Melatonin has become the latest trendy skincare ingredient that claims to help repair and restore your skin while combating signs of stress and pollution.
What Is Melatonin?
More than just a pill you pop when you can’t stop tossing and turning, the hormone melatonin is a key element of your body’s sleep and wake cycle. When it starts to get dark outside, the brain – signaled by the change in light – releases melatonin, triggering the urge to sleep. (That’s why you begin to feel tired at around the same time each day.) Melatonin has long been available as an oral supplement, but scientific evidence has revealed its antioxidant superpowers, making it the latest buzzy ingredient in topical skin care.
How Does It Help Your Skin?
All day long, your skin encounters damaging free radicals, thanks to pollution and UV exposure. These face foes can alter the skin’s DNA, resulting in photo damage and even cancer, according to Lain. In order to neutralize free radicals, your body makes antioxidants, with the help of antioxidant enzymes. Melatonin stimulates your body’s natural production of these enzymes. And, according to a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, these melatonin0induced antioxidants are more effective than those from the ever-popular vitamins C and E.
Another plus to adding melatonin to skincare products: There’s no risk of side effects like headaches, dizziness, nausea, or even those crazy dreams that some people report experiencing from the oral version. A study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment assessed whether melatonin cream applied to 80 percent of the body at night led to any mental changes. The results showed no link to cognitive dysfunction, so you can rest easy.
How Should You Use It?
Melatonin works with common anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol (found, along with melatonin, in Peter Thomas Roth Green Releaf Therapeutic Sleep Cream) and vitamin C (Engelman recommends skin-bringhtening ISDIN Melatonik). It also complements hyaluronic acid (found in Zelens Z Melatonin Night Repair Serum) in improving skin’s elasticity. Most people apply melatonin products at night, when skin’s repair process works overtime. But because melatonin increases antioxidant levels, some doctors argue for daytime use as well, since that’s when you’re bombarded with UV rays. Dr. Gross suggests applying an SPF with melatonin, like his Instant Radiance Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 40, as the last step in your morning skincare routine.