Melatonin For Hair Growth: Everything You Need To Know

Medically reviewedby Dr. Amy Revene M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Melatonin supplements are often associated with sleep support, and some research suggests a connection with hair growth.

You read that right: taking melatonin alone, known for its sleep-enhancing properties, could also potentially bolster your locks.

Naturally present in our bodies, melatonin assists in regulating our sleep-wake cycles.

Melatonin is commonly used in various forms, like pills, by those looking to improve their sleep experience. However, its potential benefits extend beyond simply helping us snooze a good night's sleep off.

Melatonin is increasingly being explored for its potential role in hair growth, often through topical application.

But what exactly does science say about this intriguing connection between your melatonin levels and hair growth? The answer is more complex than you might think.

So, let's delve in and untangle the complexities surrounding this topic.[[textbox]]

Summary

Although the precise mechanism remains unclear, studies have demonstrated that topical application of melatonin may aid both males and females suffering from hair loss and promote robust hair growth.

For individuals facing hair challenges like androgenetic alopecia, some consider melatonin as a topical option, although conclusive research is still needed.

It's worth mentioning that some research suggests topical application of melatonin may be more relevant for hair care than oral supplements.

To learn about the most suitable treatment for your specific needs, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

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What is melatonin?

melatonin for hair growth

Our brain's pineal gland, a tiny gland that primarily produces the hormone melatonin, is an essential regulator of our sleep-wake cycles. It sets the pace of our bodily rhythms, prompting a slowdown for rest as night falls and a reinvigoration when daylight emerges.

This rhythm of sleep and wakefulness is one of the many circadian rhythms within our body, encompassing the physical, mental, and behavioral modifications that operate on a 24-hour sleep cycle throughout.

However, melatonin's capabilities extend beyond just being a sleep orchestrator. It has a hand in many other bodily functions and systems. Scientifically, we still have much to unearth regarding the many roles of melatonin in our bodies, but observations suggest its involvement in several areas:

  • The health of our eyes
  • The functioning of our immune system
  • Regulation of blood pressure
  • Managing cortisol levels
  • Mitigating seasonal depression
  • Alleviating acid reflux
  • Offering protection to the skin from UV radiation, among other benefits.

Melatonin, in particular, has also been shown to possess potent antioxidant qualities.

How does hair loss happen?

self perceived thinning hair

Hair loss comes in several forms, but for the purposes of our article, we will solely focus on one specific type: androgenetic alopecia.

Typically referred to as male pattern baldness, androgenetic alopecia affects a staggering number of men and women, around 50 million men in the United States alone. 

This condition is believed to result from a complex interplay between genetic and hormonal factors.

A key player in this hair loss scenario is a hormone that our bodies produce called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone is often pinpointed as a significant factor contributing to male pattern baldness.

When one is genetically prone to hair loss, DHT interacts with receptors in the scalp, causing the hair follicles to shrink.

As a consequence of this retraction, new hair growth is impeded, ultimately leading to thinning hair or complete baldness.

The connection between melatonin and hair growth

melatonin promotes healthy hair

A thorough review of scientific research published in the International Journal of Trichology delved into the intriguing impact of melatonin on hair growth.

The encouraging findings suggest that a topical melatonin solution could potentially treat androgenetic alopecia. 

This conclusion was drawn after scrutinizing multiple clinical studies, establishing topical melatonin treatment as a promising hair growth promoter.

In one such study, it was noted that the application of oral melatonin supplements over a span of either 30 or 90 days resulted in a notable reduction in the severity of androgenetic alopecia.

However, the underlying mechanisms of how melatonin works to counteract androgenetic alopecia remain somewhat elusive. 

While research has validated its efficacy, the precise modus operandi of melatonin in this context is yet to be fully understood.

Considering giving it a go?

Typically, synthetic melatonin used for hair loss treatment is available as a cream or a serum-like formula. It needs to be applied regularly, ideally on a daily basis, for optimal results.

Does melatonin promote hair growth?

Yes, scientific research suggests that melatonin may promote hair growth. A review published in the International Journal of Trichology indicates that topical application of melatonin can be a viable treatment for androgenetic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness.

Throughout various studies, it was observed that the use of melatonin led to a significant reduction in the severity of this condition. 

However, the precise mechanisms by which melatonin promotes hair growth still need to be fully understood.

