Primarily used in the field of aromatherapy, peppermint essential oil is also incorporated into skincare for its numerous skin benefits. Discover what there is to know about the properties and benefits of peppermint essential oil for the skin.
Benefits and properties of peppermint essential oil on the skin
- Peppermint essential oil to reduce irritations
- A refreshing effect of peppermint essential oil
- The antibacterial properties of peppermint essential oil
- Antifungal activity of peppermint essential oil
- The antiviral activity of peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil to reduce irritations.
The menthol found inpeppermint essential oil inhibits the production of inflammatory molecules such as prostaglandin PGE-2, interleukin-IL-1-β, and leukotriene LTB-4. It can also block calcium channels involved in the production of cytokines and the transmission of pain signals. This has the effect of reducing the sensation of heat and the pain that can be generated by the inflammatory response. Menthone, another compound in peppermint essential oil, has significantly inhibited the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint essential oil is beneficial for soothing itching and skin irritations.
A refreshing effect of peppermint essential oil.
Thanks to its high concentration of menthol (30 to 55%), peppermint essential oil exhibits thermoregulatory properties. When applied to the area affected by inflammation, the menthol stimulates the skin's thermo-receptors, thereby inducing profound analgesia, that is, significant pain relief. The targeted receptors are the TRPM8 receptors, which are sensitive to cold temperatures and play a crucial role in inflammation, pain, and itching (pruritus) processes. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of this property, noting a decrease in body temperature of 2 to 4 °C at the application site. Peppermint oil thus provides a sensation of coolness and relief on the skin.
The antibacterial properties of peppermint essential oil.
A study has highlighted the significant antibacterial activity of menthol against both Gram - and Gram + bacteria. The mechanism is not yet clearly elucidated. This property would come from the menthol, present in this essential oil, which has the ability to disrupt the lipid fraction of the plasma membrane, leading to an alteration in permeability and a leakage of essential intracellular materials.
This property requires further studies to elucidate its mechanism of action. However, it demonstrates a particularly interesting potential for the treatment of certain skin conditions linked to a bacterial origin, such as acne.
Antifungal activity of peppermint essential oil.
Some of the active substances found in the formulation of peppermint essential oil also exhibit antifungal properties. Indeed, a study has shown that menthol, in combination with menthone, has a synergistic fungicidal action against Rhizopus and Mucor, as well as a significant suppression of the growth of Sclerotinia. They interfere with the fungal cell membrane, disrupting their structure and causing a leakage of essential substances, which leads to the death of the fungal cells.
The properties of peppermint essential oil may prove particularly beneficial in the treatment of certain skin issues, such as dandruff. However, further studies are required to confirm their specific effectiveness against the fungi responsible for its occurrence.
The antiviral activity of peppermint essential oil.
A study has revealed that peppermint essential oil could potentially exhibit antiviral activity due to the presence of menthol it contains. This activity was observed on cells infected by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). To inhibit 50% of the formation of herpes simplex virus plaques, a concentration of peppermint essential oil of 0.002% and 0.0008% was required for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. However, the exact mechanism of action was not clearly elucidated in this study.
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KAMATOU G. P. P. & al. Menthol: A simple monoterpene with remarkable biological properties. Phytochemistry (2013).
KEHILI S. & al. Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-nociceptive drug. European Journal of Biological Research (2020).
CHEN X. & al. A Natural Plant Ingredient, Menthone, Regulates T Cell Subtypes and Lowers Pro-inflammatory Cytokines of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Natural Products (2022).