Skin under the Sun
Image used for representational purpose only
Melanin is a natural sunscreen that protects people from the many harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays and lowers the risk of sunburn and skin cancer
The American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) says melanocytes make a brown pigment called melanin, which gives the skin its tan or brown colour. Melanin protects the deeper layers of the skin from some of the harmful effects of the sun. "When you're in the sun, your body makes more melanin. It may help protect the body from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays," Dr G. Manmohan, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals.
Melanoma may occur in other parts of the body such as the eyes and mouth. These occur less frequently than skin cancers."Melanin is pigment present in the skin which gives colour to the skin. This pigment is produced by the cells called melanocytes which are present in the basal layer of epidermis," says Dr G. Manmohan, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals.
Everyone has the same number of melanocytes, but some people make more melanin than others. "Total number of melanocytes in the body remains the same in all the individuals from different races but the pigment melanosomes vary from race to race. For example blondes have very few melanosomes where as negroes have high number of melanosomes," says Dr Manmohan.
Studies show people with darker skin get fewer cases of skin cancer than people with lighter skin. "It is difficult to identify and determine the difference between benign pigmented lesions and early melanomas. Lesions should never be shaved off or cauterized. A biopsy is performed to confirm the presence of cancer cells," says Manmohan.
TYPES OF MELANIN
People have three types:
• EUMELANIN makes mostly dark colours in hair, eyes, and skin. There are two types of eumelanin: brown and black. Blonde hair happens when there's a small amount of brown eumelanin and no black eumelanin.
• PHEOMELANIN colours the pinkish parts of your body like the lips and nipples. You get red hair when you have the same amount of pheomelanin and eumelanin.
• NEUROMELANIN controls the colours of neurons. It isn't involved with the coloring of things you see.
Ways To Increase Melanin In Your Body:
Nutrients could be the key to increasing melanin naturally in skin.
Antioxidants show the strongest potential for increasing melanin production. Antioxidant-rich foods are dark leafy greens, dark berries, dark chocolate, and colorful vegetables.
Studies suggest vitamin A is important to melanin production and is essential to having healthy skin. Vitamin A rich food contains beta carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and peas. YouYou can increase vitamin A levels by eating more vitamin A-rich foods like orange vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes), fish, and meat. Taking a vitamin A supplement can also help.
Vitamin E is an important vitamin for skin health. It's also an antioxidant and could possibly boost melanin levels.
You can get more vitamin E by taking a supplement or by eating more vitamin E-rich foods like vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts.
Like vitamins A and E, vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C is needed for healthy mucous membranes. It may also have some impact on melanin production and skin protection. Eating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus, berries, and leafy green vegetables may optimize melanin production.
Book Appointment: Dr G. Manmohan, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Apollo Hospitals
Disclaimer: Welthi.com does not guarantee any specific results as a result of the procedures mentioned here, and the results may vary from person to person.