[By Kelly Chua]
Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by the brain. Known to be linked to controlling both the sleep and wake cycles, melatonin is now thought to also offer anti-aging skin benefits. Melatonin levels in our bodies naturally fluctuate during the course of the day (they are higher in the evening, when we sleep, and drop by morning) and tends to taper off with age, making it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep.
For a good night’s sleep: Taking melatonin supplements is a tried and true method that has been around for years. Keep in mind that, unlike other oral supplements, oral melatonin supplements have no effect on the skin. Melatonin can also be found in some foods like rice, oats, ginger, corn and tomatoes, but generally only trace amounts, which isn’t enough to get melatonin to the cells where it is needed to really make a difference.
Anti-Aging: A powerful antioxidant, melatonin has recently gained attention for its ability to function as an anti-ager. “There are melatonin receptors in the skin, so it’s appropriate that using it topically would benefit how the skin looks and acts” says Dr Chua Han Boon from the Sloane Clinic.
Prevent sunburn: Acting as a direct scavenger of hydroxide, oxygen and nitric oxide, melatonin is believed to protect the skin against sunburns and other types of damage. A decade ago, studies recording the skin’s response to sunlight indicated that the antioxidant effect of vitamin C and E was vastly increased with the addition of melatonin.
Protect your DNA: Melatonin is also known as a DNA protector
Melatonin available in liquid form can be directly applied onto your skin. Rub 20-30 drops onto your face, neck and arms or add a few drops to your favourite moisturizer and use nightly. Melatonin can also be found in skincare products such as Youth Corridors Anti-Aging Boost serum with Vitamin C, E and melatonin ($125 USD), as well as Cosmesis Skincare’s melatonin cream ($21 USD).