Melanin is an organic pigment that synthesizes the natural color of human skin. It is, in and of itself, a powerful substance, but it can also be used to create many other products and substances. But did you know that melanin is also incredibly valuable?
The actual cost of melanin varies depending on its intended use and location. A few grams of melanin can be purchased online for around $150, while a single gram of pure melanin can cost upwards of $600.
This post will explore the cost of melanin, what makes it so special, and what you should know if you plan to buy it.
What Is Melanin?
For those asking or who don’t know what melanin is, melanin is a dark pigment responsible for tanning skin exposed to sunlight and giving our skin, hair, and eyes their color.
Melanin is responsible for protecting our DNA from ultraviolet radiation. This makes our skin less susceptible to sunburn and developing cancerous melanomas.
We’re all born with melanin in our bodies and produced by cells called melanocytes [cells are found in the epidermis of your skin and are mostly responsible for your skin color less melanocytes equal lighter skin, and more melanocytes equally translate to darker skin color].
Although everyone has the same number of melanocyte cells, some people make more melanocytes than others.
For example, melanocytes in Europeans and Americans gift them white skin and blue eyes, while Asians have low melanin levels, but high sun exposure attains yellow skin and darker eyes. On the other hand, Africans who produce more melanocytes are gifted with dark skin and eyes.
There are two major types of melanin: eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin is black or brown pigment [responsible for dark hair and skin], and pheomelanin is red or yellow pigment [responsible for red hair and freckles].
In humans, melanin is essential for the normal development and function of the brain, nervous system, and eyes. Therefore, having adequate levels of melanin can help with cognition, memory, learning, and vision.
How Much Is 1g Of Melanin?
Today, a gram of melanin is worth over $445, and In its pure form, melanin is worth over $600 a gram.
The pigment melanin comes in a variety of forms. One form, eumelanin, is responsible for the color of human hair and skin; another form, pheomelanin, produces red hair and freckles.
The darkening of the skin that occurs when one spends time in the sun results from melanin production. The outrageous price of melanin is not surprising since the substance plays a very important role in cell functioning and development.
Why Is Melanin So Expensive?
Since a gram of pure melanin is over $500, it is more expensive than gold, cocaine, and diamonds. It is quite a fee to pay for darker hair or skin tone.
So, why is melanin so expensive? Well, it’s not because of greedy manufacturers; melanin is a complicated molecule. Melanin is not rare or difficult to find, but it is very difficult to produce naturally in large quantities.
There are two practical used ways to extract melanin. The first and most common means of creating melanin is by artificially synthesizing Melanin from algae and microorganisms, including some pathogenic fungi and bacteria.
Another common way is to extract melanin from the ink of sepia officinalis [common cuttlefish] and refine it for human use.
In humans, melanin is responsible for skin color and absorbs UV radiation before it can reach the skin’s surface. In the cosmetics industry, melanin is used in various products, from body lotions to creams and serums.
In the medical field, melanin is being studied and used to treat various skin conditions such as vitiligo, melasma, and age spots. This makes melanin very, very valuable to people.
How Much Is Melanin In A Human Body?
Melanin makes up about 2% of the human body. The human body naturally produces between 1 and 2 milligrams of melanin daily.
Up to 8% [1 in every 5 to 10 cells] in the epidermis is made up of melanocytes [found in the stratum basale layer and responsible for creating melanin]. The skin is the body’s largest organ, measures about 2m2 in adults, and weighs about 15%.
However, the amount of melanin in the human body varies widely from person to person. It depends on many factors, including sex, age, ethnicity, and exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
The amount of melanin in a person’s body can range from none to a very high level. A newborn baby has no melanin, but it develops as the child ages.
Too much or too little melanin can cause changes in the color of one’s skin tone, which can lead to hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.
Price Of Melanin Vs. Gold
On the market, A gram of pure melanin is sold for over $500, but a gram of gold in today’s market is over $61 per gram.
Melanin costs almost six times the value of gold. So, if melanin were transformed into a liquid state, its value would be worth more than the oil itself. Meaning the average African man would have melanin equivalent to $6 million.
Though the price of melanin is high, it is nowhere near as valuable as gold. Trying to assign a value to something with an infinite amount of value is impossible. There is no way to place a monetary value on melanin.
On the free market, gold will always be more valuable than melanin.
How Much Are Melanin Injections?
Melanin injections can enhance the appearance of various body parts, including the skin, lips, nipples, hair, and genitals.
Insurance companies don’t typically cover melanin injections since they’re considered cosmetic procedures rather than medical treatments. The cost will vary depending on your location and the provider you choose, but it’s typically around $300 per session.
How Much Does Melanin Treatment Cost?
The cost of melanin treatment varies depending on the type of treatment, location, and time of year you choose to undergo it. The most common melanin treatment involves injecting melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which stimulates your body to produce more melanin.
The average cost for each session is about $300. At that rate, it takes about $4,000 for six months’ worth of treatments
Factors That Affect Melanin Production In the Body
Melanin production depends on many factors, especially genetics, but it can also be affected by age, gender, and weight.
The concentration of melanin in the skin increases gradually after birth; exposure to sunlight stimulates its production, while its production decreases with age.
Genetics is the most influential factor in determining melanin levels in the human body. A person’s genes determine how much melanin their body makes from the moment they are born.
It’s a simple process: You inherit certain genes from your parents, which determine how much melanin your body needs to prevent sunburn and acquire a darker skin tone.
In conclusion, melanin is a valuable and rare substance that is used in a variety of industries. The cost of melanin varies depending on the source and purity of the pigment, but it is generally more expensive than gold.
Melanin treatments and surgeries are also costly, and it is always best to consult a professional before using any new products or undergoing treatments.