The photoprotective properties of human epidermal melanin in skin have been well documented (Kollias et al, 1991). It absorbs both ultraviolet (UV) and visible light. The absorption increases linearly in the range of 720 to 620 nm and then exponentially toward shorter wavelengths (300–600 nm).
How is tyrosine converted to melanin?
The TYR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is located in melanocytes, which are specialized cells that produce a pigment called melanin. It converts a protein building block (amino acid) called tyrosine to another compound called dopaquinone.
What absorbs melanin?
Melanin is a polymer of variable forms that absorbs light across a broad spectrum of wavelengths, absorbing both UVA (tanning UV wavelengths) and the shorter wavelength, higher energy UVB (sunburn wavelengths; 3).
How is melanin secreted?
Melanin is produced through a multistage chemical process known as melanogenesis, where the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine is followed by polymerization. The melanin pigments are produced in a specialized group of cells known as melanocytes.
What color does melanin absorb?
Melanin reduces ultraviolet induced DNA damage by absorbing or scattering the ultraviolet radiation that otherwise would have been absorbed by the DNA. This prevents the development of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, as well as other health problems related to exposure to strong solar radiation.
What happens if you lack melanin?
If your body makes too little melanin, your skin gets lighter. Vitiligo is a condition that causes patches of light skin. Albinism is a genetic condition affecting a person’s skin. A person with albinism may have no color, lighter than normal skin color, or patchy missing skin color.
Do Fair skin people produce melanin?
Exposure to sunlight increases the melanin production in everyone, so that light-skinned people become tan and dark-skinned people become even darker. Almost everyone has the same number of melanocytes no matter how light or dark their skin. Only the amount of melanin produced varies.