It seems like everyone and their mother wants to appear more bronze or tan these days. Men & Women alike are hitting beaches, imitation self tanners & tanning salons in huge numbers and its all in pursuit of a little thing called melanin. Melanin is a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.
Melanin is a broad term for a group of natural pigments found in most organisms. Melanin is produced by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine, followed by polymerization. The melanin pigments are produced in a specialized group of cells known as melanocytes. Melanin provides some protection against skin damage from the sun, and the melanocytes increase their production of melanin in response to sun exposure. Freckles, which occur in people of all races, are small, concentrated areas of increased melanin production. Some humans have very little or no melanin synthesis in their bodies, a condition known as albinism.
Melanin produced by plants are sometimes referred to as 'catechol melanins' as they can yield catechol on alkali fusion. It is commonly seen in the enzymatic browning of fruits such as bananas. Chestnut shell melanin can be used as an antioxidant and coloring agent.
ADVANTAGES OF MELANIN
Protects - Neutralizer of toxic substances within the body
Anti Aging -Cutting off free Radicals from the destruction of cells.
Nerve conducting Facilitator - Makes nerve impulses flow better
Optimizes your eye sight- Darker eyes give you better reaction time.
Energy Transformer- Found in places of body where energy is being transformed i.e.; inner ear , eye, brain.
In the pre-industrial age, freckles and sun damage were associated with peasants – people who did manual labour in the sun. The wealthy went to great lengths to keep a pale, milky skin by staying indoors and protecting themselves with hats, bonnets, umbrellas and protective clothing when they ventured outside.
While light therapy definitely played a role, it wasn't the only thing that sparked the fascination with a darker skin. It was only in the 1920s that tanning was made trendy by the fashion pioneer Coco Chanel
Rumour has it that photographs of her surfaced after she had sunbathed too much on a cruise. Chanel, who was known for her pioneering work in the fashion industry, immediately started a trend: Women unleashed the shackles of the Victorian era and took on a new minimalist style – combined with a “healthy glow”.
When colour movies and television became prevalent, actresses wanted a tanned skin to look better on the big screen.
As tanning became popular, so did sunburn, however, which opened up the market for products such as tanning oils.
By the 1960s, tanning was just as much as status symbol as pale skin used to be. A tanned skin suggested summer holidays on tropical islands, an outdoor lifestyle, fitness and overall robust health.
And if you couldn’t afford a life of leisure, what did you do? Tan in your back yard, or get a fake-tan, of course. Tanning beds and indoor tanning took off all over the world.
People already made use of sunlamps in the 1930s, while the first commercial tanning beds made their appearance in the USA by 1978. The first self-tanner, Man-Tan, made its appearance in 1958, and by the 1990s, tanning beds and self-tanning products were widely available.
Sirius Times; Dr. Timothy Moore "The Science of Melanin," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yozORb1TE_I