Melanin is a pigment produced by the body that gives hair and skin their colour. People with darker skin tend to produce higher levels of melanin, while lighter-skinned people produce less. Melanin provides your skin with protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. It also helps reduce your risk of skin cancer, as well as providing protection against cataracts associated with sun exposure. Melanin aids in the tanning process as higher levels of it result in a deeper, richer tan. Enhance your appearance and improve your skin's health by increasing melanin production.
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Supplement with L-tyrosine. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is converted into melanin by your skin cells. Supplementation with L-tyrosine stimulates higher melanin production by your body. L-tyrosine supplements can be purchased at a variety of health food stores.
Get a tan. Tanning stimulates the production of melanin. Melanin is produced during tanning to protect your body from harmful rays of the sun. It darkens your skin during the tanning process.
Consume foods that increase melanin production. Deep, rich-coloured foods such as coffee, chocolate, red wine and truffles stimulate melanin production in the body. Choose fruits such as peaches, watermelon and apricots. Eggs and fish also boost melanin production.
Apply self-tanning lotions. Self-tanning lotions -- also known as sunless tanning -- contain a chemical that increases the level of melanin your body produces. Application of self-tanning lotions results in the appearance of a tan as higher melanin levels cause your skin to darken.
Tips and warnings
- Many foods contain natural sources of L-tyrosine, including chicken, fish, milk, cheese, almonds, sesame seeds and soy products.
- Proceed slowly when starting to tan. Gradual exposure to sunlight will minimise your risks of burning.
- Consult your physician before taking L-tyrosine or any medicinal supplementation to ensure its safety.
- Always wear sunscreen lotion when tanning. Ensure tanning lotion provides UVA protection with a minimum SPF of 15 to prevent sun damage.
- Always do a patch test when using self-tanning lotions in case of allergic reaction.
- Apply self-tanning lotions thoroughly onto skin to prevent streaking. Always start with a light coat and then build up gradually until desired colour is reached.
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