What is Menthol?
Menthol is an organic alcohol. It can be isolated from natural mentha species like Mentha piperita or Mentha arvensis. It is produced in the form of crystals by quick freezing of mint oil. The crystals are waxy, clear to white in color, solid at room temperature and melt a bit on a slightly higher temperature. It has a cool minty odor.
Use & Benefits:
From a medicinal point of view, menthol crystals have pain-relieving properties. So, it is used as topical analgesic medicine to relieve minor pains and sprains. Apart from relieving pain, it also provides a cooling sensation on the skin. It does not cool the skin directly by reducing temperature (just like ice does), but it blocks the calcium ions flow at the nerve endings beneath the skin’s epidermal layer. This way it does not let the hot and painful sensation pass and reach to brain. This property is useful for sunscreen and other sun protection products as well because it gives a calming effect to itchy and painful overexposure effect of sunlight. It is also used as a skin protectant against insect bites like honey bees. It is used in formulations of pain-relieving balms, aftershaves, as a flavoring agent in products like toothpaste and mouthwashes. In perfumery, menthol is used as a fragrance. It is interestingly used in a lip care product for temporary plumping action of menthol. It is used in preparations of balms, creams, cooling gels, hair care and personal care products.