Melatonin

    TLDR hormone commonly taken for sleep aid has some topical benefits for hair

    Melatonin, a hormone synthesized primarily by the pineal gland in the brain, is well-known for its role in regulating sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms. Beyond these functions, melatonin has been explored for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and possibly anti-androgenic properties, making it a compound of interest in various medical and cosmetic fields, including hair health.

    Numerous peripheral organs, including human skin and hair follicles, not only respond to melatonin's bioactivity but also synthesize, regulate, and metabolize it extrapineally. Human skin possesses a complete melatoninergic enzyme system necessary for melatonin biosynthesis, alongside functional melatonin receptors in keratinocytes, melanocytes, and fibroblasts, which contribute to cellular proliferation, differentiation, and protection against UV-induced damage through an active antioxidative system. Similarly, human hair follicles synthesize melatonin, express melatonin receptors, and demonstrate an influence on hair growth cycles. In vitro studies show that melatonin at a concentration significantly accelerates hair follicle growth, likely through a receptor-mediated mechanism, as this stimulation can be inhibited by a potent melatonin antagonist.

    In the context of alopecia and hair growth, melatonin has garnered attention for its potential to promote hair follicle health and hair growth. This interest is partly due to melatonin's antioxidant properties, which can combat oxidative stress in hair follicles, yielding protective and anti-apoptotic effects against factors that contribute to hair aging and loss. Additionally, some research suggests that melatonin might modulate the hair growth cycle, potentially extending the anagen (growth) phase and enhancing hair density and thickness. Studies have explored topical applications of melatonin on the scalp, showing promising results in increasing anagen hair rate in individuals with androgenetic alopecia or diffuse alopecia, suggesting its utility as a novel treatment for hair loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study where topical application of a 0.1% melatonin-alcohol solution significantly increased the number of anagen hairs in women with AGA and diffuse alopecia after six months, underscoring melatonin's potential in hair growth stimulation.

    The community's sentiment towards melatonin as a hair growth treatment is generally positive, with individuals sharing their experiences and observations of improved hair health after incorporating melatonin into their hair care routines. Many discuss using topical melatonin solutions, often in conjunction with other treatments like minoxidil, to tackle hair loss. Anecdotal reports include increases in hair density and overall scalp health, with some users specifically highlighting melatonin's ease of use and lack of significant side effects as major advantages.

    The positive community feedback and preliminary scientific evidence suggest that melatonin could be a valuable addition to hair loss treatment regimens, offering a novel approach to enhancing hair growth and scalp health.

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