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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep (and really, who isn’t these days?) chances are you’ve heard of melatonin – and you may have even taken a melatonin supplement or two in search of some extra zzz’s.
But did you know that this hormone can also be used in skincare? It’s true. Melatonin is packed with antioxidants and other compounds that make it a powerhouse addition to any skincare routine.
Here’s everything you should know.
Like we mentioned, melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the body in response to darkness. It helps with timing circadian rhythms and, in turn, with sleep. Many people take melatonin in supplement form if they’re having trouble sleeping, though this isn’t recommended for regular use.
More recently, though, melatonin has begun shining as a spotlight skincare ingredient. And this is all based on new information, like a 2018 study that showed that 80% of melatonin is absorbed into the bloodstream when applied topically, compared to a measly 15% when ingested orally.
This kind of study opened the door to an increased interest in topical melatonin application. And, as they studied, experts found some awesome skincare benefits.
The key to melatonin’s skin-saving properties? It’s a powerhouse antioxidant producer. In fact, studies show that melatonin actually stimulates your body’s natural production of antioxidants that can:
Doesn’t seem like that big a deal? It is. Remember, we’re exposed to damaging free radicals – like UV damage, pollution, and smoke – all day, every day. And this damage wreaks havoc on our skin, destabilizing cells and accounting for up to 80% of the visible signs of aging on our skin. Stopping the effects of these free radicals, then, can quite literally help to stop signs of skin damage and aging in their tracks.
If that’s not great enough, melatonin can also prevent hair loss. This isn’t exactly a skincarebenefits, but studies even found that melatonin can stop hair loss and improve scalp health when applied directly to the scalp.
But what about those pesky side effects that doctors warn against with prolonged use of melatonin supplements? They don’t seem to be a concern with topical application: during one study, researchers applied melatonin to 80% of the body at night. They found nocorrelation between topical application and cognitive issues like headache, dizziness, nausea, or bad dreams.
Melatonin isa sleep hormone, so it might seem like common sense that melatonin supplements should be applied at night. But this isn’t necessarilythe case. When applied topically, melatonin isn’t really shown to make you sleepy. So it’s more about the other active ingredients that are found in your melatonin product. If you’re using a product with reparative or exfoliating ingredients like acids or retinols, you should stick to nighttime application. That said, melatonin’s antioxidant properties also make it a great daytime ingredient, as well, and it mixes well with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and SPF.
Clearer, healthier skin and longer, more luscious locks, and no side effects? Sign us up!