July/August 2010  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 23 Number 4

By Frank Hubbell, DO

Sunburns and Sun Blocks:

There are many variations on skin color ranging from albino to ebony. The color of the skin is simply determined by the quantity of a pigment, melanin, in the skin. The more melanin that is produced, the darker the skin.

The skin pigment melanin is produced by melanocytes, which are found in the stratum basale of the epidermis. The number of melanocytes in the skin is very similar from person-to-person, but how much melanin is produced by the melanocytes varies greatly, giving the wide range of skin colors that are seen around the world.

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