Posted on August 14, 2009

The Pain of Being a Redhead

Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times, August 6, 2009


A growing body of research shows that people with red hair need larger doses of anesthesia and often are resistant to local pain blockers like Novocaine {snip}, according to new research published in The Journal of the American Dental Association.

{snip} In people with brown, black and blond hair, the gene, for the melanocortin-1 receptor, produces melanin. But a mutation in the MC1R gene results in the production of a substance called pheomelanin that results in red hair and fair skin.

The MC1R gene belongs to a family of receptors that include pain receptors in the brain, and as a result, a mutation in the gene appears to influence the body’s sensitivity to pain. {snip}