is melanin a chemical

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  • What is melanin and how does it work?

  • Melanin is the substance that tans skin after exposure to sunlight, but it has many other functions in the body apart from turning people browner. In fact, the word melanin does not refer to a single substance but many different dark-colored pigments. This means the chemical features of melanin are not yet completely…

  • What are melanin-containing cells?

  • Melanin-containing cells, including catecholaminergic (CA) cells in the brain and melanocytes of the hair and skin, pigment cells in the inner ear, iris, and choroid of the eye, originate from the neural crest. However, the synthesis pathway, chemical structure, and function of melanin are quite different in the neural versus peripheral cells.

  • Where is melanin found in the skin?

  • They are found in places like the skin and the retina, and are invaluable in protection against damage from ultraviolet light. The chemical reactions that form melanin from tyrosine and then from dopa are achieved in membrane-bound structures called melanosomes.

  • Does melanin change the color of the skin?

  • The subsequent color change in the skin then depends on what type of melanin is most prominent in the affected person, because people with dark skin and hair have lots of eumelanin and people with red hair have lots of pheomelanin.

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