The evolution of human skin colouration and its relevance to health in the modern world

This review is based in part on Professor Jablonski’s lecture at the RCPE Symposium on Dermatology in Edinburgh on 21 September 2011.Functionally naked skin which comes in a range of colours is unique to the human species. This review summarises current evidence pertaining to the evolution of these attributes. The biggest changes in the integument occurred during the course of human evolution in equatorial Africa, under regimes of high daytime temperatures and high ultraviolet radiation (UVR).