Last Updated February 27, 2024

 February 27, 2024

While there is extensive data to back the benefits of melanotan 1, not all researchers might be clear on the proper melanotan 1 dosage.

Initially developed in the 1980s by researchers at the University of Arizona, the peptide has since been used to: 

  • Safely achieve tanned skin 
  • Treat a variety of skin disorders 
  • Increase sexual arousal 

Based on the research available, we have compiled this educational melanotan 1 dosage calculator and guide, which also includes notes on its benefits and safety profile. 

Read through the end as we reveal our go-to vendor of research peptides, including melanotan 1.

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Disclaimer: contains information about products that are intended for laboratory and research use only, unless otherwise explicitly stated. This information, including any referenced scientific or clinical research, is made available for educational purposes only. Likewise, any published information relative to the dosing and administration of reference materials is made available strictly for reference and shall not be construed to encourage the self-administration or any human use of said reference materials. makes every effort to ensure that any information it shares complies with national and international standards for clinical trial information and is committed to the timely disclosure of the design and results of all interventional clinical studies for innovative treatments publicly available or that may be made available. However, research is not considered conclusive. makes no claims that any products referenced can cure, treat or prevent any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials.

Melanotan 1 Dosage Chart | Quick Breakdown

Timeline Melanotan 1 Dosage for Sunless Tanning Research
Days 1-10 1mg/daily
Day 11 and beyond (for up to 6 months) 2mg/weekly (administered in one or two injections)

What is Melanotan 1?

Melanotan 1 (MT1) is a synthetic peptide analog of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), an endogenous peptide hormone with effects on skin pigmentation, sexual function, appetite, and metabolism.

By mimicking alpha-MSH, MT1 stimulates melanocytes to produce and release more melanin in the body. It is typically injected subcutaneously or, less frequently, administered as an implant.

The peptide works by binding to the melanocortin receptors 1, 3, 4, and 5 (MC1R, MC3R, MC4R, MC5R), with high affinity at MC1R, with the effect of increasing melanin production and tanning in research subjects [1, 2, 3].

The molecule was initially developed for use as a sunless tanning agent and has since undergone extensive clinical study. Research has revealed that melanotan 1 may be beneficial in treating a variety of skin disorders and preventing cognitive decline, among other uses [4, 5].

In both Europe and the United States, the peptide has been approved as afamelanotide to prevent skin damage from sun exposure in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria, a rare skin condition characterized by acute non-blistering photosensitivity, sunlight intolerance, and a significant reduction in quality of life [6].

melanotan dosage

Melanotan 1 Benefits

Apart from its use as a sunless tanning agent, melanotan 1 has been shown to produce benefits in a host of clinical and research settings. We cover some of these below.

Melanotan 1 and skin tanning

Melanotan 1 has been shown to effectively speed up the tanning process while reducing the incidence of sunburnt cells in research subjects. In three phase 1 clinical trials undertaken at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, volunteers who received MT1 injections experienced sunless tanning without any pathologic findings and minimal side effects. The researchers concluded that the peptide may be combined with sun exposure to safely achieve a desired tanning outcome [4].

Melanotan 1 and vitiligo

In a 2015 multicenter trial, researchers set out to determine if a melanotan 1 implant combined with light therapy could treat vitiligo more effectively than phototherapy alone. After five months of testing on patients with nonsegmental vitiligo, the researchers found that MT1 therapy coupled with NB–UV-B phototherapy produced statistically significant superior and faster repigmentation compared with monotherapy, especially in the face and upper extremities [7, 8].

Melanotan 1 and EPP

Similarly, in a phase 3 clinical trial in erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) patients, researchers examined whether a melanotan 1 implant could safely enable the patients to expose themselves to direct sunlight under the most intense natural conditions. The EPP patients receiving the melanotan 1 implant experienced significantly less pain from phototoxicity, half as many phototoxic reactions, and an improvement in quality of life, compared to placebo [9].

Melanotan 1 and cognitive health

Researchers have used a mouse model to show that MT1 may slow the onset of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). When administered the peptide, mice with moderate AD exhibited a reduced level of amyloid beta plaques in the brain, improved cognitive functionality and synaptic transmission, and protection against neuronal death. The researchers pinpointed that melanotan 1’s neuroprotective effect was associated with its activity at the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) [10].

Melanotan 1 and acne

In 2011, German researchers conducted a Phase 2 open label study to determine the effect of melanotan 1 administration on subjects with mild to moderate acne vulgaris. The researchers found that male subjects with acne on the face and trunk experienced a significant decline in inflammatory acne lesions in the face, as well as an improvement in quality of life as measured by DLQI [11].

