Does Melatonin Cause Acne?

As we all know, sleep is super important for the skin. This is especially true if you suffer from regular acne breakouts, as a lack of sleep can contribute to a cycle of stress, insulin resistance and body inflammation, all of which can exacerbate and trigger acne breakouts.

So, if you have acne-prone skin and struggle with sleeping (or have a sleeping disorder such as insomnia) you might have been taking melatonin in order to help you nod off and get a full night’s rest. 

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep schedule. It’s often used by those who work night shifts and struggle to nod off in the morning or those who travel a lot and experience chronic jet-lag.

Melatonin can also be useful for those suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders, although it’s important to note that Melatonin is not a sleep initiator. Melatonin simply aids the body in understanding that it’s time to sleep, but it isn’t technically a medication.

Does Melatonin Cause Breakouts?

So, with melatonin now being marketed as having great skincare benefits, the question remains: does Melatonin cause acne?

Put simply, no. Melatonin alone should not be causing acne, as there are no peripheral effects that could cause a breakout. We could, however, arguably suggest that certain Melatonin supplements can interfere or interact with other medications in the body (such as hormonal birth control). When these two medications interact, there is a small chance of causing a mild hormonal imbalance. If your hormones are unbalanced, you might experience some mild breakouts.

However, this remains extremely rare. In a study conducted of over 34,000 melatonin users, only 0.44% (150 people) reported cystic acne as a side effect. And with there being no tangible way to determine whether or not melatonin was the cause of the acne, it could easily have been caused by other factors – such as a lack of sleep. 

Can I Take Melatonin If I Have Acne?

Even if you have acne-prone skin, you should be able to take melatonin without experiencing any major skin problems. The key is to simply buy natural melatonin, free of any added ingredients that might disrupt your skin and lead to breakouts.

In fact, if you’re suffering from insomnia or have a bad sleeping schedule, melatonin might actually help improve your acne rather than cause any breakouts. Sleep is absolutely essential for the skin: when you sleep, the body rests and repairs itself and is able to fight inflammation. 

When you’re lacking sleep, your body is unable to perform necessary skin repairs and will become sluggish. Not to mention the fact that a sleep-deprived body is much more susceptible to acne-triggers such as stress, insulin resistance and inflammation. 

So, if you’re taking Melatonin and you believe it’s causing you to break out, you might simply need to switch to a more natural type of Melatonin. You’ll also want to check for interaction if you’re taking any birth control or other medications, as this might contribute to further side effects. 

Don’t forget that there are lots of other things that might contribute to random breakouts – even your pillow cases can cause acne if they’re not washed regularly! 

Furthermore, if your pillowcase is made of harsh or rough materials it could actually be contributing to further acne breakouts. Because of this we highly recommend checking out our team’s evaluation of the best pillow cases for every type of acne-prone skin. Our team of estheticians, dermatologists, and acne experts spent weeks evaluating dozens of pillowcases in order to select the best pillowcases for anyone dealing with frequent acne breakouts.

Best Melatonin For Acne 

If you have acne-prone skin and you’re struggling with your sleeping schedule, I’d recommend using the following criteria check-list before buying any Melatonin product:

  • Is it completely natural, without any added supplementary ingredients?
  • Is it sugar free?
  • Is it non-GMO?
  • Is it dairy-free and soy free?
  • Is it artificially sweetened?

By sticking to these questions and criteria, you’ll be assured that you’re not aggravating any current acne problems by ingesting artificial sugars, dairy products or added ingredients. 

One of my go-to melatonin supplements are these Liquid Melatonin Drops by WELLABS. I’ve found that it’s one of the only Melatonin supplements that doesn’t leave a bad aftertaste in my mouth, and one of the only melatonin supplements that corresponds to each of my criteria outlined above.

Pros of Liquid Melatonin Drops by WELLABS. :

  • Dairy free, soy free, sugar free
  • Provides all-round support to the body
  • Can aid sleep health
  • Can help fight off seasonal depression
  • Supports eye health 
  • Can help regulate mood swings and stress induced by lack of sleep

Cons of Liquid Melatonin Drops by WELLABS. :

  • It has a pretty sweet taste, so if you don’t like sugary-tasting supplements it might not be for you.

Melatonin FAQS

Does Melatonin Neutralize Free Radicals?

Yes, Melatonin can neutralize free radicals in the body. Melatonin works primarily to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, but it also functions as a powerful natural antioxidant.

Does Melatonin Darken Skin?

There is some evidence to suggest that melatonin can cause mild hyperpigmentation. You might notice that sun spots or acne scars become more prominent after long-term Melatonin use.

Is Melatonin Anti-Aging?

Given its natural skin-repairing capacities, many believe that Melatonin can help in preventing age-related skin damage and aids in reducing the appearance of existing signs of aging on the skin. 

Does Melatonin Help Sunburn?

There is not yet enough evidence to suggest that Melatonin can help to relieve symptoms of sunburn, nor prevent it. Always stick to a traditional SPF in order to fully protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays.

Can melatonin be taken while drinking alcohol?

No, you should not take melatonin while drinking alcohol. Mixing melatonin and alcohol can cause nausea, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing. If you take melatonin you should do so without any other types of drugs or stimulants unless specifically recommended by your doctor

Originally Published: April 26, 2022

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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