Titus Thorne

Last Updated May 12, 2022

Titus Thorne

 May 12, 2022

Researchers seeking to experiment with peptides may be curious about the effects of Melanotan 2. Past research involving this peptide has shown that it can darken the skin of test subjects without artificial light or natural sunlight. But is it safe? 

This guide will outline the benefits and side effects of Melanotan 2 and review how it has been dosed in past studies. Researchers interested in exploring Melanotan 2 further will gain a full understanding of how this research peptide has been used in past trials and how it differs from Melanotan 1. 

For those interested in further research, full details of our preferred Melanotan 2 vendor can be found at the end of this guide. 

Let’s dive in. 

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What is Melanotan 2?

Melanotan is a synthetic peptide, which means it's a chain of amino acids that was created in a lab. It's made to be identical to alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) which is made naturally in the body and secreted by the pituitary gland [1].

α-MSH binds with the body's melanocortin receptors and has several different effects on the body. There are five different types of melanocortin receptors, and each of them has a different effect when activated [2].

  • MC-1R: This receptor stimulates the darkening of skin and hair.
  • MC-2R: This receptor promotes the secretion of various hormones from the adrenal glands.
  • MC-3R: This receptor helps control appetite and energy regulation.
  • MC-4R: This receptor is involved in sexual behavior and erectile function in men.
  • MC-5R: This receptor impacts sweat glands.

The body's natural α-MSH binds to these receptors and elicits several different regulatory effects through them.

Melanotan 2, also known as Melanotan II, MT-2, or MT-II, is a synthetic version of α-MSH that was developed in Arizona in the 1980s. When tested in animal models it was found to increase sexual arousal and darken skin and hair. Scientists began developing Melanotan 2 as a way to tan skin in test subjects without the sun and subsequently found that it offers several other effects. These effects include:

  1. Increasing sexual arousal [1, 2]
  2. Darkening skin
  3. Controlling addiction and compulsive behavior
  4. Reducing appetite
  5. Reversing some autistic features [3]

Melanotan-2 has been found to bind primarily to MC-1R, MC-3R, MC-4R, MC-5R. It is through these receptors that it has its effects.

melanotan 2

Melanotan 1 vs. Melanotan 2

So what's the difference between Melanotan 1 vs. Melanotan 2?

Both peptides are similar in that they mimic the body's natural α-MSH. Separate studies have shown that they both bind to the MC-1 receptor and cause skin darkening without exposure to the sun.

But these peptides differ chemically and bind to slightly different receptors. MT-2 has a longer half-life and tends to be more expensive than MT-1.

A key difference between MT-1 and MT-2 is that MT-1 is approved by the FDA as a prescription medication for preventing skin damage from the sun in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria. It's also been approved for this purpose in the EU. MT-2 hasn't yet been approved as a prescription medication.

Does Melanotan 2 Actually Work?

Several published scientific studies show that MT-2 produces benefits when administered to test subjects. An in-depth case examination shows that it can increase self-confidence and darken skin tone [4].

Despite evidence showing that Melanotan 2 offers benefits to test subjects, researchers should be aware of its legal status before deciding whether to work with this research chemical. We will address legal concerns in the following section.

Is Melanotan 2 Legal?

Where available, Melanotan 2 is sold strictly for research purposes and is available only to researchers. It has not been evaluated or approved by the US FDA and is an unlicensed, unregulated research chemical [4].

Researchers wishing to experiment with Melanotan 2 are advised to check local laws and regulations before placing an order.

Melanotan 2 Before and After

The following pictures indicate the results test subjects can expect before and after Melanotan 2 administration.

These are the results of a test subject using 10 mg of Melanotan over 26 days, plus a regular tanning regimen.
In the following section, we will explore the benefits and uses of Melanotan 2.

Melanotan 2 Benefits and Uses

Studies have shown that Melanotan 2 may offer the following benefits and uses. 

Increase rate of skin tanning

Melanotan helps the body produce more melanin, the substance in skin that makes it darker. This increases the rate at which skin tans and helps prevent burning during periods of sun exposure. Studies have shown that test subjects tan more easily following Melanotan 2 administration [5].

Anti-cancer properties 

Research has also found that Melanotan 2 helps protect against sun damage and certain types of skin cancer [6,7].

Reducing hunger

There is evidence showing that MT-2 can reduce hunger and even cut down fat storage in animals. Researchers have found that mice, when given MT-2, change their feeding behaviors and choose to eat less. They also seem to experience a change in their food preferences from more fatty foods to more non-fatty foods [8].

While these findings have yet to be tested in human trials, some researchers have suggested that Melanotan 2 be considered an anti-obesity treatment [9,10].

Regulating blood sugar

Leptin is a hormone that helps in the regulation of blood sugar. Melanocortin receptors are also part of that process, and MT-2 has been shown to produce similar effects as Leptin [11]. That means that MT-2 could eventually play a useful role in the treatment and maintenance of diabetes.

