Everywhere you look on Social Media you can see melanin-proud posts. #melaninpoppin has over one million posts and #melaninmagic has over 100k. At Urban Skin Solutions and Urban Skin Rx we call ourselves “the melanin experts". So what is melanin exactly? And what makes it so magical?
Melanin is found in almost every animal on the planet. It’s a pigment created by cells in the body called melanocytes. Simply put, it’s nature’s paint. It is the reason for the color of your hair, your skin, your irises. It’s the vibrant color of a bird’s feathers, and the shimmering hue of a fish’s scales. Though there are many different types of melanin, these 3 are the most common:
- Eumelanin is the most common and is brownish in color
- Pheomelanin creates a reddish-brown color and is the reason for freckles and red hair.
- Neuromelanin is found in the brain, and it’s so magical we still don’t know what its function is or why it’s there!
From the fairest of skin to the darkest, we all have the same amount of melanocytes, but those cells produce different amounts of melanin according to their size. The larger the size of the melanocyte, the more melanin it will produce, creating a darker pigment. The purpose of melanin is to absorb and protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, so the darker the complexion the less likely you are to suffer from skin damage, like premature aging and skin cancer. While melanin is a natural protector, on the flip side, sun exposure can intensify the pigment, and anything from a tiny bug bite, a scratch, or a pimple can leave a dark mark because the skin over produces melanin. That’s why we tell our clients it doesn’t matter the shade of your skin, you need to be wearing sunscreen every day! Not only does it prevent skin cancer and wrinkles, it will help prevent dark marks and hyperpigmentation. You can try Urban Skin Rx DermShield SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer. It’s mattefying so it won't leave an oily sheen or a white film, and has a higher SPF to protect the skin from the sun’s rays. If you already have dark marks, you can try the Super C Serum. Vitamin C stops the oxidation of melanin, giving the skin a brighter, more even skin tone. It will not lighten your skin beyond your base color, but will prevent further darkening and correct dark marks and scars.
With darker skin, you also have to be cautious about where you go to get cosmetic treatments like laser hair removal, cosmetic injectables or dermabrasion because if administered improperly can cause pigmentation problems. At Urban Skin Solutions we have studied and perfected safe treatments for darker skin tones for over 10 years, which is why we proudly call ourselves “the melanin experts”.
Melanin is in fact, magical. It’s amazing that we all have the same amount of pigment producing cells on the inside, but what you see on the outside is a beautiful rainbow of different shades of skin tone. It’s amazing that's it’s purpose is to protect. These are dark times, and I look at the world around me and I can’t help but think that history is repeating itself. Fearful, angry people are trying to divide us. Hate is trying to take hold, but we can’t let it. We have to recognize the beauty in each other, we have to recognize the magic of our melanin.