The Coolest Ingredient In Skin Care
At some point, you’ve likely heard of menthol. It’s that cool, minty flavor that typically delivers an invigorating sensation. It’s actually similar to the component in chili peppers that stimulates our heat sensors, except menthol chemically triggers our cold-sensitive receptors.
Menthol is an organic compound extracted from peppermint and other mint oils that is found in everything from gum to mouthwash to after-shave. But this ingredient does so much more than just deliver a cooling effect and freshen up your breath, it’s actually been used throughout history as an antiseptic, to provide relief from minor throat irritations, soothe sore muscles, and even treat sunburns. Why should this be a part of your skin care arsenal?
WHAT IT IS
As I mentioned, menthol is an organic compound extracted from peppermint and other mints. It actually occurs as four pairs of isomers, but since menthol (L) is the one most widely found in nature, that’s almost always what menthol refers to. The odor of this compound is, as you may have guessed, similar to peppermint.
Ancient cultures are said to have used menthol to relieve coughs, respiratory problems and colds. It’s also been relied upon for treating sore throats and bad breath, as it is today – evidenced by its presence in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Menthol has been used for banishing tension headaches and treating nausea too. But what does it do for the skin?
HOW IT WORKS
The biological structure of menthol activates the release of a cooling sensation on the skin when applied. That is why it feels so good to sunburned, itchy or wounded skin, as well as sore muscles. In addition to the cooling properties, this all-star ingredient also works to reduce inflammation.
Because of menthol’s valuable anti-bacterial properties, it works great in facial cleansing formulas to keep foreign invaders from setting up camp on your skin. In combination with the cooling sensation, this ingredient also leaves skin feeling fresh, clean and awake.
If you’re in need of a refresh or want to liven up tired skin, turn to menthol.