Titus Thorne

Last Updated November 17, 2021

Titus Thorne

 November 17, 2021

Melanotan injections can be intimidating.

Sure, you know they offer great benefits: better tanning, darker skin, protection from the sun… and more.

But are they safe? Are there Melanotan injection side effects?

Here's your full guide with everything you need to know about safely using Melanotan 2 injections.

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What is Melanotan?

Melanotan is a peptide. It's structurally similar to one of your own naturally occurring peptides called alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) [1]. Because it's an α-MSH analog, Melanotan can bind to the same receptors that α-MSH does and help regulate your body [2].

The biggest effect that Melanotan has is that it upregulates melanogenesis—the process of creating melanin. Melanin is the pigment in your skin. The more melanin you have in your skin, the darker it gets, and the more easily you tan. So Melanotan darkens the skin and makes tanning easier.

But because there are several receptors that it can bind to, Melanotan has several different effects. We'll cover those in the benefits section.


Melanotan 1 vs. Melanotan 2

Melanotan has two main types: Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2 [3]. Each of them is an analog of α-MSH, they just differ in their structure slightly.

Melanotan 1 is a longer, straight peptide. It darkens skin without the sun and has fewer side effects than Melanotan II [3]. But it is also typically less popular and more expensive.

Melanotan 2 is a shorter, circular peptide.  It effectively darkens the skin by making tanning more effective. It also has other effects that Melanotan doesn't have, like decreases in appetite and improvement of sexual function.

MT-2 is by far the most common and popular type, so that's what we'll focus on in this article.

Melanotan Benefits

Melanotan II has been found to have a bunch of benefits. These include:

  • Tanning, reductions in burns, and increased protection from the sun [3, 4, 5].
  • Increases in sexual arousal and improving erectile function [1, 2, 3, 6, 7]
  • Controlling addictive and compulsive behaviors [8].
  • Reducing appetite [9, 10, 11]
  • Reversing some autistic features [12]
  • Regulating blood sugar [13]
  • Minimizing the time spent in the sun absorbing harmful UV rays

Melanotan Side Effects

What are Melanotan injections side effects?

Despite the wide-ranging benefits, there are some Melanotan side effects that you should be aware of. These include [1, 3]:

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

Despite these side effects, most researchers agree that the adverse effects of Melanotan are quite minor. One review of clinical research on Melanotan concluded [3] that the,

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

melanotan 1

Melanotan Injections | What You MUST Know

So how do you use Melanotan 2 injections safely? Here's what you need to know.

Skin types

First, everyone has a different skin type. To find the best dosage for your “test subjects”, it's helpful to know what skin type they have. The Fitzpatrick skin chart separates people into 6 different skin types:

Skin Type 1 – Very fair skin tone. Prone to burns, difficulty tanning.

Skin Type 2 – Fair skin tone. Prone to burns, but can develop a slight tan over the summer.

Skin Type 3– Medium skin tone. Burns with intense sun exposure. Generally tans fairly well.

Skin Type 4 – Olive skin tone. Rarely burns, always tans well.

Skin Type 5 – Brown skin tone. Never burns, generally tans well.

Skin Type 6 – Definite pigmentation. Never burns, tans very easily.

If your “test subjects” have skin type 1 or 2, you're looking at probably using a greater dose for a longer time to get your desired results. If you have skin type 3 through 6, you may need a lower Melanaotan dosage.

MT-2 tends to benefits those with types 1, 2, and 3, more than types 4, 5, and 6. But types 1 and 2 will take longer to see results.

Melanotan Dosage

The recommended Melanotan 2 dosage is as follows:

  • Starting dose: 250 micrograms (mcg). That's 0.25 milligrams (mg). This is a low dose but it will help your body get used to the Melanotan. Stay at this dose level for 2-4 days. If you have skin type 3-6, you may not need to go higher than this.
  • Increase to 500 mcg. That's 0.5 mg. This is a standard dose; it's sufficient for the majority of people. If you don't see the results you're looking for after a while, you can increase further.
  • 1 mg is a high dose. This is the highest dose your “test subjects” should take. If they are taking doses this large, it might be best to split the dose into two injections of 0.5 mg.

Loading dosage vs. Maintenance

Many people have a “loading” phase, where they get the tan they're looking for, and then a “maintenance” phase, where they try to maintain it. Here's what works for our “test subjects” (but there are lots of individual variables, so expect to do some trial and error):

Loading phase: to achieve a tan, your “test subjects” might take a Melanotan dosage of 0.5 mg every day, with three tanning sessions a week.

Maintenance phase: to maintain the tan, your “test subjects” might take 500 mcg every 3 or 4 days, followed by a single tanning session.

Melanotan injections vs. nasal spray

Melanotan is most commonly injected, but it can also be administered via a nasal spray. This tends to be less effective but is more comfortable for some people. It also likely comes with less risk of harm from injections.

