Beauty sleep is a real thing. In fact, it is so good for you that it is also one of the wellness trends that have been called out for 2019. Melatonin supplements or foods rich with melatonin are often recommended for people who have a hard time falling asleep at night, but more recently melatonin has entered the spotlight for a new reason. Brands have started using this ingredient topically in skin care lines to provide anti-aging benefits to the skin.
In fact, melatonin has been called out to be a potential trending ingredient for 2019 with brands like ISDIN, Peter Thomas Roth, Dr. Dennis Gross, Murad and Dr. Gerald Imber incorporating it into one or more of the products in their skin care lines.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is naturally produced by the brain when it begins to become dark outside, and it signals the body that it's time to go to sleep. The hormone is created by pineal gland, and it's function is to help the body regulate its sleep-wake cycle.
Blue light technology can severely reduce the amount of melatonin that the brain releases before bed time. That is why it is very important to refrain from using devices, like phones, before bed.1 For people who have a hard time falling asleep, it is often recommended that melatonin supplement be taken, or certain "sleepy foods" be eaten to increase the production of melatonin in the body.
Melatonin's New Purpose
While beauty sleep in a nutshell allows the skin to repair itself, melatonin specifically is being used to help prevent signs of aging on the skin. While skin aging is a complicated process impacted by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, melatonin's strong antioxidant properties have been shown to protect the cells from aging on a wide spectrum including counteracting solar UV irradiation. To receive these types of benefits to the skin, it has been recommended to use the ingredient topically rather than orally.2
"Melatonin is actually highly lipophilic, which means it can easily penetrate into skin cells and impart important cellular functions such as repairing mitochondrial and DNA damage. It also has been shown to upregulate important antioxidative enzymes, which activates further protection against oxidative damage," explains Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology.3
The clarification here is that melatonin does provide benefits both orally and topically. However, to receive the best anti-aging benefits it can offer, the ingredient needs to be applied topically. Similarly, to induce better sleeping, melatonin should be taken orally.