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The pigment pheomelanin gives red hair its distinctive color.Red hair has far more of the pigment pheomelanin than it has of the dark pigment eumelanin.Eighty percent of redheads have an MC1R gene variant.Red hair can originate from several changes on the MC1R-gene.Red hair (or ginger hair) occurs naturally in 1–2% of the human population.
This type of inheritance is described as an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.When henna is used on hair it dyes the hair to different shades of red.Emigration from Europe has multiplied the population of red haired humans in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. the largest population of redheads in the world, at 6 to 18 million, compared to approximately 420,000 in Ireland and 300,000 in Scotland.Cultural reactions have varied from ridicule to admiration; many common stereotypes exist regarding redheads and they are often portrayed as fiery-tempered.The term redhead has been in use since at least 1510.
Reddish-brown (auburn) hair is also found amongst some Polynesians, and is especially common in some tribes and family groups.