Titus Thorne

Last Updated November 17, 2021

Titus Thorne

 November 17, 2021

Melanotan is a very effective way to boost melanin and tanning—but are there Melanotan 2 side effects?

This is important. If you're considering buying Melanotan to conduct “research” and see if it's an effective tanning product for your “test subjects” you want to make sure that it's also safe.

Well, it is generally considered safe. But there are some side effects that you should be aware of.

In this article, we'll give you a detailed look at Melanotan 2 safety and its potential side effects.

Buy Melanotan 2 from our #1 recommended vendor...

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What is Melanotan 2?

Melanotan 2 is a peptide, which is a chemical signaller that is made up of amino acids. It's like a protein, but shorter. Peptides are found naturally throughout the body and work to regulate a number of different bodily functions.

Melanotan 2 is a synthetic peptide that's been created to have the same chemical structure as alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). The α-MSH peptide is produced naturally in your body and secreted from the pituitary gland. It plays a role in regulating a number of bodily functions through melanocortin receptors [1].

One of the functions of α-MSH is to upregulate the production of melanin by melanocytes in the skin. Melanin is the skin's pigment—it's what determines skin color. It also helps protect the skin against sunlight. When there is more α-MSH in the body's system, there's more melanin, and the result is darker skin that tans more easily [2].

Because Melanotan has the same chemical structure as α-MSH, it has the same effect: binding to melanocortin receptors and increasing skin pigment [3].

That's just one effect. Other types of melanocortin receptors have other effects. For example, Melanotan 2 has been found to also reduce appetite and improve sexual function in men. That's why you'll see that some of the Melanotan side effects include loss of appetite and spontaneous erections [1, 3].

There are two types of Melanotan: Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2. These are often also called Melanotan I and Melanotan II or MT-1 and MT-2 respectively.

melanotan 2

Benefits of Melanotan 2

There are lots of benefits of Melanotan that have been found in the research. Here are a few of them:

  1. Tanning and darker skin. Studies have found that Melanotan dosage reliably increases melanin and darkens skin and hair [4]. They've also found that it can help protect against sun damage and skin cancer [5, 6].
  2. Improving sexual function. There's consistent evidence that Melanotan can improve libido and sexual function, including increasing the quality of erections in men [4, 7, 8, 9].
  3. Decreasing appetite. Several animal studies have found that Melanotan injections can reduce appetite and even shift food preferences towards less fatty foods [10]. The result is significant weight loss. That's consistent with one of the common Melanotan side effects: loss of appetite. Some have even suggested that Melanotan dosage may one day be an effective treatment for obesity [11, 12].
  4. Regulation of blood sugar. There's some suggestion that Melanotan could eventually be used for people with diabetes to regulate blood sugar, although more research is needed for this [13].
  5. Improving impulse control. Animal studies have found that Melanotan 2 injections help control impulsive behaviors. They've even been found to reduce binge-drinking behaviors [14].
  6. Reducing autistic features. Some research has found that Melanotan dosage can reduce features of autism in animal models [15].

Melanotan 2 Side Effects | What You MUST Know

So it can have a bunch of great benefits for your “test subjects”… but what about Melanotan 2 safety?

Before conducting your “research”, you'll probably want to know what the Melanotan side effects are and whether they're serious. Let's dive in.

Melanotan is generally considered safe.

Just to frame the discussion around Melanotan side effects, it's important to note that Melanotan is generally considered safe. One review study of several clinical trials concluded that [4],

“Side effects observed in clinical trials [of Melanotan] are largely minor.”

So while there are side effects of Melanotan, they tend to be minor. And research suggests these side effects are less dangerous than the side effects of tanning using the sun [16], which we know can lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer.

