10 Melanin Rich Foods to Increase Melanin in Skin


8 min read

Updated on Jan 22, 2024

Human skin has a natural umbrella that protects us from the harmful effects of UV rays of the sun. Do you know what it is called? It is known as melanin.  In this post, we will discuss how to increase melanin in skin with a rich source of food. 

Melanin is a substance in the human body which produces pigmentation. The level of melanin produced by your skin is a factor that causes the dark colour of your skin, hair and eyes. So, the more the melanin, the darker the skin tone is. However, the amount of Melanin in the skin depends on various factors including genetics. Melanin also absorbs the harmful UV rays of the sun and acts like a layer of protection to your cells against sun damage.

People with darker skin generally have enough melanin in their skin. However, those born with light skin need to increase the melanin production in their body. There are many cosmetic products which claim to increase the body’s melanin content. However, there is no research-based proof to support their claims.

Experts are still exploring different ways to naturally increase the level of melanin in the human body to prevent sun damage as well as skin diseases like cancer.  There is a misconception among people that tanning can increase melanin. However, the fact is tanning doesn’t enhance melanin, rather it might increase the risk of skin cancer.

Let us discuss more about melanin and how to increase it naturally in your skin?

What is Melanin? 

Melanin is a substance that is present in human skin to different degrees. This substance is the key factor responsible for the unique colour of your eyes, hair and skin. Melanin not just provides pigmentation to the skin but also absorbs the dangerous UV rays to protect cells from damage due to sun exposure.

Depending on your body, everyone needs a certain amount of melanin to avoid premature aging of skin and skin diseases like cancer. So, not producing enough melanin by the skin may be a cause of worry as it might increase the risk of skin diseases.  So, how to naturally increase melanin in the body? Let’s take a look here.

Reasons Why Melanin is Vital for Our Skin 

Melanin is vital for the good health of our skin. Many factors enhance the significance of melanin in the skin for its protection. The first and the most important protection that melanin allows our skin is against UV radiation. Melanin works as a natural sunscreen to absorb and disperse the harmful UV rays of the sun and protect the skin from pigmentation and lowers skin cancer risks.

Melanin also allows the protection of the skin from free radicals because of the presence of antioxidants. The antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and chemicals that harm skin cells. Thus, it supports delaying the aging process of the skin. It also protects the skin against DNA Damage caused by the exposure of skin cells to UV rays.

Melanin regulates the pigmentation process. The process of pigmentation affects the color of the skin. So, the dark or light color of the skin, eyes, and hair is controlled by Melanin.

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How to increase melanin in skin naturally?

Melanin in skin can be increased in many ways. One can visit a dermatologist or take support of certain cosmetic items which claim to increase melanin. However, the best way to increase melanin in skin is by natural means. Below are some melanin rich foods that we are discussing, which can increase the content of melanin in your body.

7 Ways to Enhance Melanin Naturally

Genetics affects the production of Melanin along with other factors like aging, hormones, and exposure to UV rays. An impact on these factors can limit melanin production, which in turn may result in hypopigmentation.

There are some ways to naturally promote the production of melanin as mentioned-below:

  1. By exposing skin to sun rays – This is one of the most effective natural ways to increase melanin production. However, you may limit sun exposure during peak hours between 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and expose your skin to the early morning sun for vitamin D. Also, don’t forget to wear sunscreen while under the sun.
  2. Drink ample water – Staying hydrated is important for your skin, and it also helps in melanin formation. So, supply your body with enough water all through the day for healthy skin.
  3. Eat food rich in antioxidants – Include a lot of berries, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and nuts in your diet for the right dose of antioxidants, which aid in melanin production. Along with antioxidants, these food items will supply your skin with vitamins, and minerals to promote overall skin health.
  4. Consume Vitamin-C rich food – Vitamin C is important for healthy skin. Fruits like strawberries, kiwis, oranges, and bell peppers are some items with a good amount of vitamin C that you may include in your diet to boost melanin growth.
  5. Consume vitamin E rich food – For vitamin E, you may count on food items like spinach, avocados, almonds, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. These foods will support healthy melanin formation in the skin.
  6. Consume copper-rich food – Copper supports the formation of melanin. Beans, shellfish, almonds, and seeds are the foods that have enough supply of copper.
  7. Use natural oils for skin massage – Natural Oils aid in the formation of melanin. Massage skin with oils like almond oil, olive oil, and coconut oil to nurture the skin and promote melanin growth.

