Melanin’s Effect on Skin Color and Pigment
Chances are that if you’ve been outside at all this summer you either tanned or burned. Despite sunscreen or tanning lotion, you might wonder what causes certain people to burn, while others receive a nice tan. This change is based on your melanin levels located in your skin cells, which vary from each person. Want to stop getting burned every time you go outside? This article will give you the steps to take in order to increase your melanin levels and ways to stop from burning up every time you step outside.
What Is Melanin?
In order to understand how melanin works, we must first understand what it is. Melanin is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. These pigments determine the darkness of multiple parts of your body, such as your hair, skin, and iris of your eye. There are three types of melanin: Eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin each with its own job. Eumelanin is responsible for your skin color, pheomelanin has a red hue giving the color to your lips and glans, while neuromelanin is used to bind transition metals and potentially toxic molecules. Melanin has different roles in each of the different organisms, giving a defense mechanism against predators to protecting microorganisms.
How to Increase Melanin Levels
It is important to know that these pigments are genetically based – passed on from your parents. This does not mean that you can’t increase your level of Melanocytes, which are on the outer layer of your skin. One way to increase your melanin levels is by eating plant and animal foods that contain vitamin A. Vitamin A has the ability to restore and maintain the melanin in your skin. You can also take supplements that contain Vitamin A, where you will need at least 900 mcg per day. Taking vitamin C will protect your skin and blood cells. You can find this vitamin in oranges, strawberries, and mangos. You can also take vitamin C supplements at least 65mg per day. Foods with fatty acids can help protect the damage of melanocytes in your skin. Vitamin E is in vegetable oils and nuts, or you can try a supplement with at least 15mg per day.
With temperatures rising, be sure to use sunscreen or tanning lotion when appropriate. Use a broad spectrum of sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Limit your sunlight exposure, especially during peak times of 10-3pm. Finally, if you stay outside for over 2 hours reapply sunscreen when possible. We hope these tips help you have a great summer!