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April 1986

Functions of Melanin

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center 630 W 168th St New York, NY 10032

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(4):373-374. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660160023003

To the Editor.—  Good theories should give way to better theories, and even good theories may become untenable as new information is discovered. Periodic questioning of dogma is a useful way to reevaluate dogma, lest we be complacent with obsolete conclusions. The article by Warwick L. Morison, MD, "What Is the Function of Melanin?" in the September 1985 issue of the Archives1 is commendable for calling into question melanin's importance as a sunscreen. In the same spirit, I would like to review reasons I, for one, remain comfortable with the notion that melanin is an important sunscreen and hesitate to deny its importance.Formal education has convinced me that how well one scores in tests of knowledge and skill is strongly dependent on which questions are asked. In the context of Dr Morison's commentary, I take the greatest exception to his criteria for evaluating a sunscreen.The ability to prevent