Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Melanin is a natural substance in the body that gives the iris of the eye, hair and skin its color. Skin cells called melanocytes produce melanin in the body. Melanin also acts as a kind of natural sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays, however it cannot prevent sunburn all on its own.

Nourish your skin from the inside out to promote its general health. If you are deficient in vitamins and minerals, your skin will appear dry or pale. Melanin makes your skin appear darker or tanned. Consume vitamins C and E in your diet to help maintain healthy skin. In months lacking sunshine, taking a vitamin D supplement is also a good idea to help your skin naturally produce its needed melanin. In addition to these vitamins, be sure to get enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet since they help moisturize skin and hair from the inside out. Two to three servings of fish per week is recommended for optimal health.

Expose your skin to sunlight. If you life in a sunny region, simply go outside. Your skin is naturally stimulated to produce melanin when it is exposed to sunlight. Always wear UV protection over your skin such as sunblock or sunscreen. Although melanin is produced to protect your skin from the sun, it cannot prevent burns on its own.

Visit a tanning bed. If you do not live in a sunny region or the season does not bring any sunlight to your area, visit a tanning bed periodically to stimulate melanin production in your body. Talk to a tanning professional or doctor before getting into a tanning bed to make sure that you do not burn. Most cases require a person to start out with only a few minutes in a tanning bed to ensure you do not burn. Individual analysis of your skin type may be taken by a tanning professional to ensure your health and safety while tanning indoors.