Other effective hair growth treatments

Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Growth Routine

The 3-Step Hair Growth Routine by Scandinavian Biolabs is a specially formulated set of products to help combat hair thinning, stimulate new hair growth, and reinforce existing hair strength.

One essential product in this routine is the Bio-Pilixin Serum.

Clinically tested, this serum has been met with high levels of user satisfaction due to its effectiveness in nurturing damaged hair follicles and keeping human hair follicles healthy.

Each product in the 3-Step Routine boasts a selection of carefully chosen ingredients.

These include niacinamide, known for its ability to enhance blood flow; aloe vera, a potent hydrating agent that also strengthens hair; an amino acid complex for bolstering hair shaft integrity; vanillyl butyl ether to promote blood flow to the hair follicles; and zinc PCA, which regulates sebum without skin irritation.

Quality and ethics underpin the manufacturing of these products. Each ingredient is scientifically backed but also 100% vegan and predominantly inspired by nature.

A rigorous quality assurance process ensures that every component undergoes third-party lab evaluation. 

This way, Scandinavian Biolabs maintains a high-quality standard, guaranteeing that many of its ingredients are plant-powered or synthetically produced to mirror natural molecules.

Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Hair Growth Routine | For Men
Formulated to combat shedding & signs of balding

Minoxidil

Minoxidil, similar to melatonin for hair growth, is a topical treatment administered directly to the scalp. This medication, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is readily accessible as it doesn't necessitate a prescription. 

It is readily available in liquid and foam formulations, making it convenient for users.

A comprehensive review conducted in 2019 substantiated minoxidil's effectiveness for both men and women suffering from pattern hair loss. 

This evidence supports its widespread use as a remedy and topical treatment for this common condition.

While the exact mechanisms by which minoxidil promotes hair growth remain mysterious, the prevailing theory suggests it may function by enhancing blood circulation to the scalp. 

This increased blood flow is believed to stimulate hair follicles, nudging them into the anagen phase, which is the active growth stage of the hair cycle. 

This way, minoxidil could revitalize hair follicles that have slowed or ceased growth, leading to noticeable hair volume and coverage improvements.

Finasteride

finasteride for hair loss

Finasteride is a prescription-only medication commonly employed to boost hair growth and combat male pattern baldness. 

Unlike melatonin, the workings of this drug in promoting hair growth are well-understood.

Finasteride operates by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone). 

Limiting DHT production helps slow down and even reverse the process of hair thinning and other hair loss affecting some.

The effectiveness of Finasteride is backed by compelling scientific evidence. In a notable study, an impressive 99.1 percent of men were able to halt the progression of their hair loss over a decade-long period of taking oral finasteride alone. 

Moreover, a substantial 91.5 percent of these men experienced hair regrowth, suggesting Finasteride stops hair loss and promotes a new hair growth cycle well.

The medication is typically consumed in tablet form daily. 

Hair thickening shampoos

Yet another approach to stimulate hair growth and enhance hair thickness is using specially formulated shampoos. 

One such product is offered by Scandinavian Biolabs, like its Hair Growth Routine, which has developed a hair-thickening shampoo infused with active plant-based ingredients. 

These plant-powered compounds have demonstrated the potential to reduce hair loss.

Biotin products

You've likely come across biotin gummies and shampoos while scrolling through social media, as they're a significant hit among influencers. Wondering what the fuss is all about?

Biotin, a type of B vitamin, is hailed for its role in fostering healthy hair and promoting growth. One particular study discovered that biotin supplementation resulted in accelerated hair growth among individuals grappling with thinning hair.

However, it's important to note that the supplement under investigation also contained other ingredients, so the results may not be attributed to biotin alone.

Read this: Biotin Hair Growth: Before and After Results (With Pictures)

Lifestyle changes

lifestyle for hair growth

Alongside the abovementioned chemical treatments, you can also embrace lifestyle changes to address hair loss.

For starters, maintaining a balanced diet plays a significant role. Research indicates that deficiencies in essential nutrients like iron and zinc can negatively impact hair health.

By incorporating more zinc-rich foods into your meals - think oysters, oatmeal, beef, kidney beans, and the like - you could potentially improve your hair's condition and combat hair loss.

Furthermore, steering clear of smoking is crucial. Numerous studies have unveiled a connection between smoking and hair loss.

For one, smoking introduces pollutants that can inflict damage on your own hair follicle. In addition, cigarettes have been identified as culprits that can harm the DNA of your hair follicles. Avoiding smoking or vaping can help protect your own hair follicle's health and vitality.

