What is Melanin? What are its functions and where is it produced?
Can you recall your school science classes? What makes green leaves green in color? Well, the green pigment in leaves is due to chlorophyll produced by chloroplast. While most plant leaves are green in color, ever wondered what gives color to our bodies?
What is Melanin?
Melanin is the substance in our bodies that creates eye, skin, and hair pigmentation. The greater the amount of melanin your body produces, the darker will be your skin, hair, and eyes.
Melanin production is dependent on several factors. One of them is definitely your genetics. Additionally, melanin production is also based on the amount of sun exposure one’s ancestral population had.
Melanin is nothing but a complex polymer that arises from the amino acid tyrosine. The substance is present in animal and human skin. Melanin varies in degrees. So now you know what is responsible for your unique skin, eye, and hair color.
Key functions of Melanin
Melanin offers pigmentation to your eyes, hair, and skin. It also absorbs UV rays that might be harmful. Additionally, it safeguards your cells from sun damage.
Where is melanin produced in the body?
The substance is produced in melanocytes. The cells are located in multiple areas of the body. These areas are:
- The innermost layer of the skin
- Pupils and irises
- Certain areas of the brain (substantia nigra and locus coeruleus)