Why do some peo­ple get freck­les when it’s sunny?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q & A - SAMANTHA GOOD­WIN, LV

When your skin is ex­posed to UVB ra­di­a­tion in sun­light, spe­cialised cells called melanocytes pro­duce the dark pig­ment melanin to pro­tect the skin. Usu­ally this melanin is pro­duced evenly and re­sults in a tan, but some gene vari­ants, such as the MC1R gene that re­sults in red hair, cause the melanocytes to over­pro­duce melanin gran­ules. This cre­ates lit­tle pig­ment clus­ters that get darker in sun­light.


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