The Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Skincare
Cultivated and enjoyed for thousands of years, there is perhaps nothing more invigorating and stimulating to the senses than peppermint. With a powerful fragrance and offering an icy sensation, this plant, along with its oil, has become one of the most widely-used ingredients worldwide.
Peppermint oil is a natural source of menthol, which has been proven to relieve discomfort and cool the skin of irritation. It’s also synergetic, which means it works well with most other ingredients – often required due to the fact its potency needs to be tempered by carrier oils.
Peppermint is great for waking up a tired and dull complexion, as well as for balancing oil secretion and unclogging pores. Also encouraging blood flow circulation, this not-so-secret ingredient is one that can provide a boost to your beauty and skincare routine.
These are just a few of the remarkable properties of peppermint oil that we will delve into, but before we do that, let’s take a look at peppermint and its history.
The Origin of Peppermint
Mentha x Piperita a.k.a. peppermint is a perennial hybrid mint (a cross between water mint and spearmint) of the genus Mentha within the family Lamiaceae. Indigenous to the Middle East and Europe, the plant is now widely and easily cultivated in many regions worldwide.
It has long been recognised for its medicinal uses and its qualities can be accurately described as:
- analgesic and anesthetic
According to the ancient Egyptians’ oldest surviving medical text (Eber Papyrus), the herb was used as a remedy for indigestion and headaches. As a matter of fact, dried peppermint leaves were found in secret chambers in the pyramids, dating all the way back to 1000 B.C.
The herb was not only valued by the Egyptians but also by the ancient Greeks and Romans for the same health benefits.
How Peppermint is Cultivated
Peppermint oil is extracted through a steam distillation process of fresh or partially dried peppermint leaves that are harvested right before the plant flowers. The principal organic compounds found in peppermint oil – menthol and menthone – provide the oil with all its unique benefits.
Menthyl acetate is the compound responsible for the minty aroma and flavour, while menthol provides the cool sensation of the herb. It typically contains about 45% menthol, which is why it should only be used sparingly and always diluted by another carrier oil – such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or hemp oil.
The oil is most commonly applied through a topical agent such as creams, balms, and lotions or diffused for inhalation to help against stress, headaches and nausea (to mention but a few).
Along with the products already mentioned, you can find peppermint in:
- Perfumes and colognes
- Bath & Spa
- Chap-sticks and glosses
So, as you can see, it’s something that’s used widely in a variety of different cleansing cosmetic products, but what problems can it help with? In the next section we look at exactly that.
At NaturallyCBD we use peppermint in the following products:
Skin Decongestion and a Reduction in Redness
Is your skin prone to acne, blackheads or unwanted flare-ups of redness? Well, two of the most notable skincare properties of peppermint oil are its soothing and cleansing qualities for irritated and congested tissue. Also, due to its antimicrobial properties, the oil is proven to diminish acne-forming bacteria on the skin as well as blackheads and other congested skin conditions.
This is further boosted by its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the irritated area and reduce the overall level of redness. These benefits make it ideal for skin clarifying products, such as soaps, after-shave, toners and cleansers.
Providing Balance to Your Skin’s pH Level
Peppermint oil is also known to balance your skin’s pH levels by reducing the production of natural oils while preserving essential hydration. Although it is suitable for all skin types, it is especially useful for combination and oily skin that prefer a natural alternative to synthetic chemicals.
When used correctly and continuously, this can help reduce clogged pores and heal irritated tissue caused by acne.
Promoting Youthful Radiance
If you sometimes feel like your skin looks dull, tired and missing your natural youthful glow, peppermint oil can help. It’s for this reason why it’s an active ingredient in many anti-ageing cosmetics and products made to clarify the skin. As well as providing stimulating sensation, it does the same for your skin by promoting better circulation.
Its astringent properties tighten up your pores, minimises wrinkles and gives you that youthful and radiant complexion.
Effective at Treating Sunburn
Because of its high menthol component, peppermint oil offers effective relief for acute sunburn. It also contains folates, vitamin C, and omega 3 fatty acids, which can aid in resistance to UV light and repairing and facilitating new skin growth.
Healing and Revitalising Lips
Peppermint oil has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that are excellent for treating sunburnt, chapped and dry lips. It is an active component in many chap-sticks and glosses as it soothes as well as helping to stimulate circulation.
In addition, if dabbed sparingly or used with your favourite lip gloss, it is also a great alternative for plumping up your lips, as it creates a “swelling effect” making them appear fuller and more hydrated.
Promoting Hair Growth
A big part of your beauty regimen is not just about bringing life to your skin but also your hair – to reinvigorate and nurture growth. The high content of menthol found in the oil makes it vasodilating – a fancy word that means it improves blood flow and circulation to your scalp.
In many cases, this oil has been used to remedy hair loss amongst both men and women.
Relieving Itchy Skin
Dryness, bug bites, rashes, eczema and dandruff. These are some of the many conditions that can make our skin itch and lead to wounds, scarring and even infections.
Peppermint oil has both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that make them effective against infections and soothing irritated skin. Its cooling properties reduce the itching sensation and can even relieve pain caused by skin wounds because of its analgesic properties.
Cleansing, Soothing & Invigorating – The Essence of Peppermint
Peppermint is a time-honoured natural ingredient that does much to cleanse, soothe and invigorate the skin – it’s popularity would not have endured for so long if this were not the case.
So, why not include some in your regime and experience the benefits for yourself. That said, if you haven’t used it before, it is advisable to test a small patch of skin to ensure that you have no allergy to it.
Once you’re happy that you don’t have a reaction – which is rare – you’re free to enjoy everything that it offers to the health of your skin.