Red hair (or ginger hair ) occurs naturally in 1–2% of the human population . It occurs more frequently (2–6%) in people of northern or western European ancestry, and less frequently in other populations. Red hair appears most commonly in people with two copies of a recessive allele on chromosome 16 which produces an altered version of the MC1R protein.
Red hair varies in hues from a deep burgundy or bright copper (reddish- brown or auburn) through to burnt orange or red -orange and strawberry blond . It is characterized by high levels of the reddish pigment pheomelanin and relatively low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. It is associated with fair skin color , lighter eye colors ( gray , blue , green , and hazel ), freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light .
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.