How Much is Melanin Worth per Gram?

Last Updated on March 5, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

You surely heard of Melanin, the pigment that is found in the skin and hair of Asian and African people. Although it is commonly found in African skin, it also is part of the Caucasian hair composition. Over the last decade, Melanin has become very prevalent in the beauty industry, bringing a lot of versatility.

But how much is Melanin worth? This question has been debated quite extensively by scholars but only lately has caught the attention of the public as well. This article should not only tell you what is the price of Melanin but also go over the superconductor and pigment properties of this substance.

First off, let’s just say that Melanin is worth somewhere between $450 and $1,150 per gram, but this is way less than what it used to be not too long ago.

How Much is Melanin worth per Gram?

Some people are wondering whether melanin injections are a thing. The short answer is no, there are no melanin injections available on the market.

The amount of melanin in the skin has no connection to your pineal gland either. And no, contrary to the myth, you can’t buy Melanin on the stock market.

But even so, melanin is worth around $450 to $1,150 per gram, which means it is worth more than gold and other precious metals.

You can buy synthetical melanin from websites like MilliporeSigma or ChemDirect for anywhere between $59 and $1,361 depending on the needed amount and the manufacturer. If instead, you need natural melanin, then you can buy it from websites like CalPacLab for $1,150 per gram.

Keep in mind that melanin shouldn’t be bought as a way of altering your skin’s color. Instead, it is currently used in synthetic pigment and biomaterial industries.

But why is melanin worth more than gold?

Melanin is expensive mainly because it is very rare. It is a pigment that gives hair and skin their color. The one that scientists use comes mainly from an algae type that can be found in Central and South America. It has two main forms called alpha and beta. The human body has more of the alpha form. Although the beta variety is considered more difficult to obtain naturally, it can be produced synthetically.

It has been shown that darker hair will usually have a higher concentration of beta melanin. On the other hand, the less alpha melanin the lighter hair will have, the more it will be able to retain its natural color. This is another reason why melanin is very expensive.

All Chemicals Have a Dollar Value

Not a lot of people know that even though you can’t buy melanin in stores, it holds a dollar value. The cost of melanin is between $450 and $1,150 per gram which means it is worth more than gold, but also platinum, palladium, or rhodium.

You might also like our articles on the cost of saffron, caviar, or the most expensive materials on the planet.

Based on this dollar value, melanin can be considered one of the most valuable substances in the world.

How much melanin does the human body hold?

The expected production of pigment melanin will depend on how much solar energy a certain area is receiving. How much melanin will be produced will depend on not only the quantity but also the quality of light in your location.

Melanin is meant to reflect green light while absorbing blue light. There are three types of melanin inside the human body: phaeomelanin which is yellow, pheomelanin which is orange, and eumelanin, which is red. Pheomelanin reflects light, while Eumelanin will absorb it.

Melanin is a Superconductor

Studies have shown that melanin can be used as a superconductor. It is an electronic-ionic hybrid conductor and not an amorphous organic one. Melanin is biocompatible, although it has a very high relaxation frequency, due to its low dielectric constant and its unique structure. It is one of the properties that make melanin a very real alternative for bioelectronic interfaces.

Natural melanin is an interesting organic semiconductor even though it looks like a simple disordered conductor. It can capture light, but it can also store it in memory and then convert it to knowledge.

Of course, as you know, the color of the human skin is linked to the level of protection the human has from the sun. So melanin has a direct role in protecting humans from Sunray radiation. Recent research points to melanin’s possible use for cosmological and biomedical applications, as a superconductor.

Melanin also has the ability to scatter electron pairs and high thermal resistance. This property is given by the ability of melanin to resist the flow of electrons.

Even though no current technology or bioelectronic applications have managed to use melanin, scientists working on it have managed to push its electrical conductivity higher.

To modify its structure, researchers have tried to heat it under a vacuum. So researchers are considering using the potential of melanin in implantable electronics, although it might take a while before this will become reality.

Melanin is a Pigment

Different Skin Ton MelaninThe term melanin is commonly attributed to melanocytes and intracellular melanin granules that are found in the human skin.

Genetics are largely responsible for the level of melanin inside the skin, and most babies will get their skin color from their parents. Even so, the color of the skin can still change with time due to exposure to sunlight as well as other environmental conditions and behaviors.

People spending a lot of time outside will usually have darker skin over time, as the body will produce more melanin when faced with increased exposure to sunlight. It is also believed that melanin has a role in gender-related differences between people.

Although melanin is one of the protection systems that the skin uses against UV rays, it isn’t a very effective one in its job. It only is able to offer limited protection. Melanin will protect the genetic material preventing it from taking damage by absorbing UV rays.

This is why people spending a lot of time outside, in the sun, are recommended to use protective clothing and sunscreen as much as possible. Still, it still does its job of protecting the epidermis from damage UV rays might produce. In fact, the reason why darker-skinned people have higher melanin levels is that it is meant to prevent damage from UV radiation to the DNA of human cells.

It Gives Hair its Color

Not only the color of the skin but also the color of your hair is given by the pigment called melanin. This is made of protein granules found inside the cells, which are called melanocytes. Melanin will be transferred to keratinocytes,  parts of the bulbous and cortical layers of your hair. Keratinocytes will steal the cytoplasm of melanocyte dendrites by phagocytizing their tips. Melanin is responsible for the unique hue of the hair because it absorbs light.

Several genes in your DNA will determine the type and amount of melanin found in your hair. Among these is the MC1R gene, which gives instructions for the melanocortin 1 receptor, which has the role of participating in the production pathway. So the color depth is also determined by how much melanin you have in the hair shaft. Lighter hair means less melanin. And Melanin is directly responsible for both the colors black and brown.

It Protects Skin Cells from Damage

Sunlight damages our skin cells, and melanin is responsible for protecting them. However, the protective mechanism is not perfect. You should always use sunscreen or wear appropriate clothing to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Some new studies have just been released showing that your body will start boosting its defense systems even before you start getting tanned. Melanocytes have a protein known as rhodopsin. This protein will induce the production of melanin by sending calcium ion signals.

The study was made with DNA placed under ultraviolet radiation (UV) lams, to determine the damage it suffers and the role of melanin in protecting it. Although UV lights are among the leading causes of skin cancer and can cause significant damage at the DNA level, especially to melanocytes, there are other dangers that melanin protects us against. It will also fight off any free radicals found in the skin, which further protects the cells.

Although expensive, it is created in a lab for literal pennies

Experts know for quite a while that producing melanin in the lab will be a very cheap process. This is because a common cuttlefish called sepia officianalis is known to produce an important amount of melanin naturally. DOPAquinone, a melanin precursor, is produced by oxidizing the neurotransmitter levodopa. This is a process that will be done by the enzyme known as tyrosinase, which is readily available inside the brain.

There is also a book called ‘Melanin Is Worth More Than Gold: Is This The Era of The Blessed Generation?’ written by Nnamdi Azikiwe that you can currently find on Amazon.

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