About Skin Pigmentation
Skin pigmentation exists in all animals. Particularly in humans, the melanin content of the skin determines the color of the skin. The biggest reason why skin color varies so much in humans is due to genetics. Unfortunately we don’t entirely understand how skin colour evolved yet, but there are many theories. One popular theory suggests that humans were naturally darker, but as they spread from Africa (thought to be the cradle of human civilization) skin colour caused by mutations of the pigmentation levels could survive. In Africa and other very hot climates, darker skin color provides a survival advantage as it can resist more ultraviolet radiation.
Another recent theory suggests that human skin colour became paler through a metabolic disadvantage – because of other factors (most likely thought to be the Ice Age), humans were not being nourished enough and the skin pigmentation simply did not have enough energy to be continued. This is thought to be the origin of paler skin types.
Changing your natural skin colour
While skin colour is often a very personal issue for many people and has become a topic of racism and social status as well, there are people who would like to change the color of their skin. If you have very pale skin, you can go into the sun for extended periods of time to make it darker (“tanning”). This can also be simulated on a sun-bed. However, increased ultraviolet radiation on the skin can cause mutations in the DNA and the skin cells, leading to moles and even skin cancer.
Safety in the sun
It is very important, especially if you do not have dark skin, that you get adequate protection from the sun. Sunscreen is necessary in most places and if you are going to be in the sun for a longer period of time then you should also wear some kind of head protection to avoid heatstroke.
If you require personalised skincare based on your specific skin type or colour make an appointment to see our dermatologist. Contact us today!