My sleep has recently been at the forefront of my little noggin. I’m sleeping MUCH better than I was, but I’ve been waking up every morning at 3:26 like clockwork. It’s almost unbelievable how it’s the same time day after day. Does anyone else do that? It’s not that it’s so early that I’m exhausted (I’m a big morning person), it’s because my alarm goes off at 4am and NO ONE likes to be up before their alarm, especially when you could have had 30 more minutes of precious slumber 😉 While I shouldn’t complain because I’m actually a functioning member of society who isn’t exhausted for once, I’m still acutely attuned to my sleep. And because I’ve been so aware of my sleeping habits, I often think about about how my skin is appreciating this newfound sleep too. I especially notice how my under-eye area isn’t as puffy nor does my skin look as tired. And was it tired… The sleep study showed I was only sleeping 3 hours a night out of 7 to 8 hours and my skin was taking a huge hit. I mean, remember the blog we wrote on what our skin does while it sleeps? It does a lot. A whole lot, so taking care of both yourself and your skin is very important.
So if you’re thinking, ‘I should really get more sleep at night’ and you struggle with sleep, chances are many of you rely on a sleep aid, and I’m specifically thinking of melatonin because that was my saving grace when I was just flat out exhausted & running on empty. It always ensured a full night’s sleep (though I didn’t appreciate the groggy morning feeling I would get, but anyways). But would you believe that melatonin is no longer just an oral medication you can take to help your body rest up? It’s now an active ingredient in skincare that works in a ‘similar’ way.
In order to reap melatonin’s visible anti-aging effects, you’ll have to apply it topically. I found there is no evidence that oral ingestion of melatonin will impart skin anti-aging benefits directly. It will help you sleep, which REALLY helps your skin. But topical melatonin currently has the most data for providing skin benefits as an antioxidant and skin brightener.
If you have tired skin, whether it be from lack of sleep, pollution, UVA/UVB rays (past and present) or your skin is just needing a pick me up, melatonin skincare products have been shown to help!
Quick Reference Guide
- Poor sleep pretty much negatively affects nearly every system of the body, including the largest organ – yup, the skin.
- Poor sleep or little sleep can lead to bags under the eyes, wrinkles & even poor skin tone which ultimately contributes to premature aging
- The hormone melatonin is responsible for regulating your sleep cycle and plays a key role in skin repair and renewal. Aging and sleep disturbances can decrease the body’s production of melatonin.
- Topical application of melatonin works by fighting free radicals, providing photoprotection and supporting skin healing.
- Other topical agents including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), vitamins C and E, compliment melatonin’s effects.
What Is Melatonin In Skincare?
Melatonin is highly lipophilic which basically means it can easily penetrate into skin cells and help in repairing DNA damage. It also has been shown to increase a cellular response in anti-oxidative enzymes which activates further protection against oxidative damage. Human terms – it repairs & protects your skin 😉
While oral melatonin supplements can improve sleep, like it did for Cheeky, melatonin appears in low levels in the blood. The efficacy of melatonin as a topical agent offers a winning way to enhance the skin’s nightly repair cycle. Researchers have found that melatonin penetrates into the outer layer of skin and is able to reinforce the skin’s capacity for repair, renewal, and revitalization during the night. Fortunately, very low concentrations of melatonin are needed to penetrate into the skin, so a little goes a long way & that’s what we like to hear!
IMPORTANT NOTE: Using melatonin on your skin might cause your skin to darken, especially if you’re not using the right products. I’ve seen VARIOUS reports. I saw that when melatonin was paired with vitamin C, it was VERY effective in the treatment of melasma, so I have done my best to pick the products that will only help your skin. Oral melatonin has been shown to darken melasma… I did not know that before this research, but it certainly makes since.
Our Favorite Melatonin Skincare Products
‘Stay sun safe and guard against photo-aging including dark spots, and fine lines and wrinkles, with all-physical UV protection. Free from chemical filters, this lotion is safe and effective. This can be worn daily as a way to decrease the risk of skin cancer. NYC dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created a Mela-C Defense Complex featuring melatonin, vitamin E and three forms of vitamin C to fight free-radical damage and protect skin from oxidative stress. Consider this high-protection SPF 50 formula your first defense against photo-aging and sun damage.’
‘MELATONIK™ works while you sleep by helping your skin recover from the day and leaving your skin ready to fight against the oxidative stress that will be produced during the next day. Stimulates your skin’s natural antioxidant defenses, repairs environmental stress and damages from the previous day, and supports healthy, younger looking skin.’
‘Isdinceutics Flavo-C Melatonin acts while you sleep, stimulating the antioxidant defences of the skin. Leaves your skin ready to combat the oxidative stress that occurs during the day.’
‘A calming, smoothing night moisturizer with hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil, Retinoid, topical melatonin and colloidal oatmeal.’
Images & information provided by their respective brands.