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Melanin is a natural pigment occurring in the hair, skin and iris that is responsible for your skin tone. People with light skin have less melanin than do people with dark skin, and exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of additional melanin, resulting in what we know as a tan. The function of this melanin production is to absorb UV rays and protect skin cells from damage. Depending on an individual's natural coloring (based on the amount of melanin), some people will withstand the sun's rays longer before burning than others. A fair person needs greater protection than a person with darker pigmentation, and should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF, like an Ocean Potion sunscreen with a 50 SPF.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|