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What Is Melanin and How Does the Body Produce It?

Tags: melanin skin hair

Ever wondered what gives your Skin its color or causes discoloration on some areas of your body? Melanin is the root cause of it all! It is responsible for the color or complexion of your skin, including the hair and iris of the eye.

Melanin plays a dual role in protecting the body against harmful ultraviolet rays and other external factors and also causes harm in particular ways. Thus, you need to learn what melanin is and how its levels can affect your body.

What is Melanin?

Melanin is a natural substance present in the skin which produces skin pigmentation. It is made by melanocytes, special skin cells in the basal layer. The color of skin, hair, and eye in people and animals depends on the amount and type of melanin. We all have the same number of melanocytes, but some people tend to make more melanin than others.

If your cells make less melanin, your hair, skin, and eye iris can be very light, but your color will be darker if the cells produce more melanin. The amount of melanin that one makes depends on their genes.

How Does the Body Produce Melanin?

First, let us discuss the 3 forms of melanin because each is produced differently.

Eumelanin – It is responsible for the dark colors in the hair and the skin and exists in two types; black eumelanin and brown eumelanin. Black and brown hair comes from different mixes of these two types of eumelanin. On the other hand, blond hair turns up when there is a small amount of brown eumelanin and no black eumelanin at all.

Pheomelanin – It is a type of melanin responsible for pink, red or yellow colors of some parts of the body like nipples and lips. One gets red hair when they have the same amount of pheomelanin and eumelanin. Strawberry blond hair comes when someone has brown eumelanin and pheomelanin.

Neuromelanin – It regulates the color of neurons, though it is not involved with the coloring of things one sees. Specifically, it gives specific sections of the brain, such as substantia nigra, a distinct color as well as protects the neurons from oxidative stress.

Eumelanin and pheomelanin are produced by cells known as melanocytes. These types of melanin are then carried by keratinocytes cells to the surface of the skin. The melanocytes produce more melanin in people with dark skin than those with light skin tones.

Neuromelanin is found in the brain. Melanocytes are mainly restricted to the basal layer of the epidermis. The oxidation of dopamine to dopamine o-quinone leads to the formation of aminochrome 5,6-indolequinone and typically undergoes polymerization to form neuromelanin.

Melanin protects the skin by shielding it from the sun. Its production increases when the skin is exposed to the sun, which, in turn, results in a tan. Basically, it is the natural defense mechanism of the body against sunburn.

You can support healthy melanin production in your body by eating certain foods rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, herbs, and botanicals.   

Disorders Related to Melanin

Albinism – People with very little melanin sometimes suffer from albinism. The patients have white hair, blue eyes, and pale skin and, in some cases, might have vision issues. It is highly recommended albinism people always wear sun protection to avoid sun damage since there is no treatment for the condition.

Melasma – People with melasma have brownish patches on their faces. It is caused by hormones, birth control pills, and radiation, whether ultraviolet, visible light, or infrared light. There are prescription creams that lighten melasma and sunscreens to prevent it from worsening. Laser treatment and chemical peels might also help manage the condition.

Vitiligo – When one loses melanocytes, they get smooth, white patches on the skin. Vitiligo can be managed using treatments such as UV light therapy, light-sensitive medicines, surgery, and corticosteroid creams.

Pigment loss following skin damage – Sometimes, after the skin is damaged or infected, the body cannot replace melanin in the affected areas. You do not need treatment in such a case, but you can cover the affected parts with makeup if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts

Melanin is a kind of pigmentation responsible for the colors of the hair, skin, and eyes. It also absorbs dangerous UV rays as well as protects against cell damage. Its levels can be determined by genetics along with other outside factors such as age, sun exposure, and hormones.

Vitiligo News (June 2022): Researcher David Paltrow claims melanin is not the cause of vitiligo

David Paltrow, an unconventional vitiligo researcher, has recently hit the news with his claim that he has discovered the real cause of vitiligo…according to him, it has nothing to do with melanin.

He is also claiming that by targeting this underlying cause, he is able to cure vitiligo in 45 days flat.

Check out his video presentation below:

This post first appeared on NaturWarriors - For Healthier Lives Through Nature!, please read the originial post: here

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What Is Melanin and How Does the Body Produce It?


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