You know what's worse than growing carrot shreds where your hair should be? Knowing those locks of cheddar-string-cheese hair (technical term) might actually be trying to kill you. Greaaaat.

As we know, redheads are more susceptible to certain health risks like skin cancer and social ostracizing. I can say all of this because I dated a redheaded dude once. JKJK, I'm actually just a self-hair-hating ginger*. You can't see me right now because I'm embarrassed and standing in front of a red wall. SOCIAL SUICIDE!


But you know what's even more frightening than living life as an outted ginger? The fact that you could be a redhead and not even know it. I know!

According the the v reputable Daily Mail, research to be released this week indicates millions of Britons carry ‘silent' genes for redheadedness. If we expand upon that information, it's probably a decent percentage of the world's population that suffers from secret-redhead-itis. The genetic mutation is silent, but it is also deadly.

Now a ground-breaking study of more than 5,000 British people's DNA indicates that around four in ten of us carry the genes that make hair red - only they are not switched on to influence hair colour: they are ‘recessive'.

The genes may, however, be at work in other ways that could profoundly affect our health.

The true rate of ginger genes has been revealed by early results from a project called BritainsDNA, which has harnessed scientific expertise from Edinburgh University.

Bright side? You can breathe a sigh of relief that you don't have to live with red hair. I know, it always comes back to me, but as a chubbosaurus redhead youth — with a Sinead O'Connor haircut in the era of The Sandlot, to boot — was not easy for a girl! I'm over it. I'm totally over it.

Now all I have to worry about is health risks that disproportionately affect redheads, "such as increased sensitivity to pain, skin cancer, Parkinson's disease and even Tourette's syndrome." Although, honestly, that sounds like a walk in the park compared to middle school.


*Actually, that's not true, and as I've gotten older, I've learned to love the orange beast that resides atop my head, embrace my uniqueness, do me, etc.

Image via Andrea Slatter / Shutterstock.

Are you a secret redhead? Four in ten Britons carry ginger genes without having red hair - and it could profoundly affect our health [DailyMail]