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What is melanin?
Melanin is a skin pigment. It occurs in both humans and animals, and is what makes hair, skin, and eyes appear darker.

Research has found that melanin may help protect the skin from UV rays. Increasing melanin may also help block processes in the body that lead to skin cancer.

For many years, studies have shown that there’s a lower incidence of skin cancer among individuals with darker skin, and people of non-Caucasian descent tend to have more melanin. But more research is needed to be sure increased melanin is the main reason for this lowered risk.

Can you increase melanin?
People of any skin type can try increasing melanin to reduce skin cancer risk. Studies suggest that upping your intake of certain nutrients could increase melanin levels. It might even increase the amount of melanin in people with fair skin types.

NUTRIENTS MAY BOOST MELANIN There are no studies directly proving ways to increase melanin. However, many nutrients thought to boost melanin can improve skin health in general and may reduce your overall risk for developing skin cancer.

Ways to increase melanin in your body
Nutrients could be the key to increasing melanin naturally in skin. Here are a few nutrients that research suggests may help your body produce more melanin.

Antioxidants show the strongest potential for increasing melanin production. Though more studies and high-quality trials are needed, some research suggests antioxidants may help.

Micro-nutrients like flavonoids or polyphenols, which come from the plants we eat, act as powerful antioxidants and may affect melanin production. Some of them increase melanin, while others may help reduce it.

Eat more antioxidant-rich foods such as dark leafy greens, dark berries, dark chocolate, and colorful vegetables to get more antioxidants. Taking vitamin and mineral supplements may also help.

Vitamin C
Your skin loses 30% of its vitamin C after being in the sun. This adds up over the years. Replenish your skin with a vitamin C serum daily to boost collagen production and minimize sun damage. At Hale, our 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid is highly concentrated to decrease hyper-pigmentation.

If you have darker skin, cleanse it only once daily, Washing your face too often can deplete it of moisture, giving it a chalky appearance. Choose a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain drying soap.

Moisturize Daily
Moisturizing should be an integral part of your skincare routine. Dark skin is notoriously dry, so a thick and emollient moisturizer should be applied several times a day. Moisturizers that are considered “humectant” attract water to the surface of the skin. A moisturizer that contains glycerin, urea, hyaluronic acid or dimethicone is recommended by the University of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program; however, those containing alphahydroxy or vitamin A should be avoided due to their irritating nature. If you prefer natural moisturizers, consider those made with shea butter and coconut oil.

Spot Treat
Black skin isn’t impervious to acne, so if you notice a few pimples cropping up in areas where your skin tends to be more oily, spot treat them with an acne cream containing benzoyl peroxide. The areas around the nose and forehead may be prone to oil, but it’s important that you don’t cover the entire face in acne treatment, as it could severely dry out the skin. Just dab ointment on each individual pimple.

Wear Sunscreen
Although the extra melanin in your dark skin protects you to an extent from sunburn and, subsequently, skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that those with dark skin are even more susceptible to the deadliest form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.

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