More common side effects

More common side effects of Melanotan 2 include [4]:

  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Stretching
  • Yawning
  • Increase in libido and erections
  • Decreased appetite
  • Facial hair darkening
  • Patchy pigmentation
  • Pigmentation of the nails
  • Darkening of moles

Less common side effects

The Melanotan side effects that can occur but are less common include:

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness

Melanotan 1 side effects vs. Melanotan 2

Is there a difference between Melanotan 1 side effects compared to the side effects of Melanotan 2?

Yes, there are some slight differences. Generally, Melanotan 1 has fewer side effects; your test subjects are less likely to get side effects if they're using it.

Other potential harms of using Melanotan

Other potential harms of using Melanotan injections include:

  • bloodborne viruses (from re-using or sharing needles)
  • bacterial infections (from improperly sterilizing injection equipment before use)
  • Pain, itching, and discomfort at the injection site.

Long-term Melanotan side effects

What about the long-term Melanotan side effects?

The truth is that we don't really know. There haven't been many studies on the long-term effects of MT-1 or MT-2 [4]. Like most drugs, and especially most peptides, research is still in the early phases.

If your “test subjects” use Melanotan 1 or 2 over the long term, they're taking a bit of an unknown risk. On the other hand, they are taking a risk with sun tanning, too.

Melanotan and cancer?

Melanotan increases skin pigment and darkens the skin. Some health websites note that one of the effects is also to darken the color of moles. They suggest that this could be a sign that Melanotan contributes to the development of melanoma or skin cancer.

The evidence is unclear.

Some research has found that, in individuals that have presented with melanoma, they have previously used Melanotan II. However, in each of these cases, there was also extensive use of tanning beds. Tanning beds are known to increase the risk of skin cancer [4].

Other studies have actually found that Melanotan can protect against sun damage and skin cancer. Some research has found that it has an inhibitory effect on the development of skin cancer in vitro [4, 5, 17]. One study found that Melanotan 1 was essentially a safe injectible sunscreen with no carcinogenic potential [18].

The conclusion is that there is some evidence that Melanotan can be protective against cancer, but its effects aren't entirely known yet.


What about if you take too much Melanotan?

Yes, that can be a problem.

The standard dose for Melanotan II is about 500 micrograms (mcg) or half a milligram. The maximum recommended dose is 1 milligram—double the standard dose.  If your “test subjects” take more than that, they're risking getting into overdose territory.

Several cases of people that have taken too much Melanotan—10 times the maximum dose—have found that this can result in:

  • Body aches [19]
  • Sweating [19]
  • Anxiety [19]
  • Agitation [20]
  • High heart rate [20]
  • Palpitations [4]
  • Hyperventilation [4]
  • Abdominal pain [4]
  • Priapism (painful erections) [20]
  • Renal (kidney) disfunction [19]

It's important to note that even with an overdose of 10 times the maximum recommended dose, there have not been reports of death from Melanotan [4].

Other risks

One of the other big risks noted in the research literature about Melanotan is that it's difficult for the buyer to know what's actually in their product. Most products are not rigorously tested [4]. Not knowing what's in the product, and impure products, increase the risk of using Melanotan.

That's why it's important to find a trustworthy vendor.

Melanotan Safety

One of the other big risks noted Overall, most researchers have concluded that Melanotan is safe and that it has only relatively minor side effects [4, 7, 9, 1821, 22, 23].

Where to Buy Melanotan 2 Online? | 2021 Guide

The trick to buying Melanotan online is to make sure that you're getting it from a legitimate source that sells research-grade peptides. This will help you reduce the risk of Melanotan side effects because you'll know that you're getting a pure product.

Because some online vendors sell a product with additives and fillers.

How do you avoid those?

We've tried a bunch of peptide vendors over the years, and none have been as good as Peptide Sciences. Here's what we like about them:

  • 99%+ pure product. These guys produce and test their peptide products so that you can be sure that you're getting the best research-grade Melanotan out there. They even post the results of lab analyses on their website so that you can see the purity for yourself.
  • Convenient, secure payment. They've got the best SSL technology to make sure no one is skimming your payment information. They've also got a range of payment options: from credit cards to online payment options, to even cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
  • Quick shipping. They'll get your order to you within 2-3 days if you're in the US and within 10 if you're in the 170 other countries they send to.
  • Great customer service. Problem with your order? Call or email. You'll talk to a person and they'll make it right.

