Eumelanin is one of the two main pigments found in human hair, skin and eyes. The other main pigment is Pheomelanin. These pigments are responsible for color and play an important role in protecting the skin from the sun's UV rays.

Properties of Eumelanin

  • Color : Eumelanin is primarily responsible for dark tones and comes in two forms: black and brown. Higher levels of eumelanin result in darker skin, hair and eyes, while lower levels result in lighter tones.
  • UV protection : Eumelanin absorbs UV rays, protecting cells from UV-related damage. People with darker skin who produce more eumelanin have a lower risk of sunburn and some types of skin cancer.
  • Genetics : The production of eumelanin is genetically controlled and varies depending on ethnicity and individual genetic characteristics.

Differences from pheomelanin

  • Color : While eumelanin is responsible for dark tones, pheomelanin provides reddish and golden tones in hair and skin.
  • UV protection : Unlike eumelanin, pheomelanin offers less protection from UV rays, making people with fair skin and red hair more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer.

Importance in medicine and cosmetics

  • Skin health : Understanding eumelanin production is important for developing sunscreens and skin cancer treatments.
  • Hair Coloring : Knowledge of eumelanin and pheomelanin is crucial to the development of hair dyes and hair lightening or darkening techniques.
  • Age-related changes : With age, the production of melanin decrease, resulting in gray hair because the hair contains less eumelanin and pheomelanin.


Research on eumelanin and pheomelanin contributes to understanding how genetic variations influence pigmentation and how pigments protect skin from UV damage. This knowledge is critical for medical and cosmetic applications, including the prevention and treatment of skin diseases and the development of skin care and beauty products.

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