The Melanated Areola

It’s pretty majestic how we change colors.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, my areola turned a bold black, deeper than the chocolate of my irises, easily becoming one of the most pigmented parts of my body.

Melanocytes are specialized cells that produce melanin.

Melanin is the substance responsible for our rich color. Some argue our areolae darken to help baby find milk. But melanin’s purpose goes way beyond pigmentation.

I believe melanin strengthens organ functioning. For example, the melanin in our skin helps us absorb the sun’s excellence. And the rich melanin in our eyes strengthens our vision.

So what about the melanin in our breasts? Why do our areolae get so dark, that the color nearly matches the blackness of our hair?

I don't know about you, but my areolae do not get regular sun. So what causes them to have an intensely saturated hue?

As an antioxidant and free radical scavenger, melanin transforms "waste" and protects our bodies from molecules that seek to damage our cells. So on a molecular level, areolar melanin is an undeniable defender that is armed and ready for anything that wants to attack us or our babies.

I guess it’s no mistake that black symbolizes power, strength, and protection.

Dr. Neferkare Abena Stewart has a great chapter on Melanin. I was also inspired by her YouTube series on wombmanhood.

What have you discovered about melanin and it’s correlation to breastfeeding? Need to schedule a one-on-one? Use code: HEART2HEART.

Until next time.

Love The Journey,

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