We've always been satisfied with our experience with Peptide Sciences and we know they're sending us a real, pure Melanotan injection product. We know that with them, we're reducing our risk of side effects. So if you're looking to buy Melanotan online, try Peptide Sciences.

Buy Melanotan 2 from our #1 recommended vendor...

melanotan 2

Side Effects of Melanotan 2? | Verdict

The fact is that Melanotan 2 side effects are largely minor, especially compared to the known side effects of tanning using sunlight or tanning beds—we know these cause premature aging, wrinkles, and potential skin cancer.

Besides those, Melanotan's side effects look pretty minor.

Still, “test subjects” should still be careful. “Researchers” should look for reliable, vetted sources for their Melanotan to ensure they get a pure product.


  1. Plant, T. M. & Zeleznik, A. J. (2014). Knobil and Neill's Physiology of Reproduction: Two-Volume Set. Academic Press. pp. 2230–2231.
  2. O’Leary, R. E., Diehl, J., & Levins, P. C. (2014). Update on tanning: More risks, fewer benefits. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 70(3), 562-568.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Wessells, H., Levine, N., Hadley, M. E., Dorr, R., & Hruby, V. (2000). Melanocortin receptor agonists, penile erection, and sexual motivation: human studies with Melanotan II. International journal of impotence research, 12(4), S74-S79.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. Levine, N., Sheftel, S. N., Eytan, T., Dorr, R. T., Hadley, M. E., Weinrach, J. C., … & Hruby, V. (1991). Induction of skin tanning by subcutaneous administration of a potent synthetic melanotropin. JAMA, 266(19), 2730-2736.
  17. Jiang, J., Sharma, S. D., Nakamura, S., LAI, J. Y., Fink, J. L., Hruby, V. J., & Hadley, M. E. (1995). The Melanotropic Peptide,[Nle4, d‐Phe7] α‐MSH, Stimulates Human Melanoma Tyrosinase Activity and Inhibits Cell Proliferation. Pigment Cell Research, 8(6), 314-323.
  18. Hadley, M. E., & Dorr, R. T. (2006). Melanocortin peptide therapeutics: historical milestones, clinical studies and commercialization. Peptides, 27(4), 921-930.
  19. Nelson, M. E., Bryant, S. M., & Aks, S. E. (2012). Melanotan II injection resulting in systemic toxicity and rhabdomyolysis. Clinical Toxicology, 50(10), 1169-1173.
  20. Devlin, J., Pomerleau, A., & Foote, J. (2013). Melanotan II overdose associated with priapism. Clinical Toxicology, 51(4), 383.
  21. Ugwu, S. O., Blanchard, J., Dorr, R. T., Levine, N., Brooks, C., Hadley, M. E., … & Hruby, V. J. (1997). Skin pigmentation and pharmacokinetics of Melanotan‐I in humans. Biopharmaceutics & drug disposition, 18(3), 259-269.
  22. Dorr, R. T., Lines, R., Levine, N., Brooks, C., Xiang, L., Hruby, V. J., & Hadley, M. E. (1996). Evaluation of Melanotan-II, a superpotent cyclic melanotropic peptide in a pilot phase-I clinical study. Life Sciences, 58(20), 1777-1784.
  23. Dorr, R. T., Ertl, G., Levine, N., Brooks, C., Bangert, J. L., Powell, M. B., … & Alberts, D. S. (2004). Effects of a superpotent melanotropic peptide in combination with solar UV radiation on tanning of the skin in human volunteers. Archives of dermatology, 140(7), 827-835.

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