How to increase melanin in skin

Updated April 17, 2017

Melanin is a pigment that gives people their skin colour. The region a person resides in plays a role in how much melanin is produced. According to Palomar College, there are two types of pigment produced: pheomelanin and eumelanin. Pheomelanin is yellow to red in colour and eumelanin is dark brown to black coloured. Typically people with fair skin tones produce more pheomelanin, while darker-skinned people produce eumelanin. The University of Maryland goes on to say that there are currently no cures for skin pigment disorders, but there are ways to increase melanin production in small amounts.

Spend some time in the sun. The University of Maryland mentions that sunlight is what gives pigmentation to skin, colour and irises. Spending time in the sunlight will cause your body to increase the production of melanin since melanin is the body's defence against UV rays. The Santa Monica College states that increased pigmentation can be observed in individuals after only five to ten minutes of exposure to midday sun.

Visit a tanning bed. Tanning beds provide exposure to the same UV rays as sunlight. The Palomar College states that women, on average, produce three-four per cent less melanin than men. These results were for every region of the world. One theory for this is that women have a higher need for calcium during their reproductive years.

Hormones play a role. The Santa Monica College advises that pregnancy can play a role in skin hyperpigmentation. Other hormonal changes may also play a role in melanin production. Any condition that can cause hormone levels to rise or drop drastically can cause skin hyperpigmentation.


Apply a sunscreen if you need to be in direct sunlight for a long time. Even if you do not see a change in the pigment of your skin, damage can still result from exposure to UV rays.


Allowing your skin to be overexposed to the sun or to a tanning bed can lead to a form of skin cancer known as melanoma; if you have any unusual spots or irregular moles on your body; have them evaluated by a dermatologist immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Sun
  • Tanning bed
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About the Author

Annabeth Kaine began writing in 2010 with work appearing on various websites. She has successfully run two businesses, held chairmanship positions on two fund-raising committees and received excellence-in-service awards for both. Kaine is completing her Bachelor of Arts in psychology.