Lack of Melanin Pigment

Melanin is a pigment that gives hair, skin and eyes their color. It is also what protects the skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause premature aging, wrinkles and cancer. Almost everyone has melanin in their body. However, some people have problems with the way their body produces melanin. These problems can result in a lack of pigment in the hair, skin and eyes. There are also some illnesses that can cause the skin to produce less melanin, such as albinism and vitiligo.

Generally, melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes in the skin and hair follicles of the scalp. The melanocytes produce two types of pigments: eumelanin and phaeomelanin. Eumelanin is responsible for black, brown and dark skin tones. People with a lot of eumelanin have a lot of dark skin, while those with very little eumelanin have light or white skin. Eumelanin is produced by the melanocytes in the outermost layer of the skin, while phaeomelanin is produced in the dermis.

Eumelanin is responsible for the pigmentation of hair, but a small amount of phaeomelanin can be found in the skin and eye as well. Melanin also protects the DNA inside cells by forming little caps or umbrellas of pigment right above the nucleus, the part of the cell that contains the genetic information. These caps can prevent UV rays from destroying the DNA, which would otherwise cause skin cancer.

There are some diseases that can prevent the melanocytes from producing eumelanin or phaeomelanin. These include albinism, vitiligo, leukemia and some cancers of the eye. Melanin production is also decreased in some people who have Parkinson’s disease. This is due to a loss of brain cells in the substantia nigra, which is where neuromelanin is made.

A diet rich in vitamin C can help increase melanin production. Foods that are high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, bananas and leafy green vegetables. Folate, or folic acid, is another nutrient that can aid in melanin production. It is available from foods such as liver, leafy green vegetables, garbanzo beans and foods fortified with folic acid.

Many products claim to increase melanin production in the skin. However, there is no scientific evidence that they actually work. Some products may cause temporary changes in the color of the skin, but they won’t prevent UV damage or reduce the risk of skin cancer. In fact, overexposure to the sun can actually decrease melanin in the skin, which is why it’s important to use sunscreen when you go outside.