Most people are aware of the benefits of taking a melatonin supplement by mouth to help iron out jet lag, adjust your circadian rhythms, or induce a night of restful sleep. But, did you know that research has been done looking into how this relaxing supplement can help people dealing with hair loss, too?
It just might be that melatonin has way more tricks up its sleeve than just helping you nod off easily.
Below, we will cover the basics of what melatonin is, review the studies to see if melatonin may help with hair loss concerns, go over the potential mechanism for hair growth, and let you know the strengths and dosage forms that are normally used for hair loss indications.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the pineal gland in your brain. This hormone is most famously known as your sleep hormone.
Melatonin induces sleep when it is high, and lets you feel more awake and alert when it declines. In fact, it is the natural decline in melatonin that occurs with the morning sun that helps you wake up in the morning.
It has been discovered that there may be a close connection between melatonin and how your hair follicles function. And, your hair follicles not only have receptors for melatonin, but they are also important sites for melatonin synthesis outside of the pineal gland in your brain.
A review study done on 5 trials involving topical melatonin for androgenetic alopecia (male pattern and female pattern hair loss) found that topical application of melatonin may be a treatment option consideration for androgenetic alopecia. The review also states that the safety and tolerability of topical melatonin in all studies were good.
One double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 40 women who were dealing with androgenetic alopecia or diffuse alopecia. The women were randomized to apply either a 0.1% melatonin solution or a placebo solution to their scalp once daily for 6 months. At the end of the trial, the hair was assessed by a trichogram. The results reported that melatonin significantly increased the anagen (growth phase) hairs in the occipital region in women dealing with androgenetic alopecia, and it significantly increased the frontal hair in women dealing with diffuse alopecia as compared to the placebo groups. The authors conclude by saying that topical melatonin may influence hair growth in humans, and the mechanism may have to do with the induction of the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle.
Since topical melatonin is a relatively new route for hair loss treatments, there is not a full picture yet of just what this natural hormone is doing to deliver these potential hair benefits.
However, we have a few ideas as to what the mechanisms may be.
More research is needed to completely understand the full functionality of melatonin applied topically to the scalp and what role it may be able to play in hair loss treatment.
When melatonin has been researched for its hair growth or hair loss slowing benefits, it is used as a topical application to the scalp in the form of a lotion or a solution. So, while the oral form of melatonin is what is used to induce sleep and help regulate your internal circadian rhythms, topical is most likely the route to use when aiming for the hair.
Since this is a new realm of potential hair loss treatment options, a set dosing strategy has not been established, although there are some commonalities between studies.
The strengths of topical melatonin seen in studies tend to be either 0.1% melatonin solutions or 0.0033% topical melatonin solutions. These lotions and solutions are also often applied only once daily in the trials.
For those who are concerned about excessive sleepiness from trying to use topical melatonin for hair loss, it should be noted that the topical applications seem to have only negligible effects on serum melatonin levels and feeling sleepiness from this type of use is unlikely.
Melatonin may be an up-and-coming player in the world of hair loss treatment, or hair growth enhancement.
It may help regulate the growth cycle to improve hair growth and scavenge scalp free radicals while delivering little to no side effects to the user when used as directed.
However, more research needs to be done to confirm these findings, and nail down the best strengths, applications, and use cases for melatonin as a treatment option for hair concerns.
Currently, topical melatonin may be a safe addition to more established hair loss treatment regimens containing ingredients like Minoxidil and Finasteride.
Always talk with your doctor before starting on any new supplement or regimen to make sure it is a good fit for you.
Here at Strut, we stay at the peak of new hair loss treatment options. We utilize complex combination regimens to help deliver customized hair loss regimens based on your specific needs, goals, and preferences.
We offer both oral or topical prescription hair loss treatments for men, and innovative topical formulations for women.
If you are interested in seeing if a Strut hair loss treatment is a good fit for your hair loss concerns, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today.
If you are a good fit for one of our medications, your treatment will be shipped to your front door. If you have any questions or need adjustments later, our staff and doctors will be happy to help you out with our free, unlimited follow-ups.