The color of our skin or the pigment of
our skin is determined by cells that are found
in the basal layer or the
stratum basale of the epidermis.
These cells - melanocytes are going to
produce a substance known as melanin.
Melanin has the ability to block
damage from UV rays from the sun.
There are two types of
melanin found in the skin
You have eumelanin which is the most
abundant kind of melanin found in the skin
and has a brownish to blackish color,
and pheomelanin which is a
reddish to brown and is usually
found in things like
freckles or more reddish skin
The melanin is very important and interestingly,
everyone has about the same number of melanocytes
It is actually the amount
of melanin that is produced
that determines the color of someone's skin,
not number of melanocytes that are present
Haemoglobin is another pigment
that affects the color of skin.
Hemoglobin is the red pigment
that is found inside of red blood cells.
A third type of pigment found in the skin
that can affect the colour of the skin is carotene.
This is the same chemical
that makes your carrots orange.
This has a yellow to orange
pigment and is actually stored
in the most superficial
layer or the stratum corneum
as well as also being
stored in adipose tissue.
There are some disorders that
cause a lack of pigmentation in the skin.
One such disorder is albinism.
Albinism is a congenital
disorder that is characterized by
complete or partial absence of
pigment in the skin, eyes and hairP
This is due to a defect that causes
a lack of production of melanin.
A second disorder that is associated
with lack of pigmentation is vitiligo.
This is a chronic disorder that
causes depigmentation of the skin.
It is thought that it is an autoimmune disease that
actually attacks the melanocytes cells themselves
therefore do not have the cells
that are capable of making melanin.