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What is melanin?

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Melanin is a natural skin pigment. Hair, skin, and eye color in people and animals mostly depends on the type and amount of melanin they have. Special skin cells called melanocytes make melanin. The amount of melanin your body makes depends on your genes. If your parents have a lot or a little skin pigment, you'll probably look like them.

From: What Is Melanin? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Skin layers and melanin."

Pigment Cell Research: "Quantitative analysis of eumelanin and pheomelanin in humans, mice, and other animals: a comparative review."

American Academy of Dermatology: "What gives skin its color?"

Photochemistry and Photobiology:   "The Protective Role of Melanin Against UV Damage in Human Skin."

StatPearls: "Biochemistry, Melanin."

New Journal of Science : "Melanins: Skin Pigments and Much More—Types, Structural Models, Biological Functions, and Formation Routes."

John Hopkins Medicine: "Skin Pigment Disorders."

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: "Role of Neuromelanin in Parkinson's Disease and Brain Aging."

National Institute of Mental Health: “Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI Identified as a Potential Biomarker for Psychosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 10, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Skin layers and melanin."

Pigment Cell Research: "Quantitative analysis of eumelanin and pheomelanin in humans, mice, and other animals: a comparative review."

American Academy of Dermatology: "What gives skin its color?"

Photochemistry and Photobiology:   "The Protective Role of Melanin Against UV Damage in Human Skin."

StatPearls: "Biochemistry, Melanin."

New Journal of Science : "Melanins: Skin Pigments and Much More—Types, Structural Models, Biological Functions, and Formation Routes."

John Hopkins Medicine: "Skin Pigment Disorders."

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: "Role of Neuromelanin in Parkinson's Disease and Brain Aging."

National Institute of Mental Health: “Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI Identified as a Potential Biomarker for Psychosis.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on July 10, 2019

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