Association between serum melatonin and skin aging in an urban population of Mongolia

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jun;19(6):1501-1507. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13166. Epub 2019 Sep 30.


Background: Melatonin has been implicated in skin functions such as hair growth cycling and skin pigmentation. Furthermore, melatonin receptors are expressed in several skin cells.

Aims: To study the association between serum melatonin levels and skin aging grades among people aged 20-69 years in Ulaanbaatar city.

Patients/methods: We performed an analytical cross-sectional study that used parametric testing through analyses to test the relationship between melatonin levels and skin aging grades. A total of 946 people were assessed for skin aging using a moisture checker, sebum tape, and a digital camera. Blood samples were collected between 8:00 am and 10:00 am, and melatonin was measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay analyzer.

Results: There was a statistically significant association between age and skin aging grade (P < .001). A multiple factor analysis revealed that lower levels of melatonin in the serum increased with skin aging grade 4 (odds ratio [OR], 1.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4-8.0), (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 0.5-9.5), grade 5 (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 0.8-15.7), and grade 6. There were weak associations between melatonin levels and potential covariates (skin pigmentation and skin hydration) taken from the correlation matrix. There was a weak positive correlation between skin pigmentation and age (r = .28), a weak negative correlation between skin pigmentation and sleep status (r = -.20), and a weak negative correlation between skin hydration and age (r = -.27).

Conclusions: Serum melatonin decreases with age, indicating that its loss may stimulate the process of earlier skin aging.

Keywords: cutaneous microtopography; melatonin; skin aging.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Melatonin / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mongolia
  • Skin Aging / physiology*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Melatonin