What is Melanin?


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When a dark chocolate Supermodel Alek Wek hit the runway in 1995 the world stood in shock. Not only was it rare for a model of colour to be prominent in fashion but a super dark model with skin as black as the night. To some that was offensive but I have always loved dark skin. I yearned to know what is was that made the skin so dark and shining ensuring minimal sunburns. Then I heard the term Melanin!

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Melanin is responsible for determining skin and hair colour and is present in the skin to varying degrees. Some people say it prevents black people from getting burnt in the sun, and gives us our colour.

Melanin is a component of Carbon. Carbon matter exists in everything, it is a known fact that every living thing on the earths planet contains an element of Carbon. It is also known that Carbon is one of the gasses that created the earth. Why is this relevant?

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Melanin is found in several areas of the human body including:

  • Skin where it provides skin color
  • Hair
  • Pupils or irises of the eyes
  • Stria vascularis of the inner ear
  • Areas of the brain, the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus
  • The medulla and zona reticularis of the adrenal gland

Naturally the melanin is what creates us as who we are today. The Frizzy Crowns, dark skin, insane musical rhythm is all credited to Melanin. It is still up for debate and research the benefits of melanin and what it actually does. But I am sure us black girls feel its magic every day.

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