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Brunettes and Blondes Are Turning Red Because Of Severe Malnutrition

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This article is not paid for or sponsored by This is simply an awareness piece about child hunger. 

Naturally occurring red hair is caused by the MC1R gene and happens as a genetic occurrence. There are also other ways red hair can appear when it’s not in the genetic makeup. This includes albinism, lack of pro-opiomelanocortin, and even severe malnutrition. 

With cases of malnutrition, naturally dark brown or black hair can actually turn red or even blonde. This can be part of a larger condition called Kwashiorkor and is a sign of very severe malnutrition typically caused by a severe protein deficiency. This was a common occurrence during periods of famine in history

On, a website dedicated to helping children in Haiti, they break down why many Haitian children have red hair. “When a Haitian child’s hair turns red, it is the first sign of malnutrition. Their eyes and fingernails often show signs too. Many times, those “swollen bellies” are full of worms. Malnourished children are lifeless and without joy.”

“When their hair turns red, and their bellies and eventually their bodies become bloated, that child is suffering from Kwashiorkor Malnutrition,” the website continues. “And there is already severe physical damage to the child. Often the family thinks the baby’s plumpness shows that it is a healthy baby, they have no idea that there is a problem.”

Another sign of malnutrition is hair loss, so those suffering from it may have their hair go red and/or blonde, and then the hair falls out. When the hair grows back as the body regains strength and is nourished back to health, it should grow back its natural color or (possibly) a bit lighter. This is because the pigment in the hair strands was changed but the genetic makeup was not; so new hair does not grow that same color. 

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Rock it like a Redhead!


READ: Would You Dig Deep To Know More About Your Redhead Genetic Makeup?

READ: The MC1R Gene Is More Complicated Than We Thought