How To Increase Melanin In Skin
Vitamin C is one of the most popular supplements on the market today. It’s also known by several other names such as L-ascorbic acid among others. Vitamin C has been touted for its ability to improve immunity, reduce risk of heart disease, protect against cancer, prevent birth defects, treat colds and flu, boost energy, and more. But it’s recently become associated with increasing skin pigment due to its effect on melanin production in the body.
Melanin is a darkly pigmented substance that gives your skin its color. The amount of melanin produced depends largely on genetics, but can be affected by sun exposure, skin type, diet, and even age. People who spend lots of time outdoors are particularly susceptible to UV damage which causes their skin cells to lose their capacity to produce enough melanin. This leads to freckles, moles, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. You can slow down this process using sunscreen or you can increase melanin production using various natural methods.
For those looking to naturally increase melanin production, there are some things to consider first. Your current level of health plays an important role when considering any sort of dietary change, so if you have certain health issues, eating too much vitamin C could do more harm than good. Women planning pregnancy should consult their doctors before adding anything new into their diets including vitamins and supplements. Also, people taking medications should check with their doctor about potential interactions between drugs and supplements. Finally, everyone should keep in mind that increased consumption of vitamin C can deplete iron stores. If you’re deficient in iron already, you don’t want to add more stress to your system.
So what exactly does vitamin C do? Here’s everything you need to know about how vitamin C helps to increase melanin production in skin.
What Is Melanin And What Does It Do For Me?
The main function of melanin is to give your skin its characteristic color. However, while all types of skin contain melanin, not all areas of the skin require the same quantity of melanin. Sunburned areas usually require higher amounts of melanin because they’ve been exposed to more sunlight. Darker skin requires less melanin because it contains plenty of it already. Meanwhile, light-skinned individuals generally need little melanin since they tan easily from being out in the sun.
Why Is Increased Amount Of Melanin Good For My Skin?
It turns out that melanin serves many functions besides just coloring our skin. First off, melanocytes (the cells responsible for producing melanin) are found throughout the entire body. They’re especially concentrated in the outer layer of the dermis, where they form a protective barrier. Without these cells, we’d gradually burn away until nothing was left but raw flesh. Second, melanocytes produce another compound called tyrosine which is used in protein synthesis. Tyrosine is essential for healthy growth and development. Third, melanocytes produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Dopamine works closely with melanocyte cells to make sure that our bodies maintain a positive outlook and remain calm under stressful conditions.
But perhaps most importantly, melanin protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun damages DNA molecules within melanocytes which triggers free radical formation. Free radicals cause irreversible cell damage within your skin and contribute to skin cancer. Because melanin absorbs UVB radiation (which accounts for 80 percent of solar radiation), it keeps your skin safe from UV damage. When your melanocytes work together, they create melanin through a chemical reaction involving the amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, and cysteine. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body uses to manufacture proteins, whereas tyrosine is needed for making melatonin. Cysteine is also necessary for manufacturing collagen and elastin. Hence, if you eat foods rich in these ingredients, your skin will reap the benefits.
What Foods Are Most Beneficial In Increasing Melanin Production?
There are numerous foods that contain high quantities of vitamin C. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, grapefruits, pomelos, and sour oranges are loaded with vitamin C. So are strawberries, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, kale, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, papaya, mangoes, guava, turnips, parsley, artichokes, and avocados. Leafy greens like collard, mustard, and endive are also very rich in vitamin C. Other sources include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, legumes, and beans. Just take note that consuming excess amounts of vitamin c can lead to scurvy.
Is There A Recommended Daily Allowance Of Vitamin C?
As mentioned earlier, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin c varies depending on your overall health condition. According to the National Institutes of Health, men shouldn’t consume more than 90 milligrams per day, whereas women shouldn’t exceed 75 milligrams. Children up to 12 years old should get 50 milligrams per day and adolescents aged 13 to 18 should get 65 milligrams per day. Pregnant women can safely consume 300 milligrams per day without worry. The American Heart Association recommends 500 milligrams per day for adults over 19.
Should I Supplement With Vitamin C Or Eat More Fruits & Vegetables?
If you want to speed up melanin production, supplementing with vitamin C is definitely worth trying. However, eating vitamin C–rich foods like citrus, berries, and leafy green vegetables may optimize melanin production. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests vitamin C might increase melanin levels. Eating vitamin C–rich foods may also help to minimize the effects of UV radiation.
While there isn’t conclusive scientific proof yet, researchers believe that eating large amounts of antioxidant-rich foods could lower the risk of developing skin cancers caused by excessive sun exposure. Even though there is no direct link between vitamin c and skin cancer, the jury is still out on whether or not vitamin c actually prevents skin cancer altogether. At least one study suggests that vitamin c may help to decrease tumor size. On the other hand, other studies suggest that antioxidants are only beneficial after prolonged periods of use, which means that the effects observed from them may only apply to long-term users. Given the conflicting results, it’s best to see a dermatologist before starting any kind of supplementation regimen.
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