I tried to dye my hair a nice subtle ginger.— Wee Scottish Lass (@MoscoMoon) December 2, 2017
It came out about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face and it's more the colour of a firey irn bru...
In Scotland freezing winters however may not always be the best thing: gingers are more prone to feel extreme temperatures - whether hot or cold - due to their MC1R gene over-activation.
"We know when winter's coming," La Rosa declares.
But on the flipside they’re also better at producing Vitamin D - higher levels of which are known to help fight of loads of illnesses like diabetes and rickets.
They’re also apparently funnier: comedians in the 19th century were famed for wearing ginger wigs to big up their funny man credentials and the association between humor and red hair has remained to this day.
For a baby to be born with red hair both parents must carry the ginger gene: it’s what you call a ‘recessive’ gene so it takes both parents to transmit it for it to show up in their offspring.
A redhead whose partner does not have the ginger gene themselves will not have a redheaded child - it’s biologically impossible.
However a redhead whose partner is not ginger but nevertheless carries the ginger gene has 50% chance that their child will be ginger.
Two non ginger parents who both carry the recessive gene have a one in four chance of having a red haired child.
But if two redheads have a baby together their child will always be ginger. Think the Weasleys in Harry Potter, it would have taken magic for Molly and Arthur to not have a huge brood of flame haired children.