Improving impulse control and reducing alcohol intake

In animal research, several studies have found that mice injected with MT-2 consume less alcohol [12] and engage in fewer binge-drinking behaviors [12]. Some researchers have suggested that it could be useful as a way to treat alcohol dependence and addiction in humans, but research in this area is lacking. 

Improves sexual health and erectile function

Melanotan-2 was originally developed to try to improve sexual health in both women and men. Whereas other ED treatments help with vascular issues, they don't necessarily help with people with low sexual desire, called hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

MT-2 has been shown to be an effective treatment for men with ED, and it's especially effective on those for whom other treatments don't work [13,14]. Increased libido is a documented side effect of Melanotan 2.

Melanotan 2 Side Effects

Researchers considering experimenting with Melanotan 2 should know that it has been linked to the following side effects [1]:

  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Stretching
  • Yawning
  • Increase in libido and erections
  • Decreased appetite
  • Facial hair darkening
  • Darkening of moles

Less commonly reported Melanotan 2 side effects include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness

One in-depth review of clinical trials involving Melanotan concluded that; “Side effects observed in clinical trials are largely minor” [15].

melanotan 2

Melanotan Dosage Guide

Melanotan 2 is a research chemical with no safe or recommended dosage. However, researchers interested in working with peptides may consult the following relevant literature. 

Melanotan 2 Dosage

Our review of relevant research involving Melanotan 2 has shown that researchers have dosed this research chemical at the following levels: 

  • 250 micrograms (mcg) every day: The lowest documented dose of Melanotan 2 administered to test subjects is 250 mcg per day. 
  • 500 mcg: The majority of studies involving Melanotan 2 have involved doses of 500 mcg per day.
  • 1 mg: The highest recorded dose of Melanotan administered to test subjects is 1 mg. We are not aware of research involving doses in excess of 1 mg per day. 

In the following section, researchers will gain a full understanding of the ways in which Melanotan 2 has been administered by researchers in past trials. 

Melanotan 2 Review: Administration Guide

There are two main ways that researchers have administered Melanotan 2 in past clinical trials: subcutaneously injection and nasal spray. Research findings indicate that injections are more effective but carry a greater risk of side effects. Below, researchers will find a complete guide to both of the ways that Melanotan 2 has been administered to test subjects in the past. 

Reconstitution for injection

Melanotan 2 is typically shipped as a freeze-dried powder. It must first be reconstituted with bacteriostatic water. 

  • Doses of 500 mcg or less require 1 ml (100 units) of water.
  • Doses of 500 mcg or more require 2 ml (200 units) of water. 

To reconstitute Melanotan, researchers will need 1 vial of Melanotan, 1 vial of water, 1 syringe, and 1 alcohol swab. Here is a complete guide to reconstituting Melanotan. 

  1. Remove the top of the Melanotan vial and sterilize. 
  2. Remove the top of the bacteriostatic water and sterilize the rubber stopper.
  3. Insert the syringe into the vial of water and hold it upside down. Withdraw the water (1 or 2 ml, as described above). Then inject the water slowly in the vial of Melanotan, aiming at the side (not the powder). 
  4. Store the vial in the fridge until the powder dissolves. The vial can be tilted or swirled but not shaken. 

Melanotan injection

Past studies show that the most common sites for Melanotan 2 injections are the stomach, legs, and buttocks. Research data shows that researchers have typically wiped the infection site to remove bacteria and pinched a small amount of fat before injecting at a 90-degree angle. 

Here is a complete overview of how Melanotan 2 injections have been conducted in past studies: 

  1. Use an alcohol swab to sterilize the Melanotan stopper and insert the syringe.
  2. Turn the vial upside down and withdraw the dose.
  3. Put it back the right way up and remove the syringe.
  4. Locate the injection site and wipe it with the alcohol swab.
  5. Insert the needle into the skin in a firm, swift movement.
  6. Push down the plunger slowly until all the liquid is gone.
  7. Remove the needle and dispose of it responsibly.
  8. Use the swab to clean the area. 

Nasal Method

Studies have shown that nasal administration of Melanotan 2 is less effective than injections but can be more comfortable for test subjects. Researchers in past studies have mixed the freeze-dried peptide with sterile water (as above) and then put this into a nasal spray bottle. Here is a detailed account of the method used:  

  • Take the reconstituted Melanotan. Put in a syringe and turn it upside down. Withdraw all of the liquid and remove the syringe.
  • Unscrew the cap of the nasal spray and slowly inject the liquid into the bottle.
  • Administer into the nose via the spray bottle.

Research involving Melanotan 2 is lacking and this opens avenues for researchers interested in experimenting with this research chemical. Full details of our recommended Melanotan 2 vendor will be provided in the following section.  

Where to Buy Melanotan 2 Online? | 2022 Guide

Researchers curious about where to buy Melanotan 2 online may note that finding a vendor selling legitimate, high-quality Melanotan 2 can be challenging. Many vendors fail to deliver and some supply under-dosed or unsafe products. 

To assist peptide researchers, our team has reviewed several top peptide vendors and determined that Peptide Sciences is the one to beat.

