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Is peppermint oil good for hair growth?

By January 5, 2019January 20th, 2021Scalp blood flow, Science of hair growth

Curious controversy of peppermint oil and hair growth

While writing this article we were taken on a ride, ride made of peppermint oil and cooling sensation of the controversy we had found in the scientific research. But in the style of our blog, let’s first look at the science and chemical structure of peppermint oil and understand its composition, before jumping into understanding why peppermint oil can be good, and almost essential, for promoting healthy hair growth.

What is peppermint oil made of?

Peppermint oil comes from peppermint (Mentha × piperita), a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. Indigenous to Europe and the Middle East, the plant is now widely spread and cultivated in many regions around the globe. Peppermint oil has two main constituents: menthol and menthone.

Menthone is an organic compound commonly found in plants and insects to deter predators, including herbivore animals, with the minty flavour. It is a type of turpentine, same compound that you find in painting supplies, that has a characteristic, pungent smell, though admittedly, menthone has a much better smell! Essentially, menthone, is what gives peppermint its fresh and invigorating aroma.

Menthol is a crystalline organic compound with a well-known and researched local anaesthetic and anti-irritant qualities. Menthol is commonly added to anaesthetic gels applied topically to relieve muscle tension and pain. It is also a common ingredient in skin-soothing balms and ointments. In other words, it is menthol in toothpaste that tingles your mouth and gums, while menthone is what makes your breath smell fresh. Simply put, menthol is the active ingredient when it comes to its possible healing effects on our bodies, including peppermint oil effect on hair growth.

Peppermint oil and blood vessels in scalp controversy

Some people believe menthol’s cooling sensations and anaesthetic properties induce a vasoconstrictive effect, i.e. shrinkage of blood vessels. However, an overwhelming amount of scientific research repeatedly shows a vasodilatory effect, i.e. expansion of blood vessels. When you apply a menthol-based product topically, it increases blood flow, while also numbing and cooling the skin or scalp. While it “feels” cooling, it doesn’t actually make it so. This is what leads some people to think of it as a vasoconstrictor. (Source and Source). (We went a little mad in trying to understand this, and only reading a number of those papers we understood this peculiar “controversy”.)

Blood flow in scalp and hair growth

Vasodilation, or expansion of blood vessels has a direct effect on blood flow. And increased blood flow has been proven to increase activity in the hair follicles and therefore directly impact by increasing hair growth (Source). Which can be one of the main reasons why in a recent, notable study, peppermint oil outperformed minoxidil, a well known hair loss and hair re-growth product. The graph shows the difference in performance between peppermint oil, minoxidil, jojoba oil and a saline solution (placebo), defining peppermint oil as THE oil for hair health. (Source)

Source: Toxicological Research

The role of peppermint oil in helping hair growth can be attributed to its ability to promote healthy blood flow in scalp. The latter ensures the nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the hair follicles, therefore feeding the hair shaft and supporting the function of the hair root.

The “root” of peppermint oil for hair growth

These outstanding qualities of peppermint oil made it one of the active ingredeients in The Hair Fuel, our signature, all-natural hair growth mask. Coupled with refreshing smell as well as its blood flow improving, a.k.a. hair growing, properties – made it an invaluable contributor and a final “cherry-on-top” touch to the your hair growing journey.

It is important to add peppermint oil to the roots of your hair – where it is growing from and let it stay on your scalp to maximise absorption.

How-to apply peppermint oil for hair growth at home

In addition, you can also incorporate peppermint oil to your hair oiling routine, simply by mixing 10-15 drops of it into 2 tablespoons of your favourite hair oil and applying the mixture onto your scalp. A combination with 5:50:50 peppermint : castor oil : carrier oil can be applied overnight and washed off first thing in the morning. Otherwise keeping the mixture for 30-60 minutes prior to hairwashing also works in a similar way.

