Menthol for Hair Loss: Truth or Myth

Mint leaf close up on a white background

If you are suffering from hair loss then you have probably heard of several different remedies, including using some form of menthol on your hair. While this is something that will no doubt feel good on your scalp, it is also good for hair loss.

What Exactly Is Menthol?

Menthol is a substance that can be either synthetically made or, more commonly, is extracted in some way from a plant in the peppermint family. The mints that are most commonly used are peppermint and wild mint.

One of the main places that these are grown is in India, and one of the ways that it is made is to first extract the oil. The mint oil can then be frozen, at which point the menthol naturally separates. The menthol is then filtered out of the oil to be used.

While India is now the top producer of menthol, China is a close second and used to be first. Originally, however, it was first isolated in the west in the year 1771. More natural menthol is made than synthetic, but the amount of the latter that is made yearly is growing.

In its true form, menthol is clear to slightly waxy and white. It also has a unique feature that makes it like coconut oil. This feature is the fact that it tends to be solid and room temperature and melts when slightly warmer.

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What Does Menthol Do?

Menthol has a numbing effect when it comes into contact with your skin and also has counterirritant properties. This is why it is so often used for treating things like a sore throat with such success. Part of how it does this is that it literally triggers the cold-sensitive receptors that are in the skin.

This is what gives menthol its cooling sensation when it is eaten, applied to the skin, or even when the fumes of it are inhaled. In this way, it is the exact opposite of the capsaicin found in hot peppers which triggers the hot-sensitive receptors in our skin. Like capsaicin, menthol also helps encourage the flow of blood to the skin too.

In addition to this cooling sensation, menthol also has antibacterial qualities. This helps it to be good at helping fight germs and it is another reason why it is great for sore throats since it does more than mask the symptoms.

While these are the two main features that menthol poses, there are other advantages too. One of these is that it works as an antispasmodic and stimulates your nerve endings. Because it is not technically an oil it can even help control the oil production of your scalp.

This means that menthol is something that is great to use if your hair is too oily. Because of these advantages, menthol is also commonly used in decongestants, aftershave, and to treat things like sunburns. It is even used in things like perfume on a regular basis as well.

How Can Menthol Help With Hair Loss?

Practically everything about menthol can be useful in helping to prevent and treat hair loss. Inflammation is something that can often cause hair loss or make it worse. The cooling properties of the menthol will help reduce this and that alone will help.

The fact that it encourages the flow of blood can also be a huge help. The follicles that grow your hair need the nutrients from blood in order to make your hair. If there are not enough nutrients getting to it your hair will come out thin and brittle.

In addition to that is the fact that the antibacterial properties can be just as beneficial. This is especially true if one of the causes of your hair loss is an infection of some kind. Infections and funguses can often cause huge hair loss problems and every little bit of help getting rid of these as quickly as possible.

Altogether, menthol will fight infection on two fronts. It will reduce the damage and shorten the time it takes to get rid of the infection. Since the longer you have an infection the more it is likely that there will be permanent damage, the sooner you get rid of it the better your chances are of avoiding hair loss.

The fact that menthol is extracted naturally means that it actually helps protect your hair. This helps to keep what hair you have strong and healthy. It can even go so far as to repair some of the damage that your hair already has.

Healthy hair will not only look better, but it is less likely to fall out. This helps your hair grow thicker since it is not breaking as easily either. Besides all of that, the minty smell of menthol is invigorating to your senses.

How To Use Menthol For Your Hair

There are a number of ways that you can use menthol for your hair loss. The quickest and simplest way is no doubt to get a shampoo that has menthol in it. This can be used daily or as often as you usually take a bath.

Another way that you can use menthol is in the form of an essential oil. This still has the menthol in it and, as an oil, it is a great way to protect your hair. Simply dilute some of the oil with another oil like coconut oil and rub it into your scalp.

You can also add menthol crystals or a mint essential oil into a hair mask. Doing it this way will help it get the ends of your hair as well as your scalp. Alternately, you could even use ointments or creams for your scalp that have menthol or mint as its main ingredient.

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Conclusion

Menthol is often included in hair products due simply to the invigorating way it feels on your scalp. However, if you have never used a product that has menthol then you should use a small amount the first time you use it.

This is because some people can react to menthol when it is too concentrated. Also, you should be aware of the fact that sometimes natural menthol can be better tolerated than synthetic menthol is. For this reason, you should be careful not to overdo it.

Normally menthol is very helpful when it comes to reducing itching, which is one of the most common side effects of an infection. This is very helpful for obvious reasons, but if the itching seems to get worse instead of better then you are likely having a reaction to too much menthol.

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