Melanin is a natural pigment produced by melanocyte cells in the skin, hair, and eyes. It determines the color of these tissues and helps protect them from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Melanin production increases in response to sun exposure, resulting in tanning. People with higher levels of melanin have darker skin, hair, and eyes.

More about Melanin

Melanin is a complex polymer derived from the amino acid tyrosine. It plays a crucial role in protecting the skin from UV damage by absorbing and scattering the harmful radiation. The amount and distribution of melanin in the skin determine its color and response to sun exposure.

There are two main types of melanin: eumelanin, responsible for brown and black pigmentation, and pheomelanin, which produces yellow to red hues. The balance between these types determines an individual's skin tone and susceptibility to sunburn.

Melanin also helps protect the eyes from UV damage and provides color to the iris. In hair, it dictates the shade and strength, with darker hair containing higher concentrations of melanin.

Key functions of melanin include regulating temperature, protecting against free radicals, and contributing to the body's immune response. Individuals with higher melanin levels have a lower risk of skin cancer but are still susceptible to other skin conditions, such as hyperpigmentation and melasma.

Factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medications can influence melanin production and distribution, leading to variations in skin pigmentation and conditions.

  • Melanin is a natural pigment that determines skin, hair, and eye color.
  • It protects against UV radiation and contributes to various physiological functions.
  • There are two main types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin.
  • Genetics, sun exposure, and other factors influence melanin production and skin pigmentation.