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Mystery of The Ginger Beard

Education - Ginger Beard

One of the biggest mysteries when it comes to beards is: Why are there so many guys with ginger beards yet they don't have red hair?

Many dark-haired guys have full red beards and it all comes down to the genes that are responsible for determining the colour of a beard. With facial hair becoming more widely accepted than ever, it's becoming more obvious when a guy has a full brown head of hair yet is sporting a red beard or a beard with a red tinge.

It's All in The Genes

To really get a better understanding of why some guys have a rich, red, flowing beard, you need to look closer at the genes. Many people believe that your genes determine your hair colour and this is true but more complicated than you think.

The genes that will determine the colour of the hair are incomplete dominant hereditary traits, meaning one gene doesn't determine hair colour... all of them influence one another. The same genes might express themselves differently for one person to another. One trait is that the colour of the hair on your head can differ from your facial hair.

The Ginger Colour Mystery

The shade of your hair colour is determined by the pigments in your hair. Your individual DNA encodes the pigment of the hair colour and the amount of that colour. In white people, there are two distinct pigments, black and red. Dark haired people have black pigment, blondes have less black pigment and redheads have only red pigments.

So then why do some dark-haired people have the red pigment in their beards? Scientists discovered only recently that there is one specific gene, MC1R, that plays a huge role in the development of the red hair. It only takes one of the mutated MC1R genes in your body for the red hairs to appear on different parts of the body.

Luck of The Draw

It only takes a single mutated gene to cause the red hair to appear in the beard, allowing less black pigment and more red to appear in the facial hair.

If you know how many genes there are in the human body, you probably also know how remarkable it is to think that a single gene can have such a drastic impact on the appearance of a ginger beard. The good thing is that this gene is not dangerous, life-threatening and actually gives you the ability to really stand out in a crowd.