You’re probably familiar with menthol’s cooling and refreshing effect from your toothpaste or chewing gum. But have you heard about the benefits of including menthol in hair care products? Probably not! However, its calming, cooling and counterirritant properties may help soothe dry, itchy or inflamed scalps. In addition to providing a cooling sensation, menthol also has beneficial circulation-boosting properties, which may promote thicker and healthier looking hair.
Help get your scalp and hair health back on track by choosing hair care products that offer supportive combinations of clean ingredients like menthol!
What is Menthol?
Menthol is a naturally occurring chemical found in peppermint and other mint plants, and it can also be made synthetically in a lab. It has been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. In the 18th century, this crystalline compound was isolated, and the ingredient started to be included in everything from cosmetics to pesticides to candies.
Known for its fragrance, flavor and inclusion in cold and stomach remedies, menthol also appears in body care products, such as mouthwashes and shampoos. Menthol is scientifically known as a vasodilator, meaning it may promote blood circulation to hair follicles and, in turn, support improved hair nutrition. Although menthol is not a cure for hair loss, its topical application may aid in relieving symptoms such as dry scalp, hair shedding or thinning and product or oil buildup.
What Scalp Benefits May Menthol Offer?
The cooling effect and scalp-stimulating traits of menthol, can be of service to the hair and scalp. Below, we’ll highlight a few of menthol’s potential benefits for scalp health.
Stimulates blood circulation in the scalpBecause of menthol’s scientifically recognized role as a vasodilator, it is often regarded as an effective ingredient for promoting hair growth. As a vasodilator, menthol stimulates blood circulation in the scalp and opens up hair follicles. By stimulating and helping to open the hair follicles, menthol can help deliver nutrients to the hair follicles and improve the scalp’s health. These contributions may help reduce itching or flaking and may promote hair growth and support the nourishment of the scalp skin layers.
Relieves irritated scalpsMenthol causes a cooling sensation by stimulating cold-sensitive receptors in the scalp cells. This near-instant relief is especially welcome if one is dealing with the discomfort of an irritated scalp. In addition to other itchy scalp tips and scratch prevention remedies, menthol’s cooling effect may also help relieve inflammation caused by excessive dryness or other scalp conditions.
- Detoxes the hair and scalp Since it may help clear product or oil build-up and dandruff from your scalp, many shampoos contain menthol in their ingredient lists. Menthol aids in deeply yet gently cleaning hair and removing residue. This function may provide the hair and scalp with a much-needed detox and support in restoring the scalp’s natural balance.
Which Hair Loss Symptoms Menthol Can Help Manage?
Hair loss is associated with many causes including those that are medical, nutritional and environmental. Regardless of its source, hair loss has a significant impact on those experiencing it in any form from thinning hair to baldness. Using the essential oil, peppermint in a self-care strategy like aromatherapy or trying other ways to lower your stress levels may help reduce the potential for or symptoms associated with thinning hair or other hair loss conditions. Menthol may also aid in addressing symptoms associated with the following hair concerns.
Menthol has been shown to be active against various microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria. Bacterial infections most commonly cause folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles). Menthol’s antibacterial and cooling properties may help combat the scalp irritation it may cause.
There are several causes of dandruff, one of which is irritated, oily skin typically caused by a yeast-like fungus. Menthol aids in cleansing oily build-up and dandruff from your scalp. Moreover, its antifungal properties may help combat the fungus that can cause dandruff by deeply cleansing the hair and removing residue.
Menthol’s cooling and tingling sensations may prove helpful in relieving the inflammation stemming from trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). This condition can have a variety of causes and symptoms, so it is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you think you or a loved one may be suffering with and from it.
Is Menthol Safe for the Scalp?
One side effect of menthol is superficial irritation, such as redness or itchiness, where it is topically applied. Some people may be particularly sensitive to menthol and have severe skin reactions to even small amounts of this compound, although this level of severity is typically rare. It is always recommended to talk with your health care provider or do a patch test before using new products with menthol or any other new ingredient. Performing a patch test enables you to check for signs of irritation, such as redness, itching or a stinging sensation. If any of these effects occur, stop using the product and talk with your doctor about next steps.
At Divi, our mission is to create products to help you promote your healthiest scalp and happiest hair with effective and science-backed ingredients. Take steps toward improving your scalp’s health and setting your hair up for growth success today by trying our Starter Bundle, which includes our Scalp Serum, our Shampoo and our Conditioner.