Does melanin protect you from the sun?
How our skin works when it comes to handling the sun is quite complicated. Not only does our skin need sunlight to help produce the all-important Vitamin D but at the same time the sun’s ultraviolet rays can be harmful to our skin.
The function of melanin when it comes to how our skin deals with the sun is quite interesting and important. Melanin is in the outer layer of our skin cells. Melanin plays an important role in protecting our skin from sun damage which can cause premature aging.
When we tan our skin produces more melanin which causes our skin to get darker. But tan dwindles away when new cells come to the surface and the tanned cells shed away. As with many other things in life a certain amount of sunlight is beneficial but too much of it can be harmful.
Excessive UVA radiation from sunlight can harm and cause DNA damage to melanocytes which produce melanin. So, as we have shown melanin are protective pigments in our skin which blocks UV radiation from damaging our DNA and possibly causing skin cancer.
So, as you can see melanin causes opposing results which is protecting our skin and at the same time possibly damaging our skin. Research has shown that can be melanin can at the same time protect you from cancer but also can cause cancer.
Melanocytes which produce melanin is a type of cell that specifically is situated in the lowest layer of the epidermis. The produced melanin, which is brown, is responsible for our skin coloration and at the same time protection against harmful UVA lights caused by the sun.
As we have mentioned in previous blogs spending too much time in the sun or tanning beds is harmful. Melanin takes time to be produced which is essential in protecting our skin from sunburn. Our skin is damaged when melanocytes cannot work fast enough to produce a tan which causes sun to burn the skin and makes it looking pink or bright red.
The colour of our skin is also important when it comes to melanin. Things that effect our skin colour are blood that floods through it , diet, and our skin ability to produce melanin. Most Humans usually have the same amount of melanocytes which produce melanin. But this is where things become interesting, although all humans usually have the same amount of melanocytes the amount of melanin produced by these melanocytes varies between different people and is not the same in all humans.
Melanin helps protect our skin from the sun damage. When our skin is exposed to the sun the production of melanin increases which is as we mentioned before causes our skin to get darker and tan. This process is the natural way our skin defends itself from sunburn.