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Menthol: not just the ‘freshmaker’

When we talk about hair health we must always take into consideration the importance of scalp health. Because, unlike what our hairdresser tells us, hair grows from the roots and not from the ends!

There can be problems that may affect hair loss such as androgenetic alopecia, but there are also alterations that affect the scalp such as seborrheic dermatitis, which causes excessive sebum production making the hair oily with greasy flakes. 

Where am I going with this and menthol? Here it is: from mint plant comes a very important molecule for the health of hair and scalp – you guessed it right – it’s menthol. 

Both peppermint leaves and the essential oil, thanks to the high menthol content, have been known for thousands of years and used in popular tradition for health purposes as well as in cosmetics, thanks to their anaesthetic, antiseptic, purifying and carminative properties. 

In fact, there are testimonies dating back to ancient Greece, the Romans and even the Egyptians that mention the extensive use of peppermint in popular medicine and cosmetics.
That’s right – a lot of studies have shown many beneficial effects: antimicrobial, analgesic and anesthetic, vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, sebum balancing, etc, etc. 

In case of Seborrheic dermatitis or oily hair, menthol is helpful because it has a sebum-balancing action, as, thanks to its astringent properties, it normalises the production of sebum. More on, thanks to its antiseptic properties and its characteristic aroma, it purifies the hair, leaving it fresh and clean after washing. Menthol is the freshmaker, after all! 

But not only does it just make it feel more fresh, it helps counteract the growth of fungi that cause dandruff and seborrhea. Its refreshing action is useful in all types of scalp with itchiness and dryness. 

It doesn’t just end here. Last but definitely not least, recent research has even shown a new potential action of menthol: thank to its vasodilatitating effect it can actually stimulate the growth of hair! But they say they need to do more work to really demonstrate this effect on humans. So for now, let’s just say it really freshens up our hair and scalp, helping fight the enemy: inflammation.