T Nation

Melanin breakdown/Skin darkening

I’ve done some research on melanin and how it works in determining skin color. Personally, I’m white as a sheet and i’m interested in darkening my skin to help with skin cancer which i’m bound to get, and to improve my appearance. It sucks when you work your ass off in the gym and its all negated by a bright sun. As far as i’m able to tell, the difference between someone with white skin and dark skin is that the person with dark skin has a slower rate of melanin breakdown. Everyone produces comprable amounts of melanin, but what makes a person darker is having a slower rate of breakdown. Now I figured if you could slow down the rate of breakdown of melanin chemically somehow, you could darken your skin without exposure to UV. If anyone has any ideas, please respond.

from what i understand, people with darker skin have MORE melanin in their skin cells. the function of melanin is to absorb UV light and during this process melanin is broken down, protecting the dna from damage.

I think you should accept the fact that you can’t can’t darken your skin from he sun without causing severe inflamtion and free radical damage which can lead that cancer. It doesn’t mean you can’t make your light skin look good. There’s a book you should read called “The Wrinkle Cure,” by Nicholas Perricone. M.D. A skin book for chicks? Wrong! Using the book’s recommendations turned around my skin tone within three months. The book discusses the use of special lotions containing alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C ester, and dmae.

thanx Baine, i’ll check that out

Hi Prime, interesting post. I read a while back about several studies done in the 40’s/50’s about para-amino benzoic acid (PABA) consumption and UV sensitivity, incidence of skin cancer, skin diseases, etc. PABA is a b-vitamin and is a key nutrient in several metabolic cycles in the body. PABA can be found in most foods that are rich in other b-vit’s such as brewer’s yeast, certain whole grains, liver, etc. These studies found that an increase in PABA intake proportionally with other b-vit’s increased tolerance of noon-day, equatorial sunlight even in extremely fair-skinned people, reduced incidence of skin cancer, helped maintain good skin tone and texture, etc. PABA became the active ingredient in topical sunscreens in the 60’s-80’s. Some people, however, don’t tolerate it well topically, so manufacturers pulled it out of topical products in the last 15 years or so.

If you are really worried about skin cancer, you might research PABA and see what has been done with it recently. There was some controversy about its use a few years ago, but that was topical use as I said earlier. The early research I read initially was abundant and dramatically persuasive. It lead me to believe that anyone, regardless of skin color, could tolerate increases in UV exposure if their PABA intake was adequate.

As I remember, you used to be able to buy PABA as a single supplement in health food stores. That might have changed, but there are several good vitamin supplements that contain PABA along with the other b-vit's.