Written by Our Editorial Team
Last Edited: 6/22/22
Melanotan 2 (MT-2) is an analog of the endogenously produced peptide hormone, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). As the name suggests, α-MSH is a peptide hormone that binds to melanocortin (MC) receptors stimulating melanocyte (pigment). MT-2 is an analog of α-MSH with a 1000-fold stronger affinity on the MC3 and MC4 receptors. The activation of these receptors potently increases the synthesis of melanin in the skin. Additionally, MC3 and MC4 receptors help regulate appetite, metabolism, and sexual function.
Simply put, not only will Melanotan 2 increase melanin in the skin, helping you develop a natural tan without excessive UV radiation, but it may also help improve libido and weight loss.
1. Benefits: A Better, Darker Tan
The main benefit of Melanotan 2 is to achieve a darker, more glowing complexion. While it is recommended to get a small amount of sun exposure for best results, you no longer need to lay out in the sun for hours; instead, just a few minutes will suffice. Experts suggest it is nearly impossible not to develop a darker complexion while using MT-2.
2. Enhanced Sexual Function
Melanotan 2 Can Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Research shows that MT-2 can help men achieve and keep an erection. Some effects you might notice are enhancement of erection quality and duration, increased number of erections, shorter refractory period, and an all-around increased libido. You may know of Bremelanotide (PT-141), a metabolite of MT-2 that is FDA approved for improving sexual function. MT-2 contains PT-141, so in addition to the skin tanning effects, you may notice improved libido, erection quality, and orgasm. In studies, male test subjects reported improved erection quality when compared to Viagra. Women also seem to love MT-2 for its effects on sexual function. Studies show MT-2 increases libido in women, by increasing vaginal blood flow. Effects can be felt within minutes of administration.
3. Fat Loss without Dieting or Exercising
Studies on mice given low doses of MT-2 experienced a 40% decrease in abdominal fat pads, whereas a group of control mice (same diet, with the same level of physical activity) who did not receive MT-2 had zero fat loss. As a result, the researchers suggest the central melanocortin system has the potential to be a unique regulator of lean body mass. MC3 and MC4 receptor activation may increase the expression of UCP1 and increase thermogenesis. It may also aid general metabolic function by serving as an anti-inflammatory, lowering oxidative stress, while also improving lipid and glucose regulation. Additionally, despite appetite suppression being a side effect of Melanotan 2, many seek out this peptide specifically for this effect.
4. Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Studies show that Melanotan 2 increased insulin-mediated glucose disposal. In a study done on obese rats, the insulin sensitivity of the rats who were given Melanotan 2 was significantly improved. Having a higher insulin sensitivity can lead to improved body composition and reduces the risk of type II diabetes.
5. Protection against harmful UV radiation
A multitude of clinical trials have been performed with Melanotan 2, and they approved it as a safe and effective way to promote melanogenesis, the production of melanin. Melanin helps protect the cells of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) from UV light. This is accomplished by absorbing the UV light before it damages the sensitive DNA of skin cells.
Excessive doses of MT-2 may cause temporary facial flushing, lethargy, appetite loss, and nausea. You may also experience new moles, darkening of existing moles, and uneven skin tones. However, if you are taking an appropriate and recommended dose, you should notice minimal, if any, side effects. In general, the medication is well tolerated. If you notice side effects, the dose is probably excessive for your individual physiology
Excess exposure to UV radiation from sunlight or use of indoor tanning increases the risk for all skin cancer types, as does a personal history of the disease.
Regular skin self-exams are important for those who are at higher risk of skin cancer. Keep a lookout for changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion, the appearance of a new growth on the skin, or a sore that doesn’t heal. If you notice any spots on your skin that are different from the others, or anything changing, itching, or bleeding, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.
The protocol will vary depending on skin type and response to Melanotan 2. However, Derek from More Plates More Dates recommends starting at a very low dose first (50-75 mcg) and assessing if you would like to go up from there.
Low and slow is best. We are big believers in using the minimal effective dose, not only for the medication but also to limit UV exposure. Tanning sessions should be short. If you have never taken Melanotan 2 before and take too much too soon, you are more susceptible to negative side effects like nausea and notice an increase in freckles if you are prone.
Once Melanotan 2 is administered, you should go tanning within an hour of administration due to its relatively short half-life of ~2 hours
We recommend working alongside your medical provider to create an individualized plan for you and your unique skin type. Schedule a consultation with your physician before administering any medication or making any changes to your treatment plan.
Don’t want to take Melanotan 2? Here are 3 alternatives:
1. Beta carotene
Foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale contain a pigment called Beta Carotene, which can increase melanin production and potentially help with photosensitivity.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that can be taken as a supplement, applied topically, or can naturally be found and eaten in things like algae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, and crayfish. Astaxanthin has multiple health benefits, especially for the skin. We recommend this as an alternative for a good, natural glow.
3. Applying Sunless Tanner
This one is a bit more obvious but is worth mentioning. Get a professional spray tan, or self-tan at home using lotions, sprays, foams, gels, etc. This option may not be the most natural-looking, however, it produces the quickest results and requires no sun exposure. Effects can last typically 5-7 days.
If you think Melanotan 2 is right for you, book an appointment with a PCC now to discuss your options.
- Campbell, Jay. Melanotan 2: The Skin Tanning Peptide. 22 Apr. 2022,
- Derek. “Melanotan II Results (with before and after Pictures) – the Tanning Drug.”
More Plates More Dates, 26 Dec. 2020,
- Hadley, Mac E., and Robert T. Dorr. “Melanocortin Peptide Therapeutics: Historical
Milestones, Clinical Studies and Commercialization.” Peptides, Elsevier, 18 Jan. 2006,
A multidisciplinary approach to healthcare is the standard of care that provides the best patient safety. Therefore, we recommend that you work in tandem with an OBGYN.
Our references consist of studies conducted by peer-reviewed journals, academic research institutions, and medical organizations.. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.
This blog post/article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied upon. If you are considering a treatment, always consult your primary care physician to discuss the risks and benefits.