Do You Know How Your Skin Colour Came About?

Do you know how your skin colour came about? Or how did we come to have a range of shades? It's all in your environment and diet. Read here to learn more!

By Hui Ling Chang


 

How did skin colour come about?

What is the significance of the colour of your skin? In beauty and fashion, it determines what shade of makeup and clothes suit you. In a social situation, colour is a topic of discussion. But is there really a difference to it? How, and why?

 

Melanin is one of the main factor for the appearance of your skin.

Melanin is the skin’s brown pigment and a naturally occurring sunscreen that protects against harmful UV rays. Perhaps that is why darker skinned people tend to seem to age less obviously. And yet a certain amount of UV ray is necessary for vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium for strong bones.

There are 2 types of melanin: Pheomelanin and Eumelanin.

People with light complexioned skin mostly produce pheomelanin, while those with dark coloured skin mostly produce eumelanin.

Adaptation and evolution happens. Hence changes in genetics for skin colour. Archaic homo sapiens were dark-skinned, but skin colour started to evolve as people survived in different environments.

 

Geography

In hotter climates, or tropical countries nearer the equator, it is instinctual for the body to stay cool. The weather favours darker skinned people, and with less hair so perspiration will evaporate faster.

Cooler climates, on the other hand, favours the opposite. Geographic zones that are colder and with less sunlight had a greater share of fairer skin people with more hair on their skin.

An exception will be coastal areas where people have a diet rich in seafood. More seafood consumed means an alternative source of vitamin D. Skin produces more melanin, and hence dark-skinned people in low UV area possible.

 

Sex

Sexuality is another factor too! ‘Sexual dimorphism‘ stems from the observation that adult females are on average fairer than males in the same population. This biological phenomenon can be attributed to females requiring more calcium for pregnancy and lactation.

 

And now you know the reasons that brought about skin colour. With travel and globalisation no one is limited to their geographical region. Cross cultural exchange occurs and different genes coding for skin colour spread all over the globe, giving us a huge range of skin colours.

Colour is beautiful.

Colour is not a reason for discrimination but one of celebration.