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Melatonin in Skincare: It's More Than Just Sleep

Melatonin in Skincare: It's More Than Just Sleep

Posted by Dr. Hannah Sivak with Brendan Leonard on Jun 29th 2021

If you’ve ever been in a position where sleep was hard to come by, you’ve definitely heard of melatonin. Maybe you even used it! While melatonin has been with us for a long time as a sleep aid, more recently it has come into popularity for skin care.

This may seem a little counterintuitive, especially with caffeine in skincare also being a trend that we’ve followed in the past. What’s better, to have your skin wide awake, or sleepy?

Well, it doesn't really come down to that at the end of the day. Melatonin that you ingest orally is going to help you with sleep, and potentially some other things too! But melatonin applied topically has it’s whole own set of benefits.

Let’s explore.

The Dangers of Oxidation

What is oxidation? 

We talk about it here a lot, and now that the skincare industry has pivoted into the pursuit of science, a lot of skincare companies, influencers, and beauty magazines are talking about it too.

But for all this talk we might only hold an abstract idea about what oxidation is.

Oxidation is a term that actually comes from chemistry. Oxidation is when a molecule, ion or atom loses any number of electrons. Apparently, science has adopted this definition more recently as the process derived its name previously from electron loss due to contact with oxygen. Now, oxygen is out of the picture and any electron loss from any source results in oxidation.

Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. This makes them the cause of oxidation, as they move through the environment, seeking a molecule that they can “steal” an electron from.

Antioxidants are molecules with lots of electrons. Antioxidants contribute electrons to hungry free radicals, so then the free radicals don’t have to scour the cells of your skin for them instead. 

Oxidation, as you might imagine, is a natural process and one that the human body has evolved to exist within. Your body creates antioxidants all on it’s own, and it deploys those antioxidants to your skin to prevent free radical damage.

The problem comes from what skin and health care professionals call “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress is a state of imbalance in which the antioxidants that your body creates naturally are outnumbered by free radicals in the environment. When this happens, you are experiencing more oxidation than your body can naturally counter. This can be very damaging to your DNA, potentially turning into cancer or resulting in cell death. As you might imagine, prolonged states of oxidative stress can have a profound impact on your skin and overall health. It’s even been postulated that oxidative stress is responsible for up to 80% of physical aging.

So where are all these free radicals coming from?

Well, as it turns out, they are all around us. Smoking increases your free radical exposure dramatically (so if you smoke, please quit today), but so does the pollution in the environment and even exposure to the sun starts chemical reactions that create oxidants on your skin. This is just one of the reasons we are always encouraging you to put on your sunscreen daily. Take care of yourself!

How Melatonin Can Help

We’ve always stated that getting a good night’s sleep is key to a great skin health routine, but if you are thinking that’s our angle on melatonin, you’d be wrong.

One of the interesting effects that scientists have noticed when looking at melatonin is that topical application naturally encourages your body to produce the antioxidant enzymes that your body uses to fight free radicals. Here at Skin Actives, we love that kind of activity. This is the same premise that our epidermal growth factor and keratinocyte growth factor work on: topical application of an active that stimulates a natural process your body is already doing. These types of actives become increasingly important as we age and our bodies begin to divert energy away from our skin.

Melatonin is a great way to enhance your ongoing battle with free radicals, but unfortunately, this is not enough on it’s own. Skin Actives recommends a melatonin cream applied to the skin and then followed up with sunscreen. If you don’t want to wear a melatonin formulation while you are out and about, you should consider putting some on to work while you sleep.

For more information on beating physical aging from oxidative stress, check out this article from our blog.

Getting Started With Melatonin

Skin Actives has lots of ways to benefit from the power of melatonin. Try one below:

Skin Actives DIY Melatonin is prepacked in the perfect size to get started with experimenting with melatonin skincare. This 1.2 gram vial mixes easily into one of our 4 oz. Canvas Base Creams so that you can get started quickly boosting your body’s ability to fend off free radicals. If you want to go the extra mile, grab a Make Your Own Cream With EGF Kit and mix a vial of melatonin into that formulation for extra antioxidant power from our Antioxidant Booster and with epidermal growth factor to encourage cellular turnover!

If you are looking for something ready made, try one of our all-time best-selling products, UV Repair Cream. UV Repair Cream is the ultimate solution for those who love the outdoors, and maybe got too much sun, hiking, swimming, or working the grill in the summer sun. Check out the teeming reviews from long time Skin Actives customers who have benefited from this fan-favorite product over the years. UV Repair Cream is filled to the gills with high potency actives to avoid oxidative damage, reverse oxidative damage, combat aging, and address hyper pigmentation. It’s the formulation that does it all. Go the extra mile and mix in a UV Repair Booster Kit for additional potency!

Take soothing sensations to the next level with our Skin Soothing Cream with Hemp Extract. Don’t let the name fool you, this is no wacky product. CBD isolate works from within to address irritated, itchy, skin. Experience unprecedented relief from troubled areas when melatonin and CBD isolate join forces!

Thanks for joining us in today’s blog, Skin Actives family! While you’re here, don’t forget to take a look at all the other great entries we have on a wide range of subjects going back years! We like to publish twice a week, so we always have more content coming soon!