Melanin levels come naturally to darker-skinned individuals. However, some factors, like a lack of sun, may influence the skin and cause it to feel paler or more dull than usual. So, many may be looking at how to increase melanin in the skin naturally to enhance the pigment.
Thankfully, there are ways we can reach a desired complexion and boost our melanin production levels, even when environmental factors may be against us. In this guide, we'll look at understanding the types of melanin dark skin tones produce.
We'll also unlock how to increase melanin, whether naturally or considering medical treatments to give our skin a more vibrant and healthy look.
[Disclaimer: Our guide gives a general overview of natural ways to increase melanin production. If you're unsure about your skin type and if melanin pigments are prevalent in your skin tone, we recommend you speak with a registered dermatologist.]
Understanding the Different Types of Melanin
There are different types of melanin individuals may find, depending on their skin colour, genetics and ethnicity. There are three main categories: eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. Understanding these types can help us on our journey on how to increase melanin in the skin.
Out of the three melanin types, eumelanin is the most commonly found. It's responsible for brown and black pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes.
Additionally, eumelanin helps to protect the skin against harmful UV exposure from the sun. These UV rays are known to stimulate excess melanin production and can lead to a risk of skin cancer if we're not fully protected.
Pheomelanin is the pigment that results in red and yellow colouration. It's not as common as black or brown pigments, but you’ll notice it produces blonde or red hair colours and fairer skin tones. And although it provides UV protection, it's not as strong as eumelanin.
Unlike the other melanin types, we have neuromelanin that focuses on areas of the brain. It's the dark pigment you would find in the brain’s substantia nigra section. It's particularly important because of its brain functioning benefits.
It is protective as it prevents oxidative stress that could lead to harmful free radicals damaging brain cells, which could result in Parkinson's disease. It's also known to regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine to ensure the brain is performing at its best.
What is Melanin?
The production of melanin, particularly in darker skin-toned people, helps to protect against sun damage more than lighter skin tones. However, many Black individuals may think that their darker pigment is enough to prevent sunburn, sun spots, or even skin cancer like melanoma.
Unfortunately, there is still a risk of skin damage, especially if you haven't been in the sun in a while and don't have enough protection. So, you can start to think about how to increase melanin in skin naturally and ways to prevent sun damage from adversely affecting you.
One effective way is to use sun protection and SPF. Ava Estell has an impressive Summer Body Cream that has the active ingredient Zinc Oxide to fend against damaging UV rays.
Functions of Melanin
Having a higher concentration of melanin pigment in your skin is an advantage. So, finding how to increase melanin production, especially during colder months, can allow you to make the most of melanin's functions. These functions include:
- Protecting against free radicals and cell damage
- Neutralising unstable molecules
- Regulating vitamin D production to reduce health risks
Natural Methods to Increase Melanin
At Ava Estell, we believe healthy skin can be improved using natural methods in combination with naturally-derived skincare products.
If you're looking at how to increase melanin levels at home for darker skin types, we looked at some options below:
Regulate Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is an excellent way to get vitamin D. However, time in the sun should be moderate to avoid unwanted skin damage. For example, if you're out in hot weather for long periods, wearing sunglasses and hats to cover the skin helps, or consider reducing your time outside.
When thinking about how to increase melanin in skin naturally, you can find foods rich in antioxidants to help protect your skin cells from environmental damage. They also play a role in melanin production toward healthy skin.
Powerful antioxidant-rich foods great for dark skin and pale skin include:
- Dark chocolate: Thanks to its high mineral content, including iron, copper, and magnesium, it helps maintain healthy skin. Ensure you take it in moderate amounts.
- Green tea: This has various benefits, including the polyphenol antioxidants that help prevent the skin from free radical damage. It can also reduce redness and inflammation on excess melanin production if applied topically.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and goji berries are rich in vitamins C and E. They give the skin a more youthful glow and help with overall skin health.
- Citrus fruits: These have a high level of vitamin C, which is key in ensuring enzymes involved in melanin production are regulated.
Dark leafy greens, like spinach and kale: These green vegetables have folic acid, which helps with collagen production in the skin. They also have vitamin E, which repairs skin cells.
If you have an underlying health or skin condition, some natural foods may not work for you. For example, if you have a melanin deficiency, you may need to find medical ways on how to increase melanin effectively.
Examples of these treatments to boost melanin levels include:
- Topical creams, like anti-inflammatory or corticosteroids, can stimulate melanin production.
- Laser therapy, specifically excimer laser, uses ultraviolet B light to help treat conditions like vitiligo and other skin concerns.
Hormonal treatment options could work, but they also come with side effects. They're administered by a healthcare professional, but you should check if your skin can benefit from this beforehand.
You may also want to look into vitamin supplements, specifically vitamin C supplements when thinking about how to increase melanin in skin types. Supplements like these support the melanin production in the skin if you’re not able to consume these vitamin-rich ingredients in foods or drinks.
We suggest looking for naturally derived formulas with active ingredients to work with a consistent Ava Estell skin care routine.
Increasing Melanin In Skin: Closing Thoughts
Melanin levels are generally higher in darker skin tones than in lighter complexions. However, some factors may be causing your melanin pigment to decrease.
We hope our guide has given you an insight into how to increase melanin naturally, from how you protect yourself against the elements. And what antioxidant-rich ingredients will benefit you from the inside and topically.
If you'd like to transform your skincare products to match your newfound natural methods, discover the full range at Ava Estell today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I increase my melanin naturally?
You can spend a moderate amount of time in the sun, ensuring you use suitable skin protection and SPF. Also, be aware of what you consume and focus on including antioxidant-rich foods.
How can my skin produce more melanin?
Trying to avoid stress is an indirect way to produce melanin, as stress can impact your bodily functions. You can also include more natural ingredients in your skincare routine and diet, like aloe vera, coconut oil, and citrus fruits.
What are the best foods to produce melanin?
Antioxidant-rich foods include leafy vegetables, berries, and dark chocolate. Vitamin C-rich foods also help with melanin production, so citrus fruits like orange, pineapple and lemon.
Does vitamin C increase melanin?
Yes. It's one of the most effective vitamins in increasing melanin production. It's an antioxidant and helps with melanin synthesis in the skin cells.