Melatonin prevents radiodermatitis in cancer patients

Ana C. Fernández-Tresguerres Centeno, from the Dermatology Department of the Hospital Universitario Sanitas La Moraleja and consultant in Dermatology at Phexia, explains in an interesting article how melatonin helps to prevent radiodermatitis caused by radiotherapy, through the topical application of a 0.5% melatonin gel before the therapy. We tell you about it in this post.

Radiotherapy and radiodermatitis

The Spanish Society of Radiation Oncology (SEOR) points out that 60% of cancer patients need radiotherapy at some time during their illness, and 40% of patients are cured.

Radiotherapy, which is becoming increasingly widespread, can cause adverse skin reactions during or after treatment. Radiodermatitis is considered to be the group of skin lesions that appear after exposure of the skin to ionizing radiation.

Nowadays, dermatologists are more frequently confronted with the side effects of radiotherapy as more and more patients are undergoing it.

In most patients the effects of radiotherapy on the skin are minimal and transitory, but in 20-25% of patients there are severe reactions. The excess of free radicals released by ionizing radiation produces damage and structural changes in the cell that are often irreversible, leading to radiodermatitis.

Melatonin and radiodermatitis

Melatonin has been shown to be an important antioxidant, protecting cells, tissues and organs from oxidative damage produced by free radicals. Given its lipophilic and hydrophilic nature and its small size, it crosses all cell membranes with ease, reaching the "last corner" of the organism, the mitochondria.

A melatoninergic antioxidant system (MAS) has been discovered in the skin that regulates skin homeostasis and potentially has the ability to prevent sun damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation as well as skin aging and skin cancer, according to existing research.

Several clinical studies show that topical application of melatonin has a suppressive effect on UV-induced erythema in humans. The maximum result is obtained with the highest dose, i.e. topical melatonin gel 0.5%.

Based on the antioxidant properties of melatonin and its ability to suppress solar erythema, the work of our consultant Ana Fernández-Tresguerres focuses on demonstrating that topical treatment with melatonin is able to neutralize the mechanisms of action that set in motion the oxygen free radicals produced in skin exposed to ionizing radiation, thus preventing radiodermatitis.

According to their clinical experience, topical treatment with 0.5% melatonin prevents the appearance of radiodermatitis and would be a treatment to be considered in patients who are going to undergo radiotherapy.

Melatonin and aging

Another model in which oxidative stress of the cells plays an important role is aging, a multisystemic phenomenon that affects various organs and tissues, including the skin, generating structural and functional changes in these organs that often limit their capacity to maintain their function. Treatment with melatonin reduces oxidative stress caused by aging.

Cosmetics with melatonin and CBD

Thanks to these antioxidant properties, melatonin is becoming a star ingredient in anti-aging formulas. Our creams, whose formulation has contributed both our consultant Ana Fernandez-Tresguerres and Dr Fernandez-Tresguerres, have a concentration of 0.5% Melatonin

Phexia is the first company in the market to combine CBD and melatonin in a line of cosmetics with really effective amounts of both active ingredients, thanks to its high concentration. These are our facial creams with CBD and melatonin at 0.5%:

Misty: contains CBD or cannabidiol (400 mg) and Melatonin (250 mg), it is a natural cosmetic with high moisturizing power, which nourishes and repairs the facial skin.

Sensitive: contains CBD (800 mg) and Melatonin (250 mg), it is a natural cosmetic indicated for sensitive and damaged skin that nourishes and moisturizes facial skin.

Youth: with CBD (800 mg) and Melatonin (250 mg), it is a natural anti-wrinkle cosmetic that stimulates the antioxidant defenses of the facial skin.

The future of melatonin research

Although melatonin is a drug authorized orally by both the European Agency and the Spanish Medicines Agency, it is a rather unknown compound, especially in topical application. 

Due to its great effectiveness and the absence of side effects, as well as its ease of use and low cost, it is to be expected that in the coming years it will be increasingly used by professionals, both by dermatologists and oncologists and radiotherapists, since the results observed to date in existing research are really good. However, more histological and molecular studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to support these conclusions definitively.

For further information on the available studies, we recommend reading the original article by Ana C. Fernández-Tresguerres Prevention of radiodermatitis (only available in Spanish) in full.

We recommend you