Red Hair and Blushing
Q: Why is it that people with red hair blush so easily?
Firstly, scientists discovered in the 1990’s that red hair is actually caused by a gene mutation of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R). This is one of the fundamental proteins that determine skin and hair color. Red hair is the rarest hair-color, as only about 2% of the US population has naturally red hair. The highest amount of natural red-heads can be found in Scotland and Ireland, where natural red-heads make out 13% and 10% of the population respectively.
Red-heads are rare as a double copy of this gene is needed to produce a baby with red hair. In effect this means that the father and the mother of the offspring must carry the MC1R gene.
As I’ve mentioned, the MC1R is one of the fundamental proteins that determine skin and hair color. Red-heads have very fair skin, which can easily suffer from sun-burn because of the fact that it has less pigment of melatonin.
Blushing is merely part of the cause and effect process in circumstances when emotional stimulant, such as embarrassment, is involved. For example when a person is embarrassed, the individual's sympathetic nervous system may cause the blood vessels to open extensively, deluging the skin with blood and ensuing in reddening of the face.
Thus, physiological make-up of a red-head does not cause that person to blush more easily or more often that another person. It is merely more noticeable when a red-headed person blushed because of the exaggerated color-difference between a fair-complexion and the reddening of the face.
In simple terms, you don’t really notice when a person with a more tan- or darker complexion blushes. Also, blushing is the effect of emotional stimulation. A person, who blushes easily, is always wary of a situation where he or she may be embarrassed. This is counter-productive, as it means that emotionally you get riled up easier, which in turn makes you blush quicker and more intensely than another person might in the exact same reaction.
Again, in simple terms, a person who is afraid of blushing extensively, will in effect blush easier and more intensely or exaggerated than another person would.
If this is a source of acute embarrassment or unhappiness for you, there are psychological treatments and medication may assist in controlling your blushing, especially if you are very sensitive or susceptible to emotional stress. But most people find blushing endearing and charming, so if it doesn’t bother you, you should count it as a blessing in disguise.
Hereditary hair color
Tips for redheads