Melanin is a naturally occurring substance in the body that creates pigment in skin, hair and the iris of the eye. The darker your skin, the more melanin you possess. If you want to treat a skin condition or darken your skin tone for cosmetic purposes, know that there is no artificial method to create melanin. The only factors that affect melanin production are genetics, adequate vitamin D intake and the degree of your exposure to ultraviolet rays.
- Skill level:
Expose your skin to approximately 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight a day for optimal vitamin D absorption. Avoid sunburn and overexposure to cancer-causing ultraviolet rays.
Eat foods such as fatty fish, eggs and meat, which contain vitamin D. This is particularly important if you reside in a northern latitude (north of Atlanta, Georgia) with long winters.
Take a vitamin D supplement. The Harvard Medical School's "Family Health Guide," recommends 400 IU of vitamin D per day for adults ages 51 to 70, but some experts believe adults should take 800 to 1,000 IU per day.
Tips and warnings
- Use a sunless tanner containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) to help you achieve a darker skin tone without sun exposure. These products temporarily affect only the outermost layer of the skin and do not change melanin content in the skin cells.
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