Melatonin For Skin: Benefits, How To Use, And Side Effects

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Melatonin is an important hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles. But are you aware that it may also promote skin health? This hormone is fast gaining popularity as an essential ingredient in skin care products. Its antioxidant properties are being widely studied.

Melatonin may have certain unexpected, but important skin benefits. Here, we discuss melatonin and how its topical use can improve your skin health. Keep reading.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland located in the brain. But its synthesis is not limited merely to the pineal gland. Other areas with high melatonin concentrations include the bile fluid, bone marrow, cerebrospinal fluid, ovaries, eyes, and the skin.

Melatonin regulates our body’s circadian rhythm. In fact, this hormone is essential to your body’s sleep cycle.

This hormone has other benefits too:

  • Regulates seasonal biorhythms
  • Modulates immune responses
  • Affects body weight
  • Influences reproduction
  • Causes anti-jet lag effects
  • Helps inhibit tumor growth
  • Has antioxidant benefits
  • May help delay aging
  • May reduce cancer risk

Melatonin’s antioxidant and anti-aging properties have found a place for it in skin care products. But how does a sleep hormone help your skin?

How Does Melatonin Help Your Skin?

Your skin is the largest organ in the body. This outermost layer protects your body from the various external agents that can be potentially harmful. Your skin faces free radicals every day. Free radicals are reactive oxygen species that damage the cells and tissues in the body and increase disease risk. Our body is naturally adept at producing antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals. Melatonin participates in the production of antioxidant enzymes.

This is the precise reason melatonin-based anti-aging products are becoming increasingly popular. The hormone protects the skin layers, collagen fibers, and other cells from free radical damage. It may help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

What Are The Benefits Of Melatonin For Skin?

  • May Protect Your Skin From Damage

Its antioxidant properties may help protect your skin from external damage. It may reduce the harmful effects of excess sun exposure or pollution.

  • May Maintain Skin Elasticity

Melatonin protects the collagen layers in the deeper skin layers from disintegration. It is known to reduce the effects of reactive oxygen species and help reverse skin aging. It also maintains skin elasticity.

Melatonin also protects your skin from certain factors that can accelerate skin aging. These include, as discussed, prolonged exposure to pollution, UV rays, etc. Melatonin also helps repair DNA damage and may help slow down the skin aging process.

  • Helps Fight Inflammation

Melatonin is anti-inflammatory in nature. It helps fight inflammation when applied to the skin. It also may help reduce skin puffiness and redness.

  • May Maintain Skin Balance

Melatonin is known to synergize with vitamins C and E to scavenge free radicals. It may maintain the skin’s dermal layer and help balance it.

These are the few important benefits of melatonin for the skin. But how can you use it to enjoy its advantages?

How To Use Melatonin On Skin?

Melatonin medications are usually prescribed for oral intake. But for skin care, melatonin needs to be applied topically. This is because melatonin, when orally consumed, appears in low levels in the blood and its access to the skin is limited.

Topical melatonin application reaches the various skin layers immediately.

Melatonin is routinely found in anti-aging serums, night serums, night repair creams, and other similar products. You can use it with other antioxidant compounds like retinol and vitamins C and E. Melatonin also works well with hyaluronic acid that is said to increase skin elasticity and repair any skin damage. Melatonin is also found in some sunscreens.

Making use of melatonin sounds simple. But does it cause any adverse effects?

Side Effects Of Using Melatonin On Skin

While oral intake of melatonin may disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and interfere with the body’s circadian rhythm, there is no information on the potential side effects of its topical application.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that topical melatonin application is generally safer. In fact, in a study, topical application of melatonin with concentrations as high as 12.5 % showed no effects on cognition.

Some also wonder if melatonin darkens the skin. However, the existing research suggests that topical application or oral consumption of melatonin has no effect on skin color in humans.

Are Melatonin And Melanin The Same?

Melanin is a skin pigment produced by melanocytes, which are a class of cells found in skin. Melanin gives your skin its color and shade. Melanocytes are also found in the ears, hair, and the central nervous system.

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep cycle.

Here is how the two differ:

  • Melanin is a pigment. Melatonin is a hormone.
  • Melanin is produced by melanocytes, while melatonin is produced by the pineal gland.
  • Melanin gives you your skin color while melatonin ensures your sleep cycle is regulated.

You may be surprised to know that both melanin and melatonin protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun.


Apart from ensuring you get good, restful sleep every night, melatonin is very beneficial to your skin. Its antioxidant properties have made it an important ingredient in several skin care products today. While more research is warranted to further understand its benefits, melatonin is generally considered safe on skin. Pick the right melatonin-based skin care product today and start using it regularly!


Recommended Articles

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).