Does melatonin prevent hair loss?

While comprehensive research is still needed, early studies suggest that melatonin, when applied topically, could potentially help in preventing hair loss, particularly androgenetic alopecia. It is believed to prolong the growth phase of hair follicles, reduce hair shedding, and increase hair density.

Androgenetic alopecia, a common form of hair loss also known as male or female pattern baldness, is thought to be positively affected by the topical application of melatonin.

It's suggested that melatonin may induce and lengthen the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair cycle.

The exact mechanisms of how melatonin promotes hair growth are not entirely understood, though it's speculated that it may be due to direct interaction with melatonin receptors in the hair follicles or through indirect interactions with estrogen and androgen receptors on these follicles.

In addition to its potential hair growth benefits, melatonin's strong antioxidant properties may also be beneficial in combating oxidative stress, which is often associated with hair loss and hair aging.

By reducing oxidative stress, melatonin may play a role in maintaining healthier, stronger hair.

Despite these promising findings, further research is required to fully understand melatonin's role in hair health and to establish dosage, safety, and long-term effects.

Effectiveness of melatonin for hair growth

melatonin effectiveness

Research conducted by Arash Babadjouni, MS, and colleagues suggests that melatonin could be an effective treatment for promoting hair growth in patients suffering from androgenetic alopecia (AGA).

By reviewing various studies and compiling data from 2,267 patients, they found that topical melatonin resulted in notable improvements in scalp hair growth, hair density, and hair shaft thickness in a majority of the examined cases.

The optimal topical melatonin dosage was identified as 0.0033% or 0.1%, applied once daily over a period of 90 to 180 days.

Moreover, the effectiveness of melatonin may be enhanced when delivered through optimized topical vehicles, such as nanostructured lipid carriers.

While there was some indication that an oral dosage of 1.5 mg twice daily could also be beneficial, the evidence supporting this was deemed limited.

Despite these promising findings, the researchers emphasized the need for further investigations to fully understand the mechanisms underlying melatonin's role in hair growth, especially in men with AGA.

Is melatonin a DHT blocker?

There's no definitive scientific evidence to suggest that melatonin directly blocks DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that contributes to hair loss.

While studies have indicated that topical melatonin may promote hair growth and potentially be a treatment for androgenetic alopecia, the exact mechanism of how melatonin works is not fully understood. 

Conclusion

Although the precise mechanism remains unclear, studies have demonstrated that topical application of melatonin may aid both males and females suffering from hair loss and promote robust hair growth.

For those grappling with hair loss, particularly androgenetic alopecia, melatonin treatment might offer a potential solution to hair disorders. However, the need for more conclusive research still stands.

It's worth mentioning that some research suggests topical application of melatonin may be more relevant for hair care than oral supplements.

To learn about the most suitable treatment for your specific needs, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

FAQs

Does melatonin promote hair growth? 

Yes, some scientific research suggests that melatonin may promote hair growth. Studies have shown that topical application of melatonin could serve as a treatment for male androgenetic alopecia alone, commonly known as male pattern baldness.

How does melatonin help with hair growth? 

The exact mechanism by which melatonin promotes hair growth has yet to be fully understood. However, its antioxidant properties may help protect hair follicles from damage, or it might influence hormonal pathways that impact hair growth. Further research is needed to produce melatonin and clarify these mechanisms.

Should melatonin be applied topically or taken orally for hair growth

The research suggesting that melatonin can help with hair growth primarily involves topical application of melatonin, not oral supplements. Topical melatonin is applied directly to the scalp to aid hair growth.

Are there any side effects of using melatonin for hair growth? 

Topical application of melatonin is generally considered safe, but individual responses may vary. Potential side effects include scalp irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals. It's advisable to consult a healthcare provider before taking melatonin orally starting any new treatment regimen.

Is it safe to use other hair growth treatments while using melatonin?

Generally, it is considered safe to use other hair growth treatments while using melatonin, as long as those treatments are also safe to use together. However, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a hair care specialist before starting any combination of treatments for hair loss. They can guide you based on your specific condition and any potential interactions or side effects.

References:

  1. https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/circadian-rhythms.aspx 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25908646/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12673073/ 
  4. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/ 
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337105943_Long-term_10-year_efficacy_of_finasteride_in_523_Japanese_men_with_androgenetic_alopecia 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6691938/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3681103/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23766606/ 
  9. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/androgenetic-alopecia/#frequency 

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.