You’ve had a rough day at work and your mind is still racing with everything you went through and have yet to face tomorrow morning. You’re ramped up from having been on your toes all day long and just know you’re going to have a tough time winding down and falling asleep tonight. After doing a little research, you pop some melatonin to help you… and then slather some on your face for good measure.
Wait. What?! It doesn’t work like that… or does it?
OK, so, not really. Or not at all. But melatonin is making waves with dermatologists in a big way! Here’s what you need to know about it.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is widely available in just about any store that has a pharmacy-type setting. The natural supplements help some people fall asleep. It’s actually a hormone that is typically produced in the pineal gland of your brain and is designed to help your body control your daily sleep-wake cycles. Your internal clock and how much natural light you’re exposed to every day has an influence on how much melatonin your body makes.
That all makes sense, so what does it have to do with your skin? There may not be a need to get too excited yet, as only a few luxury brands have launched products that include this newcomer. I’m always skeptical when something radical comes out until I see that, in practice, it does what we hope it will do.
How Does Melatonin Work For Your Skin?
First things first. Let’s figure out just how melatonin might be working as a topical ingredient for your skin.
In general, your body has a couple of ways to help to combat toxins and aging damage from UV rays. Those are in the form of the highly talked about antioxidants like vitamins C and E, or enzymes superoxide dismutase and catalase, both of which act as antioxidants as well. At night, your body’s production of these enzymes is stimulated by melatonin.
The hope is that by applying melatonin topically, you’ll send a signal to your skin triggering the regenerative and protective properties of these antioxidants that usually is only attained while you’re asleep and resting – the time your skin is working to rejuvenate.
Melatonin has also been found to be able to carry out some of the tasks that an antioxidant would do. According to Kenneth Howe, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City, melatonin has the ability to directly scavenge for harmful free radicals.
What Can You Expect When Using Melatonin For Skin?
Because melatonin acts as an antioxidant, it has the potential to provide you with the same benefit of protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause damage to your cellular DNA from the careening free radicals. These free radicals and the damage they cause are one of the leading causes of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmented spots. So melatonin can help to slow down and possibly reverse some of that damage.
That includes promoting healthy collagen production which can lead to fewer and less noticeable wrinkles. This could be your next go-to ingredient when it comes to anti-aging and skin protection.
If you decide to incorporate melatonin into your routine, it’s best to use at night. That’s when your own natural melatonin stores are at their highest, so the product will work the most efficiently.
Downfall to Using Melatonin
Melatonin has a habit of activating your skin’s melanocytes. They’re the cells that produce pigment, so if you’re fighting sunspots, melatonin may only make things worse for you, not better. If you’re spending your time and money combatting those dark spots, melatonin may not be working in your favor.
Where to Find Melatonin Skincare
Very few skincare lines are incorporating melatonin into their lineup, but that is likely to change in the future as the popularity kicks in and more jump on the band wagon.
This hydrating anti-aging sunscreen claims to reduce the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone, and aging around the face and eyes. Given the fact that melatonin may be implicated in darkening age spots, my mind isn’t made up yet that this product is able to deliver the results it promises. It’s also meant to be used in the daytime, so it’s not given the chance to boost its effectiveness by taking advantage of your body’s natural melatonin kick that spikes while you’re asleep.
This nighttime serum is designed to maximize the skin’s natural repair mechanism and reinforce the skin’s protective barrier. It’s full of actives like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, lipids, panthenol, and peptides, so even if the melatonin itself doesn’t do the trick, it’s backed up by plenty of strong anti-aging ingredients.
At $160 per ounce, this ought to be liquid gold. It claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and enhance the skin’s density and firmness, repairing oxidative damage. Active ingredients include vitamin C and bakuchiol, so there is plenty of antioxidant power behind the claim.
This is an ingredient that shows lots of promise, though still has a ways to go to prove itself in my book. The science seems to be there, so it’s a matter of seeing enough practical use put to the test to truly prove its worth.