People with different skin tones want to increase their melanin levels for a variety of reasons – getting that summer golden glow, fighting uneven skin pigmentation, or curing skin ailments. While basking in the sun or a tanning bed are the quickest ways to darken skin tone, an increase in melanin is technically a sign of skin damage. Tanning should be done fairly and gradually to reduce the risk of long-term damage. Intake of vitamin-rich foods in your daily diet will make you look much fresher (and healthier). When consulting with your doctor, you can also choose various types of supplements or special treatments to increase melanin production.
Method 1 of 3: Darkening Skin with UV Exposure
Step 1. Bask in the sun to darken the skin
To get an even and all-over dark complexion, bask in the sun. First, apply a sunscreen cream with an SPF of at least 15 (creams with an SPF of 30 or more are the safest choice). Lie in direct sunlight without clothes on. After 20-30 minutes, turn your body. Wait 20-30 minutes, then cover the body and move to a shady place.
- Repeat this process a few times a week and you will notice that your skin is gradually getting darker.
- Skin cells produce melanin as a way of protecting DNA from UV exposure. As you know, during hot weather, exposing the skin to UV radiation can increase melanin production and make the skin turn darker.
Step 2. Don't burn your skin
When your skin absorbs UV radiation beyond its capacity, you will experience a thermal burn, causing more blood to flow to the injured area, and causing a red rash and irritation of the skin. Sunburned skin cells will be damaged and interfere with the production of melanin. Don't sunbathe for too long. However, limit the time to sunbathe to 1 hour per day. Give your skin time to "rest" from the sun's UV radiation during the darkening program.
- Don't try to get sunburns as a sign of "starting" a darkening program. This habit is a myth that will slow down the gradual darkening of the skin.
- Sunburned skin can trigger the appearance of skin cancer and signs of premature aging.
- Remember, increased production of melanin is a sign of damaged skin cells. There is no completely “safe” way to tan in the sun.
Step 3. Apply sunscreen cream every day and reapply regularly
Apply a sunscreen cream with an SPF of 15 or higher on exposed skin areas. The area in question includes body parts that are often forgotten, such as the feet, ears, and scalp. Use more sunscreen cream than you think – 30 ml of sunscreen cream should be enough for the whole body. Reapply the cream every 2 hours or after the skin is exposed to water.
Sunscreen creams don't prevent skin darkening, but they can protect you from sunburn
Step 4. Keep skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day
Healthy, hydrated and soft skin cells are less likely to change color and can repair UV damage quickly. If you're not used to keeping your skin moisturized, bring a water bottle and increase your water consumption gradually from 1 to 5 bottles.
Drinking lots of water can prevent dehydration. The combination of dehydration and high sun exposure can make you sick. A program to darken the skin feels meaningless if you have to be rushed to the hospital for an IV
Step 5. Spend your time in a tanning bed to increase your UV exposure
Contact a tanning salon to schedule a treatment and choose a vertical or horizontal tanning bed. When using these tools, wear protective goggles and bathing suits. Turn your body for an even finish. Start with short sessions of 5 to 7 minutes. After consulting with a skin care expert at the salon, gradually increase the duration of using the tool to get a darker skin tone.
The use of tanning beds is not recommended by dermatologists and doctors because it can trigger skin cancer. Technically, this tool emits UV rays that can stimulate melanin production and make the skin darker over time
Method 2 of 3: Eating Vitamin-Rich Foods
Step 1. Eat foods that are high in beta-carotene and vitamin A
Add oranges and red vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, and red peppers to your diet. Also include fruits such as pumpkin, papaya, and cantaloupe. Although beta-carotene does not technically stimulate melanin production, this fat-soluble pigment can accumulate in the skin, causing it to darken naturally. Beta-carotene's effect on skin pigmentation is most effective on pale skin.
- Most of these foods also contain vitamin A, an antioxidant that can help produce melanin in the skin.
- Include dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and lettuce in your diet. Apart from the color, these foods also contain beta-carotene.
- Cooking these vegetables will not reduce the amount of beta carotene contained in them. So, you are free to be creative to process it in the kitchen.
Step 2. Eat foods that contain vitamins C and E
Vitamin E can be found in nuts, wholegrain foods, whole grains, and a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as asparagus, avocado, and corn. You can get vitamin C from sour fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, and blood oranges), as well as from pineapples and bell peppers. Vitamin-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, a variety of berries, and broccoli.
- These foods contain antioxidants that are useful for protecting the skin from cell damage, and keep melanin production in balance.
- To get maximum vitamin intake from fruits and vegetables, eat them raw.
Step 3. Eat fish rich in natural oils to increase your vitamin D intake
Increased melanin production reduces the skin's ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight. This is a crucial vitamin for maintaining healthy bones and blood. So, you should support your food intake with some foods that contain natural vitamin D. Eat a variety of fish, such as salmon, catfish, mackerel and herring. Canned fish such as tuna and sardines are also good sources of vitamins, as are fish oils, such as cod liver oil.
Eat reasonable portions and consume these foods several times a week to reduce the consumption of fat and mercury
Method 3 of 3: Undergoing Treatment and Taking Supplements
Step 1. Take vitamin supplements to fight vitamin deficiency
In addition to eating vitamin-rich foods, you can also increase your levels of vitamins A, C, D, or E through supplements. Beta-carotene supplements can be purchased without a prescription, but these products are usually used to treat skin diseases.
- Prioritize foods rich in beta-carotene before taking supplements.
- Consult with your doctor to find a supplement that fits your needs.
Step 2. Consider using melanin pills and PUVA therapy to treat serious skin conditions
Discuss this process with your doctor if you want to treat vitiligo, eczema, psoriasis, or other skin diseases. You may be prescribed a 10-milligram oral melanin tablet. This treatment is followed by a photochemotherapy treatment using UV light.
As an alternative, these tablets can also be dissolved in the bath and applied topically
Step 3. Use synthetic melanin hormone injection to darken the skin
The synthetic peptide hormone Melanotan II can accelerate the production of melanin in the body. As a result, the skin will be darker even though it is not exposed to UV rays. After consulting a doctor, you can get this product legally without a prescription. You can use a sterile 27 per 1 ml syringe to inject a single dose (0.025 milligrams of the hormone per 1 kg of body weight) into the abdominal fold. Repeat this process every week until you get the desired skin tone.
- Note that Melanotan-II is not FDA approved in the United States (equivalent to BPOM in Indonesia). These products are usually sold online. However, its sale and use is prohibited in the United States, Europe and Australia.
- Dermatologists do not recommend using these products because of their unclear long-term effects.
- Melanotan II is made for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Be aware of the effects of hormones associated with these disorders.
Use a special lotion or spray to darken the body. Although they don't produce melanin in the skin, these products can darken the skin without causing damage like UV rays
- There are many “tanning pills” on the market that contain an artificial dye called canthaxanthin. These products are not licensed by BPOM. Side effects include retinal damage.
- The notion that a higher amount of melanin or a darker skin tone can protect you from UV radiation is a myth. Dark skin produces less than 4 Sun Protection Factor (SPF). The minimum recommended level is SPF 15.