Love Me Some Melanin

Love Me Some Melanin

Apr 27 , 2020


Here's a five minute crash course in Evolutionary Biology. 

Melanin is produced in the top layer of skin in cells called melanocytes. All people have the same number of melanocytes, but the amount of melanin they produce differ.

When millions of years ago humans lost their fur and started walking erect, they needed protection from the sunlight. The first humans that came to be in the sub-saharan African continent, lived in extremely hot climates where the sun is very intense. Humans evolved to have more melanin to protect from UV rays and harmful effects of the sun. However, as humans started migrating north, reverse adaptation occurred. Why?

Glad you asked.

In northern latitudes and colder climate, the sunlight is weak, however sun helps the skin produce Vitamin D, and having lots of melanin isn’t any good. Thus, humans started to adapt by losing the melanin so they could take in more sunlight.

These adaptations are coded in the genes. Your genes are determined by your parents and the many generations that came before them. Skin colour is your genetic heritage! Don’t shun it. Embrace your melanin!

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