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The Tanning Solution that’s More Than Skin Deep: Uncovering the Benefits of Melanotan 2 Peptide

October 11, 2022 – BY DR. HAMAD SHAFQAT

Melanotan 2 is a synthetic peptide that stimulates skin tanning by increasing the production of melanin. Melanotan 2 acts as a melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which is responsible for the release of melanin, leading to dark-pigmented skin and hair. Melatonin stimulates melanocytes (skin pigment cells) to increase the production of melanin, enabling the skin of people to tan [1]. 

Melanin is a skin pigment produced naturally in the skin to give it a unique color. It is also responsible for determining the color of the eyes (retina) and hair. The production of melanin is a hormonal process controlled by the polypeptide melanocortin in the pituitary gland. Once melanocortin is activated, the melanocytes located in the upper layer of the skin produces it. 

melanotan 2 peptide blog

Melanotan 2 works to produce melanin by mimicking the function of melanocortin peptides. These peptides are involved in important bodily functions, including sexual functioning, reducing inflammation, regulating immunity, inducing pigmentation, and regulating energy homeostasis. By stimulating the production of melanin, Melanotan 2 causes the skin to go darker (tanning) [2]. 

What Is The Difference Between Melanotan 1 & Melanotan 2?

Based on their mechanism of action and chemical structure, Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2 do not have a significant difference between them. However, both are different from each other based on the effects they exhibit. 

Melanotan 1 (afamelanotide peptide) is a straight, full-length peptide, while Melanotan 2 is a circular yet shortened version of Melanotan 1 peptide. Melanotan 1 peptide binds to the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1) to increase melanogenesis. Besides tanning the skin, Melanotan 1 has also been FDA-cleared to treat other skin-related illnesses. 

Just like Melanotan 1, Melanotan 2 also binds to the MC1 receptor. But unlike Melanotan 1, Melanotan 2 also binds to other receptors, including MC3, MC4, and MC5 receptors. Binding to these receptors makes Melanotan 2 produce other effects, including appetite suppression, sexual arousal, and penile erection. In short, Melanotan 1 produces only sunless tanning, while Melanotan 2 produces sexual stimulation and penile erections besides increasing skin pigmentation. Also, it has been reported that Melanotan 2 is faster and better in producing effects than Melanotan 1 [3]. 

What Are The Benefits Of Melanotan 2 Peptide? 

The following are some incredible benefits of Melanotan 2 peptide:

Effectively Induces Skin Tanning: 

If you love skin tans, you can benefit from the Melanotan 2 peptide because it duplicates the function of melanocortin peptides to produce more melanin in the skin to make it darker. Not only does this Melanotan 2 peptide stimulates skin tanning, but it also increases the rate of skin tanning. In this way, your skin is protected from burning when exposed to the sun. Research has shown that the administration of Melanotan 2 tans skin more easily [4].

Improves Erectile Function and Sexual Health: 

Originally, the main aim of manufacturing Melanotan 2 peptide was to improve sexual health in both men and women. Studies have shown that Melanotan 2 treats erectile dysfunction in those men for whom other treatments had been ineffective [5, 6].

Regulates Blood Sugar: 

Your blood sugar levels are regulated by the leptin hormone. Melanocortin receptors are also involved in this process, and research has shown that Melanotan 2 receptor produces similar effects as the leptin hormone [7].

Anti-Cancer Properties: 

Recent studies have shown that Melanotan 2 can actually protect your skin from prolonged sun exposure and certain types of skin cancer, including melanoma [8]. 

Reduces Hunger: 

Evidence from animal studies has shown that Melanotan 2 is involved in cutting down fat storage and reducing hunger in mice. Mice administered with Melanotan 2 were found to eat less with a change in feeding behaviors. Their food preference was also changed, meaning that they prefer more non-fatty foods than more fatty foods [9]. However, these findings are yet to be tested on humans. 

Other benefits of Melanotan 2 being studied include: 

  • It can have neuroprotective benefits. 
  • Promotes sunless tanning
  • Enhances recovery time for crushed nerves and muscles.
  • Encourages weight loss

What Are The Side Effects Of Melanotan 2? 

Research has shown that Melanotan 2 has been reported to have the following minor side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Facial flushing
  • Increased libido
  • Spontaneous erections 1-5 hours after administration 
  • Yawning 
  • Stretching
  • Darkening of the facial hair 
  • Darkening of the moles
  • Reduced appetite 

Less commonly reported side effects of Melanotan 2 include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Atypical melanocytic naevi

The Recommended Melanotan 2 Dosage: 

The recommended doses of Melanotan 2 that have been dosed by researchers in their studies are the following:

  • 1 mg: This is the highest recorded dose administered to the test subjects. No research involving doses in excess of 1 mg has been reported. 
  • 500 mcg: 500 mcg dose of the Melanotan 2 peptide per day is the most involved dose in the majority of studies. 
  • 250 mcg per day: 250 mcg dose per day is the lowest documented dose of Melanotan 2. 

Melanotan 2 peptide is administered in the form of nasal sprays and subcutaneous injections.

The Bottom Line:

Melanotan 2 is a synthetic class of peptides that are responsible for inducing skin tanning. They regulate the production of more melanin pigment by stimulating melanocytes, which are the skin pigment cells. Unlike Melanotan 1, Melanotan 2 peptides promote sunless tanning, stimulate penile erections in men, and improve sexual health in women. Other benefits of Melanotan 2 peptide include weight loss, no sunburns, reduced appetite, reduced risk of skin cancer, no tan lines, and increased libido.


  1. Melanotan II – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. Methods Enzymol. 2020, n.d.
  2. Sivyer GW, Sivyer GW. Changes of melanocytic lesions induced by Melanotan injections and sun bed use in a teenage patient with FAMMM syndrome. Dermatol Pract Concept 2012;2:53–6.
  3. Nelson ME, Bryant SM, Aks SE. Melanotan II injection resulting in systemic toxicity and rhabdomyolysis. Clin Toxicol 2012;50:1169–73.
  4. Brennan R, Wells JG, Van Hout MC. An unhealthy glow? A review of melanotan use and associated clinical outcomes. Perform Enhanc Heal 2014;3:78–92.
  5. Hakim LS. Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction: Double-blind placebo controlled crossover study. Int J Impot Res 1998;10:263.
  6. WESSELLS H, HRUBY VJ, HACKETT J, HAN G, BALSE-SRINIVASAN P, VANDERAH TW. MT-II Induces Penile Erection via Brain and Spinal Mechanisms. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2003;994:90–5.
  7. Guo F, Bakal K, Minokoshi Y, Hollenberg AN. Leptin signaling targets the thyrotropin-releasing hormone gene promoter in vivo. Endocrinology 2004;145:2221–7.
  8. FitzGerald LM, Fryer JL, Dwyer T, Humphrey SM. Effect of MELANOTAN®, [Nle4, D-Phe7]-α-MSH, on melanin synthesis in humans with MC1R variant alleles. Peptides 2006;27:388–94.

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