Quirky Quirks! by Chelsey Ann Eha

Just a Few of The Quirkiest Ginger Quirks

Being a redhead comes with many additional quirks. Many of which are clear, obvious to the naked eye or the trained one, others not so much. Some even, may come as a surprise even to ourselves. More obvious traits are those which we can see, such as freckles. It’t true that freckles are common among those with the MC1R mutation, as they are a sign of the mutation itself. But have you noticed that not just redheads have freckles? Of course you have! That is a result of a co-dominant gene expression, meaning both a recessive and a dominant gene are being expressed! Pretty cool.

All my life I have had very finicky, slightly freckly, and particular skin. I could never pin down if it was hyper sensitive, normal, or what. It seemed it would change from day to day. Well, as it turns out, I have redhead skin, who would have guessed! Redheads are more likely to have highly inflammatory (rosacea prone) and sensitive skin. Once I started to learn more about what exactly this meant, it was much easier to get control back over my skin, and actually start to enjoy my skincare routine. Inflammatory skin means that your skin quickly responds to stimuli with blood flow. This blood flow to the surface of the skin causes swelling, or puffiness. This swelling and blood flow stretches out capillaries if you will and can even burst them (rosacea), and can cause the look of larger pores over time. All of this is a lot to take in! If you are like many redheads out there like me you will benefit from calming ingredients like niacin amide, squalane, rose hip oil, and light chemical exfoliants such as AHAs and BHAs, opposed to physical ones. 

Speaking of skin… have you ever noticed how cologne or perfume will smell completely different on you than in the bottle? Or different on your friend than on you? That’s not normal. At least not for 98% of the world’s population. Redheads have a more acidic acid mantle. What on earth does that mean, and what does geology have to do with your smell? Well, we all have an acid mantle on our skin, but for some reason redheads’ is a higher acidity, and therefore interacts differently with scents than other natural hair colours’. Having the higher acidity also means the fragrance won’t last as long, as our skin basically dissolves it faster. As a female, I can attest to the jarring contrast of expectation versus reality when it comes to perfume fragrance, and longevity. I tend to pull powdery, if there is a powdery scent buried in a fragrance, my body will find it. Flowery fragrances (which I like the scent of) need to be under cut with a citrus or musk not a gardenia or vanilla, otherwise they will pull too sickly sweet or powdery. The same goes for heady, musky scents, something crisp has to be in there to cut through it, otherwise it will muddy on the skin. Two of my brightest favorites are Glossier You and Chance by Chanel, however both will have to be reapplied multiple times throughout the day, but both scents are perfect happy, day scents. For longevity, I would recommend Santal 33 by Le Labo or Tom Ford’s Rose Prick (or basically anything by Tom Ford, his scents are musky, heady, and strong, and will stick with you maybe not all day, but longer than most). 

Moving further into the body, another quirk about red hair which has been giving me grief for as long as I can remember is pain tolerance. No, this is not a myth, redheads do indeed have a higher pain tolerance, yet they are more sensitive to certain kinds of pain. Doesn’t seem to make sense, right? Well, what that means is that as a redhead we feel pain from something that would not cause someone else any pain, while at the same time pain can be tolerable for us at a level where, at the same level it wouldn’t be tolerable for someone else. It’s a mind warp, I know, but you can do it! Moral of the story is: redheads are badasses, and we are more sensitive to temperature induced pain. Meaning burns and the cold. Are you ever outside in the snow, and you are fine, warm, having fun, and then all of a sudden your toes are cold, and not only are they cold, but they hurt? Yeah, me, too. I can also tell the very second the temp reaches over 71 degrees because I hate it. I am uncomfortable over 71, and cold under 67… fun for me! We are also more sensitive to dental pain, so we hate the dentist, and the next interesting fact doesn’t help this fear.

Something related to pain which you may have heard about is our resistance to anesthesia. And this is also true! We generally need 20% more anesthesia, and our bodies metabolize it faster, meaning it wears off quicker. As for lidocaine, a local, often topical anesthetic, after a certain layer in our tissue it simply doesn’t work at all, which I learned the hard way. This also makes dental work much harder, as it relies on local anesthetic or no anesthetic for basically everything. Good thing we have a higher pain tolerance, it looks like we need it for the world at large! This is such an interesting fact that it should be on all of our medical charts, as it is on mine. It will come in handy one day, and is not as common of medical knowledge as you would think. In fact it is not common at all. But it is true, so please, don’t feel nervous to speak up (20% more!)!

There are so many more interesting facts about the MC1R mutation and the people who posses it, and I cannot wait to go into them all further! But I hope this was a digestible bite of knowledge with a delightful side of helpful insight. We are all in this together, and if we can’t learn from one another, than what good are we, eh? 

I hope you had a good St. Patrick’s Day, and celebrated in green and Authentic Ginger style!

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