The true value of melanin! UV light has 2 crucial but opposite effects on our metabolism:
UV light breaks down folic acid (vitamin B9) in the blood in vessels in the skin. Too little folic acid and a) sperm counts are very low, b) red blood cell formation decreases and c) babies are born with neural tube defects, i.e. spina bifida. UV light turns cholesterol into vitamin D (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D is necessary for absorption of calcium from the digestive tract and other functions. Too little vitamin D results in rickets in children and osteomalacia (soft bones) in adults. This means there is a balancing act for how much UV light hits blood vessels: too little results in vitamin D deficiency and too much results in folic acid deficiency.
So far we know Melanin is an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-radical (fights radiation) We also know, that Melanin can be contributed to helping with UV damage in the skin, and with higher concentrations of Melanin skin is more resistant to sun damage. Melanin is generally considered to be the perfect protection against UV-induced damage. Melanin, the pigment that gives humans their skin, eye, and hair color, is the body’s first and best natural defense against the sun’s harmful rays.
Cosmetics companies have long tried to harness the protective powers of natural and synthetic melanin for use in chemical sunscreens and other personal care products. For example, melanin could, in theory, be used to produce a radiation barrier that augments skin care products by matching a more diverse range of natural skin tones. But melanin is so notoriously unstable and difficult to study that, thus far, scientists have not been able to see what it looks like at the molecular level, resulting in a slow, trial-and-error approach to its potential use in personal care products. So unless you are born with it you are susceptible to the ravages of a climate changed planet.
Melanin is the pigment that determines your skin color. The more melanin your skin produces, the darker the skin color. This pigment is created by melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin. Melanin provides natural protection from UV rays to some extent as there are different types of Melanin. The more melanin the more the percentage of protection. Research says that Eumelanin a black or brown pigment gives roughly 13.5 -15.5 SPF to darker skin and Pheomelanin which is reddish or seemingly yellow in tone only 4-5 SPF to fair skin.
Another point to note is that melanin not only protects from UVB rays but also from UVA rays. UVA rays cause aging and wrinkles and UVB rays can damage the DNA in skin cells directly and are the main cause of sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers. Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) from the sun can damage the DNA in skin cells, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. In the US, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and at least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. Studies show that populations with skin of color in the United States, particularly Hispanics and African Americans, do not regularly wear sunscreen or take other steps to protect themselves from the sun. However, no matter an individual’s skin tone, all skin tones are susceptible to sunburn, premature aging, skin cancer, and other health issues as a result of too much exposure. This differs dependent on the amount and type of melanin you have.
Another common concern related to sunscreen use is how it affects the body’s absorption of vitamin D. The dark-skinned population suffers from twice as much Vitamin D deficiency as the white population, and too much sunscreen exacerbates this as well as contributes to the loss of coral reefs. While chemicals can protect us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, research strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in most sunscreen products may cause cancer in people. Many of these chemicals are considered hormone disruptors. Nearly half of the ingredients in sunscreen used to block out UV light mimic the effects of progesterone, the female hormone, thus preventing sperm cells from functioning normally. This may be another reason Caucasian and Asian birth rates are so low globally! When all is said and done natural melanin is a gift that keeps on giving when it comes to climate change.
90% of cases of skin cancer occur in people with white or light skin. Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States and represents 35–45% of all neoplasms in Caucasians (Ridky, 2007),Statistics show that 0.1% of all skin cancers occur in Blacks and most of these cases are those who suffer from albinism, 0.3% occur in Asians, and 0.4% in Hispanics. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in patients with dark skin. The cheapest Melanin available for sale is $511 a gram! In comparison, today's value of gold is only $53 a gram, so that means Melanin is roughly 10x the value of gold! Scientists are still learning about all of the benefits of Melanin in the skin. Black and darker skin tones have larger individual melanin carrying cells that are evenly distributed through the epidermis.
In Black skin, melanosomes are also more active and produce more melanin. In fact, some studies have shown that Black skin produces twice as much melanin as white skin. A gram of melanin is valued between $450 and $550 it may be more coveted than gold, which has been widely regarded as a form of payment from roughly 3,000 B.C. Gold is now worth $61.02, which means the natural melanin found in black people is eight times more valuable than gold. Skin pigmentation in the typical black person's body is worth over $40 million dollars.