Melanotan 1 Side Effects

When administered according to clinical guidelines, melanotan 1 presents relatively minor potential side effects that typically cease with discontinuation of therapy.

Here are the minor side effects of melanotan 1 as observed in clinical studies to date [4, 11, 12]:

  • Facial, neck, and upper trunk flushing
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

A 2019 case study reported a rare occurrence of acute priapism in a male subject following a melanotan 1 injection. Priapism is a prolonged and painful erection caused by excessive blood flow [13].

The above notwithstanding, melanotan 1 is generally regarded as being safe and well-tolerated when administered by qualified professionals [4, 14].

Melanotan 1 Dosage Calculator and Guide

Researchers are advised to follow standard peptide reconstitution guidelines when preparing melanotan 1 for injection.

Below we include administration notes and a sample dosing protocol, with reference to clinical trial data involving this peptide.

Melanotan 1 Administration Notes

  • Melanotan 1 is typically administered subcutaneously into the fatty layers of tissue surrounding the midsection.
  • Some darkening of the skin may occur following melanotan 1 injection, and the peptide may induce more potent effects when administered alongside UV light therapy.
  • Trials investigating melanotan 1 as an implant in skin disorders like erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) have applied the peptide as a 16mg implant every 60 days (8mg/month), for up to 6 implants a year (e.g. all-year round) [15, 16, 17].
  • Melanotan 1 has a half-life of approximately 1.5 hours when administered subcutaneously, so some researchers have administered the peptide twice daily to skin disorder patients to maintain therapeutic levels [17].
  • An excessively high dose of melanotan 2, a related molecule, has been linked to priapism. In one case, a 60-year-old male subject experienced drastically elevated heart rate and blood pressure after injecting 10mg of melanotan 2 in a single day. Researchers are therefore advised to follow a daily melanotan 1 dosing schedule well beneath this level. For reference, the research indicates that a subject requires roughly twice the amount of MT1 as MT2 to attain the same effect [18].

Melanotan 1 Dosing Protocol for Sunless Tanning

Melanotan 1 has been applied as a sunless tanning agent in healthy study volunteers at doses ranging between 0.08mg/kg to 0.16mg/kg per day for up to 10 days [4].

Nonetheless, experts encourage erring on the side of safety and initiating research studies at a lower dose of about 1mg/daily for up to 10 days.

Following the initial 10-day period, researchers may consider switching to a maintenance dose of 2mg/weekly (8mg/month) as suggested by research involving long-term trials [17].

For reference purposes, here is a sample melanotan 1 protocol for sunless tanning in test subjects.

  • Daily Dosage: 1mg for 10 days administered via subcutaneous injections
  • Frequency: Once daily for up to 10 days. Then reduce to maintenance weekly dosage.
  • Study Duration: Up to 10 days at 1mg/daily. Maintenance dosage may be administered for 4-6 months.
  • Notes: Researchers following this melanotan 1 protocol will require one 10mg vial of melanotan 1 for the initial 10 day course.

melanotan dosage

Where to Buy Melanotan 1 Online? | 2024 Edition

Researchers are well-advised to buy melanotan 1 only from a trusted source of research peptides.

Xcel Peptides is one of the preferred provider for the team, as well as the research community at large.

Here's why:

Xcel Peptides

Xcel Peptides deliver 99% pure melanotan 1 to researchers in the United States, and enjoys a solid reputation atop the community.

Here are some highlights about buying from this vendor:

  • Third-Party Testing: Each batch of melanotan 1 from Xcel Peptides is rigorously tested by an independent laboratory to provide researchers with clear data on the contents and purity of each vial.
  • Great Pricing: The vendor currently lists MT1 7.5mg for $29, and the vendor offers 10% discount when researchers sign up for their email list.
  • Support and Service: Researchers may contact Xcel Peptides’ dedicated service team by email, and may expect a response in as little as one business day.

Don’t wait to purchase the best melanotan 1 the web has to offer. Order now from our top-recommended vendor, Xcel Peptides, the favorite source of leading researchers around the world.

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Melanotan 1 Dosing | Verdict

Noted for its ability to induce sunless tanning, melanotan 1 has also been shown to produce a variety of positive effects in skin disorder patients.

Specifically, research indicates that melanotan 1 can confer protection against cognitive decline and improve the quality of life of vitiligo, EPP, and acne patients, among others.

The peptide is generally regarded as safe and well-tolerated, while occasionally producing minor adverse effects associated with its effect on melanogenesis.


