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What-it-does: soothing


Menthol needs no introduction: it's the thing that causes the cooling sensation so well-known both from cosmetic products as well as a bunch of other things like chocolate, chewing gum, toothpaste or cigarette. It's a natural compound that comes from the essential oil of Mentha species (peppermint oil contains 40-50% menthol) and it gives them their typical minty smell and flavor.

As for skincare, menthol seems to be a mixed bag. Apart from the cool cooling sensation (that might last up to 70 mins!), it also has painkilling, itch reducing, antibacterial, antifungal and even penetration enhancing properties. On the other hand, it also seems to act as a skin irritant that increases trans-epidermal water loss (the water that evaporates from the outer layer of the skin) and thus contributes to drying out the skin.

Show me some proof

  • Phytochemistry 96 (2013) 15–25, Menthol: A simple monoterpene with remarkable biological properties
  • Archives for Dermatological Research 288(5-6):245-8 · May 199, Effect of topically applied menthol on thermal, pain and itch sensations and biophysical properties of the skin

Products with Menthol

Maybelline Baby Lips Dr Rescue® Medicated Lip Balm Snake Brand Prickly Heat Cooling Powder Blistex Lip Medex Blistex Lip Medex Denorex Extra Strength 2 In 1 Medicated Shampoo With Conditioner Ecohair Sdn Bhd Sensitive Soothes Therapy Shampoo Muji Lip Cream Spf 20 Lador Dermatical Scalp Tonic NOAH Treatment For Weak Hair Rohto Mentholatum AD Milky Lotion Badger Company Herbal Hair Oil For Dry Scalp Banish Fighter Gel Clinique For Men™ Face Soap With Dish Davines Naturaltech Energizing Superactive Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel Indie Lee I-Recover Mind & Body Gel JorgObé Scrub Mask Laca Criogel Reafirmante OMI Menturm Medical Lip Stick Menthol SKINVOLVE Body Boost Gel eve lom Kiss Mix Lip Treatment Clean & Clear Essentials Deep Cleaning Astringent for Sensitive Skin Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 Davines Naturaltech Energizing Seasonal Superactive ENN Pre Game - Pre Primer Toner Good Pharma Dermatology (Singapore & Ireland) Suu Balm King of shaves Super Cooling Shave Oil Le Labo Camphor Balm Pozilan Niacinamide 5% Professional Face Serum RubyKisses Hydrating Lip Oil Treatment Gloss skinChemists Rose Quartz Lip Plump Chilly Intimate Gel Wash Davines Naturaltech Energizing Gel Dermatus Beatriz - Loção Facial Hr Dr s wong Bioderm Ointment Dr. Bronner's Hemp Peppermint Pure Castile Soap Eskinol Classic White Facial Deep Cleanser Forever Aloe Heat Lotion Icono Megalip Mentholatum Acnes Medicated Powder Lotion Nioxin Night Density Rescue Nivea Men Deep Clean Face Wash Nivea Men Fresh & Light Gel - Hydra Max Noxzema Triple Clean Anti Blemish Astringent Pantene Pro-V Miracles Lift&Volume Shampoo Prodermic Mega Tonic Rohto Mentholatum Melano CC Concentration Measures Toner SALILEX Pads Sarah Skincare Anti Acne Cleansing Foam Badger Company Navigator Class Man Care After-Shave Face Oil