Melanin is a skin pigment which occurs in humans as well as animals. It is also responsible for making skin, hair and eyes appear darker. Studies have found that melanin may help shield the skin from UV rays. Increasing melanin may also assist in blocking the processes that lead to skin cancer.
For countless years, researches have reported that there’s a lower amount of skin cancer cases among people with darker skin, and non-Caucasian descendants tend to have more melanin. But more studies need to be conducted to adequately prove that increased melanin is the leading cause of this lowered risk.
Can you up melanin levels?
Individuals of any skin type can attempt to increase their melanin to lower the risk of skin cancer. Studies suggest that increasing your intake of certain nutrients could boost your melanin levels. It might even up the quantity of melanin in individuals with lighter skin types.
Note: there are no researches directly proving methods to boost melanin; however, many nutrients perceived to increase melanin can generally improve skin health and may decrease your overall risk of getting skin cancer.
Ways to increase melanin in your body
Nutrients could hold the answer to naturally increasing melanin in the skin. Here are some nutrients that studies suggest might be helpful in producing more melanin in your body.
Antioxidants hold the greatest promise for enhancing melanin production. Though more researches and high-quality trials are needed, some studies propose that antioxidants may help.
Micronutrients such as polyphenols or flavonoids, which we get from the plants we eat, serve as powerful antioxidants and may affect melanin levels. Some may help increase melanin while others may reduce it.
Consume more foods rich in antioxidants such as colourful vegetables, dark berries, dark chocolate, and dark leafy greens to get more antioxidants. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements could also help.
Researchers suggest vitamin A is significant in the production of melanin and it’s an essential ingredient for healthy skin.
You obtain vitamin A from the food you eat, especially veggies that are rich in beta-carotene like peas, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots.
Since vitamin A also works as an antioxidant, some researchers hold the notion that unlike any other vitamin, vitamin A may be the key to melanin production. However, more researches are still required to prove this theory right.
For the meantime, claims that vitamin A increases melanin are still basically unreliable. However, some researches propose that taking vitamin A (especially retinol) may be beneficial to overall skin health.
According to a 2014 study, a type of carotenoid (the stuff that gives orange, red and yellow vegetables their colour) can be found in vitamin A. it may also be a key ingredient in UV protection and melanin production.
You can increase vitamin A in your system by eating more foods packed with vitamin A like fish, meat and orange vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers, tomatoes).
Taking a vitamin A supplements can also suffice. Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, it can accumulate in your body, that’s why The National Institutes of Health, recommends a daily intake amount of 900mcg for men and 700mcg for women. For children, their daily vitamin A intake should be lesser.
Vitamin E is also a vital vitamin for your skin health. It also works as an antioxidant and could an impact on melanin production. While there are no researches directly linking more melanin with vitamin E, some studies do reveal that vitamin E may help shield the skin from sun damage.
You can increase vitamin E in the body by eating more vitamin E-packed foods like grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables.
Vitamin C, like A and E, also acts as an antioxidant. It may increase melanin production and protect your skin. There aren’t any studies that directly connect vitamin C to melanin production. However, anecdotal proofs propose that vitamin C might enhance melanin production.
Consuming foods packed with vitamin C like berries, citrus, and leafy green vegetables may enhance melanin production. Taking a vitamin C supplement may also be of help as well.
Herbs and botanicals
Some studies have been done to explore the possible benefits of teas and herbs for guarding the skin against the damage of UV rays.
Products from herbs like turmeric, green tea and tea tree, which possess a high amount of polyphenoids and flavonoids, may optimise melanin production and help safeguard the skin.
As of now, there are no studies directly proving the link between any herb and melanin production enhancement.
For now, such shreds of evidence are only anecdotal. However, there’s no harm in trying some herbs that have the potential of protecting your skin and possibly increasing melanin levels. These herbs can be found in essential oils, supplements and teas.
The bottom line
While some studies may suggest there are several methods of enhancing melanin production, they are only anecdotal at the moment. But the most likely way to do this is taking vitamin A and antioxidants.
Consuming healthy foods or taking supplements that contain some vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and E, may help you keep a healthy skin and may decrease your risk of skin cancer as some studies suggest.
However, there are no convincing proofs if any nutrient or vitamin reliably increases melanin in individuals. The only reliable way to reduce the risk of skin cancer is by staying out of excessive UV rays and using a high-quality sunscreen.