Acknowledging and understanding all skin colours enables us to give you an individually tailored recipe for beautiful skin!
What is melanin?
Melanin is a skin pigment produced by specialised cells known as melanocytes, in the epidermis (the surface layer of the skin). The colour of skin is determined by the distribution and density of melanin.
Each ethnic group have a similar number of melanocytes in their skin. What differs between ethnicities is the level of melanocyte activity, combined with how the melanocyte cells are made up and grouped together. It is these differences that result in varying shades of skin, and is also what gives rise to freckles (closely grouped melanocytes).
Due to the high levels of melanin in dark skin, we generally see more pigmentary problems in this this skin group.
Melanin and sun protection
A persons ethnic group affects how their skin reacts to the sun. Dark skin has more natural protection from UV rays, with an average natural UVB protective factor of 13 compared that of factor 3 in Caucasian skin. Although skin cancer is less prevalent in dark skin, it does still occur and can present very late and therefore at a more advanced stage, as it can be more difficult to see. This is why it is so imperative that we all, regardless of skin shade or tone, protect ourselves from the sun, by using adequate sunscreen.
The protective powers of melanin
The sun plays a huge role in the ageing process. We call this “photoageing”. Melanin is “photo-protective”, meaning that it provides protection from the sun’s UV rays. Melanin therefore influences the rate of ageing and partially accounts for the reason why certain ethnic groups age slower than others. Generally, Caucasians have an earlier onset of skin wrinkling and sagging, compared to other ethnicities.
As well as photoprotection from melanin, dark skin shades also have another natural antiageing quality. In dark skin shades, the dermis (middle layer of the skin) contains more active collagen-producing fibroblast cells. The increased fibroblast activity leads to more production of compact collagen bundles. The result is, supple skin which maintains its structural integrity and youthful appearance longer.