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Red hair, also known as orange hair or ginger hair, is a human hair color found in 1%–2% of the world population, appearing with greater frequency (2%–6%) among people of Northern or Northwestern European ancestry and lesser frequency in other populations. It is most common in individuals homozygous for a recessive allele on chromosome 16 that produces an altered version of the MC1R protein.
Red hair varies in hue from a deep burgundy or bright copper, or auburn, to burnt orange or red-orange to strawberry blond. 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 color, freckles, and sensitivity to ultraviolet light.
Cultural reactions to red hair have been varied. The term "redhead" has been in use since at least 1510.