Skin ColorSkin color is created by production of the pigment melanin from cells called melanocytes in the epidermis. All races have equal melanocyte numbers, but genetic differences control the amount of melanin injected into the cells which are produced in the germinative layer. Melanin production is stimulated by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The melanin absorbs these harmful rays, and the skin becomes tanned and protected. Freckles appear when only some groups of melanocytes become active and produce melanin.