Another powerful method would be to apply essential peppermint oil 10-15 minutes before derma-rolling, or 60-90 minutes after it or sooner if there is no significant bleeding after using a dermaroller. Using peppermint oil in combination with the derma-roller increases the blood flow to the area where you need it the most for hair growth.

Important to note, that adding peppermint oil to the conditioner might produce some nice smells in your shower, but given that conditioner is applied on the lengths of your hair and not the roots – you will miss out on its hair-growing qualities altogether.

A perfect travel companion

We thought to include a bonus, as all these qualities of peppermint oil may well make it the perfect travelling companion on the go. Its blood vessel expanding abilities and anaesthetic properties can aid various other health conditions, including providing relief for headache, nausea, as well as relieving itching and burning sensation from sunburns and mosquito bites. Peppermint oil and menthol are commonly added to anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners due to its soothing properties. Its aroma has been known for centuries for its calming effect as well – which can help in the times of stress and overwhelm. Just a few drops on wrists and forehead can help you ground and centre yourself in a stressful situation!

Thoughts? Questions? Have you used peppermint oil or peppermint oil-based products before? Let us know in the comment section below!

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Hat Mudaka says:

    The scientific figure taken from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25584150/ is totally abused – it is out of context. In that study healthy (no hair loss) juvenile (“teeneger”) mice were _shaven_. This does not seem to be a reasonable model for human hair loss, rather for what happens when you shave.

    • thehairfuel says:

      Hey Hat – I can see where you are coming from, and I disagree. The study measures the rate of re-growth, and if you look at the figure 3 – mice who had peppermint oil applied to their shaven coats, have hair follicles thicker than the ones treated with Minoxidil. In addition to its better performance for hair re-growth, peppermint oil also doesn’t have the side effects which Minoxidil is known to have 🙂

  • nida says:

    This is good site and this is very helpful and thanks for sharing this information

  • Arshad Mahmood says:

    I yet to make peppermint essential oil from fresh leaf of mint
    Is it suitable for scalp? I mean for bald head

    • thehairfuel says:

      Hey Arshad, the usual store-bought peppermint essential oil (mentha piperita oil) will work. Would suggest to combine dermarolling for scalp that’s been balding for some time. It will take time to regrow however – so patience & perseverance will be your best friends 🙂

  • Mike says:

    I bought peppermint oil but notice it’s Mentha Arvensis. And not Mentha Piperita. I didn’t realize peppermint oil is sold under two different kinds. I’m trying to read about the difference and it seems it has a different amount of Menthol. Sadly I bought two big bottles of Mentha Arvensis. Do you have a preference?

    • thehairfuel says:

      Hey Mike – thanks for your question – an excellent question! Mentha Arvensis naturally has more menthol in it, so technically should be more potent in its vasodilatory qualities than Mentha Piperita. However because of its higher menthol content, Mentha Arvensis often gets dementholised artificially: the extracted menthol from it going into other products / industries (balms, toothpastes etc). If you can get pure Mentha Arvensis that wasn’t dementholised – get that one. But if you’re unsure then I suggest going for Mentha Piperita, or just buy menthol in bulk and dilute it in no more than 5% solution for the topical application 🙂

  • Hema says:

    HI,
    I am greatly surprised by the benefits of Peppermint oil. I want to use it to treat headache as well as for hair growth.
    What proportion would work better if the Peppermint oil is mixed with coconut oil?
    Thanks and Regards,
    Hema

    • thehairfuel says:

      hey Hema – thanks for your question – in terms of peppermint oil applied topically on scalp – 10-15 drops would go a long way per 1.5-2tbsp of oil. Just ensure that the coconut oil is in the liquid form rather than solid. Headache treatment will render itself from inhaling peppermint oil as it’s applied to your scalp – more than the topical application itself. The topical vasodilatory action affects the subcutaneous (i.e. just under the skin) blood flow, rather than internal tension (as it is the case with headaches).

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