10 Best Melanin Rich Food Items for Skin

Nature has gifted us with  many beneficial and natural foods which are nutritious and can be used to produce melanin in the skin. Here are some foods that increase melanin;

1. Foods rich in Vitamin A

Vitamin A rich food items are known to enhance melanin in skin naturally. They keep the health of your eyes intact, while also aiding with healthy skin. The intake of vitamin A helps to increase the creation of a melanin in the skin called anecdotal melanin. Hence, one should consume food that is rich in vitamin A such as sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, vegetables, fruits, fish and meat etc.

2. Food rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C rich foods are also highly beneficial and allow the increase of melanin naturally. So, if you want to increase the melanin secretion in your body, you must consume more vitamin C-rich foods such as berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables etc. Vitamin C can also be enhanced by the intake of vitamin C supplements. Overall, this vitamin is good for skin and immunity.

3. Food rich in Vitamin E –

This is another category of food which accelerates melanin production. Vitamin E or antioxidant, as it is commonly known, is a vitamin that is skin-friendly. And hence, this vitamin is said to give your skin a protective shield against sun damage of any kind.  Thus, you must consume seeds, nuts, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which are rich in vitamin E.

4. Antioxidants rich food

It is also important to have a decent amount of antioxidants in your diet since it boosts the melanin production in the body. However, no valid study is there to prove this. Micronutrients like flavonoids and polyphenols which are like active antioxidants can be used to help produce more melanin. Use food like dark leafy vegetables, dark chocolate and dark berries to aid in antioxidants.

5. Flavonoids

Flavonoids, as mentioned above, also help to increase melanin in skin. You can easily include flavonoids by consuming food like green tea, fresh fruits and vegetables.

6. Herbs and Teas –

You can also include herbs or herbal tea to your diet to increase melanin. Turmeric and green tea in particular are known to be rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which are good for melanin production.

7. Essential Oils

Applying essential oils is also an effective way to increase melanin in your skin. A message with essential oils such as lemon or lavender oil can help in this regard.

8. Eggs

Since eggs are rich in proteins and are also a good source of vitamin A, D, and E, hence they are likely to aid in melanin production.

9. Almonds

Consuming a few almonds can benefit your health in many ways including the increase of melanin production. Moreover,  almonds are rich in antioxidants and also contain a good amount of vitamin E. Hence, they are good for your skin.

10. Plums

Last but not the least, plums are also regarded as having the quality to enhance melanin in skin. Plums have antioxidants as well as vitamin E which make them a good source of melanin increasing food.

Can Melanin Deficiency Cause Vitiligo?

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that causes the skin to lose color/pigment in patches. This condition occurs when the skin cells that create pigment called melanocytes are lost. This turns the skin to a milky-white color.

Since the pigment melanin is the reason for the color of the skin, hair, and eyes, it does play a critical role in vitiligo. Lack of melanin also increases the risk of sunburn and skin damage caused by UV rays in people suffering from vitiligo.

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To conclude 

As discussed above, there are many natural ways to increase the production of melanin in your skin. Include them in your diet to see the result. Also, try to limit too much exposure to the sun and apply sunscreen when stepping out of the house, especially during peak afternoon hours to avoid UV radiations and stay away from risk of diseases like skin cancer.

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FAQs: Increase Melanin in Skin with 10 Melanin Rich Foods

Does food increase melanin in skin? If so, which ones?

Yes, food does help in increasing melanin in skin. Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help in increasing the melanin production or maintaining it. We have listed some such food in the post above for you to benefit from.

Is there a way to increase melanin naturally in the skin?

Though the production of Melanin in your body is mainly controlled by your genetics, there are some other things that can also be used to stimulate it. Sunlight exposure can be one such thing. But you must also note that too much exposure to the afternoon sun can be critical as it damages skin with UV rays. Hence, it is important to apply sunblock and limit sun exposure. One can also consume a nutrient-rich diet containing antioxidants, and vitamins like A, C, E etc. to help boost melanin production.

Can I use tablets to increase melanin production?

Using tablets to increase melanin production can be done. However, there is no research to prove that food or tablets can increase the melanin level in the body. However, consuming nutrient rich food can help skin to protect from harmful UV rays that damage skin.

Can vitiligo be termed as a chronic disease?

Yes, vitiligo is a chronic disease as it may stay with a person for a lifetime. However, certain care and interventions may help manage the disease and limit its progress further.

Can melanin deficiency cause vitiligo?

Yes, lack of melanin is the main cause of vitiligo. The absence of melanin-producing cells can cause vitiligo.

What are the effects of a decreased melanin?

Decreased melanin production will lead to more exposure of the skin to the harmful UV rays of the sun. This in turn will increase the risk of wrinkles, pigmentation, and skin cancer.

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May 11, 2023
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