Why is my color changing?

A new study helps to answer that question.

People may be more sensitive to color changes than other sensory pathways in the body the researchers explain in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Previous studies have suggested people prefer to perceive color changes that occur close to the skin such as in embedded skin wounds or in bacterial skin infections they say.

But there is no universal consensus about the reason for this favoritism suggesting it plays some role in skin health-and the prevalence of skin cancer the most common cancer type in the world has prompted some research into the possibility that chemicals on the skin impact types of melanomas.

The human retinal network includes 168 retinal pigment-producing melanoma subtypes but there isnt much consensus about what the name of these types of melanomas is. Some studies have given broad conclusions to the answers including names from detail types-e.g. primary lesions secondary lesions slice and so forth said senior author Steven Reiner professor of sensory and visual sciences at Harvard Medical School.

Reiner and colleagues determined which chemical classes affect each subtype of melanoma. To better understand they obtained an analysis of chemicals typically present in human skin wound care products. These chemicals included pigments used to freshen the skin skin creams and sunscreens.

The researchers found that the chemical compositions of each type of melanoma contain microscopic chemical trails. These chemical trails allow pinpoints and color recipients to be identified. Our results highlight the importance of generating a systematic view of whether chemical trails exist on the surfaces of human skin for targeted chemical treatments Reiner said.

Researchers were able to determine the chemical positions and shapes of chemical trails after comparing patient screening data to published data on chemical trails in animals. Tissue is not uniform-similar to wet patches or ruffles in skin it is very variable Reiner said. Prior to our study little chemistry research had been done on the individual differences leading to differences in our color perception. Our findings are important because they examine why color changes occur on the individual level and in the visual system.

This work sheds light on the role of skin detection in our perception of color. Our study shows that skin reactions to color change are not uniform said Reiner. … Rather the role of skin detections varies depending on how far of the skin is removed.

Another important finding was that different chemicals can have different effects depending on how they are placed and how they are coated in the skin. Thanacine a chemical effective at promoting protection against infections in the skin didnt have the same effect as other chemicals such as bisphenol A which has been implicated in bladder cancer. This means that sunscreen foils containing bisphenol A may inadvertently be activating skin cells that can make melanomas happen Reiner said.

There are a few possible mechanisms that might be disassociated with skin responses to color change Reiner said. We think our finding could affect how we approach each of those visual mechanisms in a more even-handed manner. Future studies could better understand the situation of melanoma patients and how we detect dermatologic lesions. This will help us to identify chemicals that stunt the severity of their disease.