They're an American company that supplies a wide range of peptides to researchers. Here are some of the things they do exceptionally well: 

  • Certificate of analysis: Peptide Science has every batch of Melanotan 2 tested by an independent lab and published certificates of analysis on their website. This helps researchers verify the purity of the Melanotan 2 before placing an order.
  • Fast shipping: US orders typically take 2-3 days to arrive and shipping fees are waived on all orders over $100. International customers need to wait 7-10 days on average. 
  • Convenient payment methods available: Peptide Sciences accepts all the big credit cards as well as cryptocurrencies.
  • Great customer service: Researchers with questions or queries about their order can contact Peptide Sciences via email and receive a response within 24 hours. 

Overall, Peptide Sciences is honest, reliable, and extremely consistent with the quality of their peptides. Researchers interested in exploring Melanotan 2 benefits and side effects and advised to contact Peptide Sciences for more information. 

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How to Order Melanotan 2 | Country-by-Country

Peptide Sciences currently sells peptides to researchers in over 100 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, and most European countries. Researchers can order in confidence from Peptide Sciences regardless of which country they are located in. 

melanotan 2

Review of Melanotan 2 | Verdict

Researchers interested in the benefits and side effects of Melanotan 2 will note that this research chemical remains little understood. Several key effects of Melanotan 2 noted in animal studies have yet to be evaluated in clinical trials. Hopefully, this guide has highlighted several key areas where further research appears warranted. 

Researchers wishing to explore Melanotan 2 are advised to consult the relevant literature before calculating the parameters of their experiment. We highly recommend contacting Peptide Sciences for all research-related inquiries.



  1. Plant, T. M. & Zeleznik, A. J. (2014). Knobil and Neill’s Physiology of Reproduction: Two-Volume Set. Academic Press. pp. 2230–2231.
  2. King, S. H., Mayorov, A. V., Balse-Srinivasan, P., Hruby, V. J., Vanderah, T. W., & Wessells, H. (2007). Melanocortin receptors, melanotropic peptides and penile erection. Current topics in medicinal chemistry, 7(11), 1111-1119.
  3. Minakova, E., Lang, J., Medel-Matus, J. S., Gould, G. G., Reynolds, A., Shin, D., … & Sankar, R. (2019). Melanotan-II reverses autistic features in a maternal immune activation mouse model of autism. PloS one, 14(1), e0210389.
  4. Van Hout, M. C., & Brennan, R. (2014). An in-depth case examination of an exotic dancer’s experience of melanotan. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(3), 444-450.
  5. Brennan, R., Wells, J. G., & Van Hout, M. C. (2014). An unhealthy glow? A review of melanotan use and associated clinical outcomes. Performance Enhancement & Health, 3(2), 78–92.
  6. Barnetson, R. S., Ooi, T. K., Zhuang, L., Halliday, G. M., Reid, C. M., Walker, P. C., … & Kleinig, M. J. (2006). [Nle4-D-Phe7]-α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone significantly increased pigmentation and decreased UV damage in fair-skinned caucasian volunteers. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 126(8), 1869-1878.
  7. FitzGerald, L. M., Fryer, J. L., Dwyer, T., & Humphrey, S. M. (2006). Effect of MELANOTAN®, [Nle4, D-Phe7]-α-MSH, on melanin synthesis in humans with MC1R variant alleles. Peptides, 27(2), 388-394.
  8. van der Klaauw, A., Keogh, J., Henning, E., Stephenson, C., Trowse, V. M., Fletcher, P., & Farooqi, S. (2015). Role of melanocortin signalling in the preference for dietary macronutrients in human beings. The Lancet, 385, S12.
  9. Lee, Y. S. (2009). The role of leptin-melanocortin system and human weight regulation: lessons from experiments of nature. Annals Academy of Medicine Singapore, 38(1), 34.
  10. Bjørbæk, C., & Hollenberg, A. N. (2002). Leptin and melanocortin signaling in the hypothalamus. Vitamins and Hormones, 65, 281-311. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0083-6729(02)65068-X
  11. Guo, F., Bakal, K., Minokoshi, Y., & Hollenberg, A. N. (2004). Leptin signaling targets the thyrotropin-releasing hormone gene promoter in vivo. Endocrinology, 145(5), 2221-2227.
  12. York, D. A., Boghossian, S., & Park-York, M. (2011). Melanocortin activity in the amygdala influences alcohol intake. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 98(1), 112-119.
  13. Wessells, H., Fuciarelli, K., Hansen, J., Hadley, M. E., Hruby, V. J., Dorr, R., & Levine, N. (1998). Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction: double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study. The Journal of Urology, 160(2), 389-393.
  14. Hakim, L. S. (1998). Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction: Double-blind placebo controlled crossover study. International Journal of Impotence Research, 10(4), 263-263.
  15. Brennan, R., Wells, J. G., & Van Hout, M. C. (2014). An unhealthy glow? A review of melanotan use and associated clinical outcomes. Performance Enhancement & Health, 3(2), 78-92.

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