What is melanin?
Melanin, or pigment, is the substance that gives our eyes, hair and skin its natural color. Those of us who have darker skin and hair have higher amounts of melanin present. On the contrary, those with lighter skin will have lesser melanin.
Truth is, every human has melanin. We, have coined the embracing of this complex polymer because it is responsible for the hue or tint of our skin color.
Although we are used to hearing the term melanin by itself however, there are three types of melanin present in our bodies.
“Eumelanin is found in the hair, skin and dark areas around the nipples. It also provides black and brown pigment to the hair, skin and eyes, particularly among the black populations. Hair is blonde when eumelanin is only present in small amounts.
Pheomelanin is found in the hair and skin as well. It provides pink and red colors and is the main pigment in red-haired individuals. Pheomelanin is not as protective against cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation as eumelanin.
Neuromelanin is found in different areas of the brain. Losing this melanin can cause many neurological disorders.”*
Melanin is the key agent that shields us from harmful UV damage AND, it delays our skin from aging. This is where we derive the saying “Black don’t crack.”
“There are two factors that cause skin to age: chronological ageing and photoageing. None of us can avoid chronological ageing – like it or not, we cannot stop the passing years from leaving their mark.
But photoageing is a different matter. It does vary according to your skin colour, a result of the varying degrees of pigment that we produce.
The darker your skin, the larger the pockets in skin cells known as melanosomes, and these contain the sticky pigment melanin. Very pale skin produces almost no melanin, while Asian skins produce a yellowish type of melanin called phaeomelanin, and black skins produce the darkest, thickest melanin of all – known as eumelanin.” **
Because the melanin in our skin blocks UV rays from the sun, it is also blocking the vitamin D that we need. Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to osteoporosis, and rickets. it is important that we are aware of this so that we can maintain a healthy diet rich in the nutrients that we become naturally deficient in. This can prevent longterm illnesses and improve our overall health and quality of life.
For centuries, we have been reprogrammed to despise and hate our skin color. We have been hated for simply just having darker skin.
How magical it is that there is now a movement that celebrates the agent that gives us our beautifully tinted skin? We proudly tote the banners of #melaninmagic, #melaninatedpeople, #blackgirlmagic as ways to embrace who we are and how we were created. Now we know just a little more about what truly makes us magical.