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The complexion is the colour of the skin. It can be darker or lighter and even or uneven, depending on each person’s genes and lifestyle.

The skin’s pigment

The complexion owes its colour to the presence of pigments call melanin. This molecule is manufactured in the specialised cells situated in the epidermis, melanocytes, which can be found in great density in the skin of the face. The numbers run as follows:

  • 2,000 melanocytes on average per square millimetre on the skin of the face and in the genital region
  • between 900 and 1,700 in the skin of the rest of the body

Sun protection

When the skin is exposed to the sun, the number of melanocytes increases, which intensifies the production of melanin.

The molecules of melanin play a role in the essential protection against the rays of the sun. They are synthesised, transported and deposited in the nucleus of the cells, where they ‘cover’ the strands of DNA to protect them from ultraviolet rays. The melanin therefore absorbs 90 % of the ultraviolet rays which have not been stopped by the skin.

This process is the basis of tanning.

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