Under your outer layer of skin, there are special cells which make a pigment called melanin. How much melanin there is in your skin determines whether you are light or dark. And a second pigment, carotene, found in your inner layer of skin, determines how yellow your skin tone is. People with light skin have just a little melanin. Darker skin, on the other hand, has much more melanin. How much of any of these pigments you have is, for the most part, determined by the genes you inherit. But even though the skin on the outside maybe different shades of color the skin is all the same.