The recent topic of conversation and rightly so. The colour of our skin and its processes are complex and intricate in nature. It is a skin component that faces excessive (and unjust) scrutiny while being tanned and bleached in the hopes of gaining the perceived beautiful tone. 

Just like all of the wonderful parts of our bodies, the colour of our skin plays an important role in our protection and maintenance of homeostasis. 

There are many theories as to why humans exist in a range of beautiful skin colours, but if we think about melanins function within the skin it gives us an indication of a very simple explanation. 

Melanin is produced as a response to UV; ‘packets’ of melanin are passed from the melanocyte that creates it to the keratinocyte (our skin cell) where it forms a cap over the nucleus of the cell as a protective mechanism from UV damage. 

People with darker skin, that have more melanin, originate from countries that have more UV exposure by being closer to the equator. With more sun, came more UV and in turn the body produced more melanin to account for this environmental factor. That’s not to say dark skin doesn’t need to be protected from the sun; skin cancers, pigmented conditions and premature ageing can occur in any skin and should be looked after as such.

As we have evolved and moved around the world there has been a mix of skin issues that have followed. Vitamin D is produced in the skin from sun exposure, so the balance between protection from UV damage and adequate vitamin D production needs to be considered. 

If you think of light skins and where that originated from, there was often little sun exposure so the people didn’t need the protective melanin, instead they needed vitamin D. When living in countries like Australia, where we have an extremely high UV index we also have extremely high rates of skin cancer. Our indigenous Australians are equipped for this environment but in those who have white heritage the lack of melanin is not able to protect the skin adequately. Comparatively the UK has an estimated 50-70% of adults are vitamin D deficient (23% in Australia) with lower skin cancer statistics.

In a clinical setting you may have heard your skin therapist discuss your “Fitzpatrick.”

The Fitzpatrick scale is a way to access your skin based on colour, ethnic background, ability to tan and healing response. Rated a 1 to 6, it provides the therapist an indication of your likelihood to have an adverse reaction to heat, light and inflammation based modalities used in a number of skin treatments. As we discuss melanin is protective in nature, so a trigger (for example laser) can induce more pigment to be produced if the care hasn’t been taken to understand your skin or prep you adequately. Each and every skin will have its own response to stimuli and pigment may just be one of the responses, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

(The topic of pigmentation is also complex and extensive so will be discussed in a further blog)

The body has an amazing innate sense of knowing what we need to survive and will try to protect you in any way it can. Acknowledging and understanding the beauty in diversity and thus inclusive has always been a focus at HOM; we love all skins, wholeheartedly.

MaxxByMakayla is a lifestyle brand that was established in 2015 consisting of holistic skin clinic House of Maxx and internal range MaxxBeautyTonic.

We VALUE being INCLUSIVE of the COMMUNITY we live amongst, creating an EMPOWERING and POSITIVE space to challenge current beauty standards and change the narrative within the beauty industry to be one of INNOVATION and EDUCATION whilst keeping in mind to be as SUSTAINABLE as possible both environmentally and individually.