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Melanocytes are specialized cells that are responsible for producing melanin. When melanocytes are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, they react by producing more melanin, which in turn colors your skin.
Melanin absorbs UV light, so once a base melanin level develops, it provides protection from overexposure to UV.
Depending on how much light you get, your skin reacts and turns darker. If too much sun is exposed and your skin cannot handle it, your skin will burn. This is why it is so important to know your skin type and regulate how long you are in a tanning bed.