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However, you can’t expect these skin benefits just by popping a melatonin supplement before bedtime. That’s because your body digests the melatonin pill, making it unable for the hormone to then resurface in your skin, says Bowe. But applying melatonin topically (say in a serum or cream) is likely to be more effective. “Studies show that melatonin penetrates into the outer layer of skin, reinforcing the skin’s capacity for repair, renewal and revitalization during the night,” says Bowe. (And no, using it on your skin won’t make you sleepy).
While there is a lot of potential with topical melatonin, there are also some drawbacks. “Melatonin activates your skin’s melanocytes—the cells that produce pigment,” Bowe says. Translation: Using it on your skin might cause your skin to darken, or counteract any brightening products you’re using. So if you’re looking to even out your skin tone, treat age spots, or already suffer from hyperpigmentation, you might want to steer clear of using melatonin on your skin, says Bowe.
She also stresses that while early research has been “promising” on the benefits of melatonin for the skin, she says that there’s not enough out there to be totally conclusive. She does not currently recommend it for her patients, but adds: “That could certainly change as more studies are conducted!”
Bowe suggests using any product with melatonin before bed. That’s because your natural melatonin levels increase at nightfall, and then peak in the middle of the night—so you’d be working with your body’s natural rhythm. “Furthermore, since melatonin helps the skin repair and restore, and night time is when the skin focuses on these tasks, it makes most sense to apply it at night,” she says. Bowe recommends doing a patch test first to ensure that it won’t irritate your skin, and to keep an eye out for skin darkening due to the potential for hyperpigmentation.
via Melatonin Benefits For Skin And Hair