Why Do Some Men Have Red Beards While Their Hair Is Not Red?
It can be observed that some men have a red beard even though the hair is not red. In these cases, the parents, or even any of their parents, may not have red hair or beard. So how come this redness suddenly appears when it’s not in the family at all?
It is relatively rare to see a redhead – only 1% to 2% of people are natural redheads. According to the Telegraph, most redheads live in Celtic countries such as Scotland, Ireland and Wales, followed by England and the Scandinavian countries. Predictably, these red hairs happen due to genetic mutation.
Specifically, it is a gene mutation known as “MC1R” that controls pigment production in hair cells, which, among other things, may explain why a local anesthetic is less effective for redheads, such as white skin, poor tanning ability, and pain perception.
Hair color is determined by two different pigment ratios; eumelanin is responsible for black tones and pheomelanin causes red tones. People with black or dark brown hair will likely only have eumelanin, or at least it will be the predominant pigment. Blondes, meanwhile, have less of both types of pigment than their dark-haired and red-haired friends. And of course, redheads mostly have pheomelanin.
One role of the MC1R gene is to encode a protein called melanocortin whose job is to convert the red pigment into a black one. But if a person has a double mutation in this gene, the resulting proteins are not as effective, leading to red beards.
So what happens when a person has a red beard paired with brown hair?
According to Nina Jablonski, professor of anthropology at Penn State University, there are some curious genetic tricks in the answer.
“This will almost certainly result in the production of a different mix of dark brown eumelanin and yellow-red pheomelanin, which is due to differential expression of MC1R versus scalp hair in the follicles of the beard hair,” Jablonski said. said.
In other words, the same gene behaves differently in different parts of the body, probably because it’s just a single mutation of the MC1R gene, rather than a double mutation, so the person is effectively a carrier of the redhead gene.
This phenomenon occurs in some men as they age. It usually occurs when they are past their 40th birthday. This is probably due to the different proportions of pigment-producing cells in the hair and beard hair.
So you don’t have to be young and redheaded for a red beard, but it definitely helps.