Subcutaneous Melanotan 2 injections vs. intramuscular injections

Melanotan can be injected either subcutaneously or intramuscularly.

Subcutaneous injections are those that go into the fatty tissue under the skin. Intramuscular injections are those into a muscle—often your deltoid shoulder muscles, your thigh muscles, or the butt.

Either will work for Melanotan. Choose which is more comfortable for your “test subjects”. Our “test subjects” prefer subcutaneous injections.


Most people use insulin syringes for Melanotan injections. The reason is that these are shorter and thinner than other syringes. That means that they are less painful to use and can more easily get in the right spot: in the fat under the skin.

You can purchase insulin syringes at your local pharmacy, specialty stores, or online.

Reconstituting Melanotan

Your Melanotan 2 will come to you as a freeze-dried powder. It might look like small chunks or pellets. You need to reconstitute it with sterile water to be able to inject it.

  1. Pop off the top of your Melanotan vial. Swab the rubber stopper with alcohol to sterilize it.
  2. Pop off the top of the bacteriostatic water. Swab the rubber stopper with alcohol here, too.
  3. Insert the syringe into the vial of water. Turn it upside down. Then, withdraw 1 or 2 mL of the water.
  4. If you are using less than 500 mcg of Melanotan, it's probably better to use 2 mL (200 units). If you're using 500 mcg or more, it's probably better to use 1 mL (100 units).
  5. Inject the water slowly in the vial of Melanotan. Aim at the sides. Depending on the size of the syringe, you may have to do this several times.
  6. Leave it in the fridge overnight or for a few hours until the powder dissolves. You can swirl or tilt the vial, but do not shake it.

Reconstituting Melanotan

You know the dose you need, but it can be complicated to calculate the amount that actually goes into the syringe. Here's a calculator.

Assuming you have a 1 mL syringe (100 units), a 10 mg vial of Melanotan, and are using 1 mL of sterile or bacteriostatic water, here are the dose calculations:

  • 250 mcg (0.25 mg) = 3 units
  • 500 mcg (0.5 mg) = 5 units
  • 750 mcg (0.75 mg) = 8 units
  • 1,000 mcg(1 mg) = 10 units

Assuming you have a 1 mL syringe (100 units), a 10 mg vial of Melanotan, and are using 2 mL of sterile or bacteriostatic water, here are the dose calculations:

  • 250 mcg (0.25 mg) = 5 units
  • 500 mcg (0.5 mg) = 10 units
  • 750 mcg (0.75 mg) = 15 units
  • 1,000 mcg(1 mg) = 20 units

Choosing an injection spot

The most popular site to inject is the stomach (avoid the belly button). The leg and buttocks are also popular spots.

Injection administration

Here's how to perform an injection.

  1. Wipe the reconstituted Melanotan vial with an alcohol swab to sterilize it.
  2. Insert the syringe, turn the vial upside down and take out the appropriate dose (using the calculations above).
  3. Turn it back to be right-side-up and remove the syringe.
  4. Wipe your injection site with alcohol.
  5. Insert the needle into your skin in a firm, swift movement. The smaller the needle, the easier and more painless this will be.
  6. Press the plunger until the liquid is gone.
  7. Take out the needle. Dispose of it.
  8. There may be a small amount of blood. Wipe this away with your alcohol swab.

Storing Melanotan

Melanotan can be stored like this:


  • at room temperature (21 – 24 degrees Celcius or 70 – 75 Farenheight) for up to 12 months
  • refrigerated (2 – 8C or 70 – 75F) for 48 months
  • in the freezer (< -18C or < 0F) for 48+ months

Reconstituted with bacteriostatic water:

  • at room temperature for up to 2 months
  • refrigerated for 48 months
  • Don't freeze it.

Keep in mind that bacteriostatic water itself expires, so you shouldn't store Melanotan reconstituted in it longer than the water's shelf life. For example, if your water expires in 2 months, you should use your Melanotan reconstituted in that water before the 2 months is up.

Where to Buy Melanotan Online? | 2021 Guide

We love Peptide Sciences: it's the best place to buy Melanotan online. Peptide Sciences:

  • Has 99%+ pure product so you know what you're getting
  • Has cheap, fast shipping
  • Has great customer service
  • Has secure, convenient payment options
  • Posts analyses on their website to prove their product is research-grade

If you want to avoid sketchy vendors, go with Peptide Sciences.

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melanotan 1

Injecting Melanotan | Verdict

Melanotan injections can seem scary, but they don't have to be. Millions of people with Type I diabetes give themselves insulin injections every day. If they can do it, your  “test subjects” should be able to, too.

With the above information, your “test subjects” have everything they need to take Melanotan safely.


  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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  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.

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