  1. L. Mahiques-Santos, Melanotan, Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas (English Edition), Volume 103, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 257-259 , ISSN 1578-2190,
  2. Hadley ME, Dorr RT. Melanocortin peptide therapeutics: historical milestones, clinical studies and commercialization. Peptides. 2006 Apr;27(4):921-30. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2005.01.029. Epub 2006 Jan 18. PMID: 16412534.
  3. Dorr RT, Dvorakova K, Brooks C, Lines R, Levine N, Schram K, Miketova P, Hruby V, Alberts DS. Increased eumelanin expression and tanning is induced by a superpotent melanotropin [Nle4-D-Phe7]-alpha-MSH in humans. Photochem Photobiol. 2000 Oct;72(4):526-32. doi: 10.1562/0031-8655(2000)072<0526:ieeati>;2. PMID: 11045725.
  4. Dorr RT, Ertl G, Levine N, Brooks C, Bangert JL, Powell MB, Humphrey S, Alberts DS. Effects of a superpotent melanotropic peptide in combination with solar UV radiation on tanning of the skin in human volunteers. Arch Dermatol. 2004 Jul;140(7):827-35. doi: 10.1001/archderm.140.7.827. PMID: 15262693.
  5. Wikberg JE, Muceniece R, Mandrika I, Prusis P, Lindblom J, Post C, Skottner A. New aspects on the melanocortins and their receptors. Pharmacol Res. 2000 Nov;42(5):393-420. doi: 10.1006/phrs.2000.0725. PMID: 11023702.
  6. Lane AM, McKay JT, Bonkovsky HL. Advances in the management of erythropoietic protoporphyria – role of afamelanotide. Appl Clin Genet. 2016 Dec 12;9:179-189. doi: 10.2147/TACG.S122030. PMID: 28003770; PMCID: PMC5161401.
  7. Lim HW, Grimes PE, Agbai O, et al. Afamelanotide and Narrowband UV-B Phototherapy for the Treatment of Vitiligo: A Randomized Multicenter Trial. JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(1):42–50. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1875
  8. Dillon AB, Sideris A, Hadi A, Elbuluk N. Advances in Vitiligo: An Update on Medical and Surgical Treatments. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jan;10(1):15-28. Epub 2017 Jan 1. PMID: 28210378; PMCID: PMC5300730.
  9. Clinical trials. EudraCT Number 2009-011018-51 – Clinical trial results – EU Clinical Trials Register. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from
  10. Giuliani, Daniela et al. “Melanocortins protect against brain damage and counteract the cognitive decline in a transgenic mouse model of moderate Alzheimer׳s disease.” European journal of pharmacology vol. 740 (2014): 144-50. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2014.06.063
  11. Clinical trials. EudraCT Number 2009-018024-15 – Clinical trial results – EU Clinical Trials Register. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2022, from
  12. Brennan, R., Wells, J. G., & Hout, M. C. V. (2015, July 15). An unhealthy glow? A review of Melanotan use and associated clinical outcomes. Performance Enhancement & Health. Retrieved September 11, 2022, from
  13. Dreyer, Barend Albert et al. “Melanotan-induced priapism: a hard-earned tan.” BMJ case reports vol. 12,2 e227644. 21 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1136/bcr-2018-227644
  14. Kim ES, Garnock-Jones KP. Afamelanotide: A Review in Erythropoietic Protoporphyria. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016 Apr;17(2):179-85. doi: 10.1007/s40257-016-0184-6. PMID: 26979527.
  15. Phase III trial of CUV1647 in polymorphic light eruption (PLE) – full text view. Full Text View – (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
  16. Afamelanotide in patients suffering with acne vulgaris – full text view. Full Text View – (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2022, from
  17. Barman-Aksözen, J., Nydegger, M., Schneider-Yin, X., & Minder, A. E. (2020). Increased phototoxic burn tolerance time and quality of life in patients with erythropoietic protoporphyria treated with afamelanotide – a three years observational study. Orphanet journal of rare diseases, 15(1), 213.
  18. Bhardwaj R, Blanchard J. Controlled-release delivery system for the alpha-MSH analog melanotan-I using poloxamer 407. J Pharm Sci. 1996 Sep;85(9):915-9. doi: 10.1021/js960097g. PMID: 8877878.
  19. John Devlin, Adam Pomerleau & Jenelle Foote (2013) Melanotan II overdose associated with priapism, Clinical Toxicology, 51:4, 383, DOI: 10.3109/15563650.2013.784775

Scientifically Fact Checked by:

David Warmflash, M.D.

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