Whenever we go anywhere the number one question I hear is, “Where do they get their red hair from?” All three of my kids have red hair. Lance and I both have brown hair and neither of us have fair skin. Lance is of Ukrainian heritage and I am half Japanese and Caucasian; meaning a mix of English, Scandinavian, and German. My aunt has red hair and Lance can’t think of anyone that has red hair in his family. But apparently we are both carriers for the red hair gene and that makes us able to have red headed children. From everything that I have researched online, it seems that we had a 1 in 4 chance of having a red headed child. So basically we beat those odds three times. Yes, we have been buying lottery tickets and no dice! Lance always says we won the baby lottery.
It all comes down to genetics. Everyone has two copies of every gene from their parents. One from their mother and one from their father. There is a gene called “Melancortin 1 Receptor” or MC1R for short. Everyone has Melancortin 1 Receptors, but in red heads this is mutated. So to make a red headed child, both parents would have to carry this gene and those two genes would join together from each parent. There’s a 25% chance of having a red headed child unless one parent has two mutated genes instead of one, and then the chances go up to 50%. You can only find this out with DNA testing and it makes me wonder if Lance carries two of those genes to have all three of my kids with red hair! I know it couldn’t have come from my mother’s side because she is 100% Japanese with no history of ethnic mixing.
After I had Max, I hung out with my friend Lindsey, (who has red hair) and she said to me, “you know he’s gonna get teased right?” I laughed and didn’t think much of it. But then I was talking with my friend Kinger, (also a redhead) and he said the same thing to me! I asked him what that meant. I mean, how bad was it? He just said that in school, people would say things and it was just something he would have to deal with, and then followed it up by telling some joke about how great he is now. I never noticed any red heads getting teased when I was young but I guess I was busy sticking up for myself being one of four asians in my school! Oh, kids are cruel….good thing I know karate. Just kidding, I don’t know karate.
Kids are going to get teased for some reason or another, all I can do is help instill a healthy self esteem and educate them. (And teach them self defense moves!)
Some things that I learned about redheads is that only 2-5% of the U.S. population has natural red hair. That still leaves our nation with around 15 million redheads though. The country that has the highest proportional population of natural red heads is Scotland (13%) and then Ireland (10%). The average head of hair has 120,000 strands and red heads have fewer and brunettes have the most. Who’s testing this stuff? I don’t know. Another fun fact is that red heads don’t go gray when they get older. Their hair generally turns sandy and then white, it doesn’t get gray. I never thought about that before. Here are some other red head ‘facts’ if you are interested.
My kids’ hair color may change in the next couple of years but I have noticed that whenever we cut Max’s hair, there is blonde underneath the red and the red isn’t going anywhere yet. It is a two tone head of hair and the red won’t cut out. I now have a fondness for red hair and I notice those that have it anywhere that I am like a spotlight. I like that all three kids share this ‘rare’ hair color trait for all to admire. I don’t know what the odds are that their hair will stay red, but I do know that I beat the odds in more ways than one.
Some articles on red hair: