Pigmentation is central to protection of skin from electromagnetic radiation.
Skin colouration is primarily due to amount of melanin in epidermis – but also influenced by carotenoids in epidermis, oxyhaemoglobin in dermal capillaries and deoxyhaemoglobin in dermal venules
• protects against UV radiation
• high molecular weight, chemically inert
• secreted by melanocytes that rest on basal membrane transfer melanin to surrounding cells
• determines skin, hair and eye pigmentation – main determinant of skin colour
• produce melanin