The colour of the skin is determined by the concentrations of three main pigments: melanin, carotene and haemoglobin. These are found in the dermis and combine to produce the pigmentation of all surface tissues including the skin, mucous membranes, and even the eyes.
Melanin is the main factor influencing skin colour and, while people of different ethnicities have similar numbers of melanocytes (cells that produce melanin), the vast array of skin tones are due to the amount of this pigment that is produced by these cells. Low levels of melanin production can create a pale skin colour, whereas large amounts create very black skin.
Carotenoids are bright yellow substances found in carrots, peppers, green leafy vegetables and in egg yolks. Diets excessively high in beta-carotenes, such as juice fasts sometimes recommended for detoxification, may cause a yellowing of the skin and eyes that can be mistaken for jaundice from liver dysfunction.
Haemoglobin is a molecule in the blood that carries oxygen and, by doing so, lends the skin a reddish-pink colour.
Dr. Judith’s golden advice:
While the skin colour is largely determined genetically, there are steps that you could take to prevent further skin pigmentation and damage and eventually lead to a fairer skin. I would suggest the following:
- Avoid the sun as much as possible.
- Wear full sleeve shirts or tops when walking under the sun
- Cover the face while riding a two-wheeler under the sun
- Use a sun-screen lotion or cream 20 minutes before going out.
- Avoid cosmetic preparations with turmeric and sandal for the face.