Peppermint oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Hair follicle inflammation is strongly associated with hair loss and in many cases, reducing scalp inflammation can significantly increase hair growth. What’s more, peppermint oil has been shown to increase the growth factor IGF-1, which has been shown to increase hair growth (see research results below).
Of the 4 experimental groups, PEO [(peppermint oil)] group showed the most prominent hair growth effects; a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth. ALP activity and IGF-1 expression also significantly increased in PEO group.
Also from the same study:
These results suggest that PEO induces a rapid anagen stage and could be used for a practical agent for hair growth
Peppermint oil comes from peppermint, a native plant in Europe and is frequently used for various therapeutic applications like oils, shampoos and lotions. It has been used to relieve flatulence and as a gastric stimulant. Peppermint oil comes from a family of liquids known as essential oils, which basically means liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. They contain the ‘essence’ of the plant’s fragrance and are frequently used in aromatherapy and perfume production.
Anti-inflammation: a key to hair loss prevention
Peppermint is usually known for its main ingredient, menthol, which has been proven to have a distinct cooling and refreshing sensation which has been used as a treatment to counter itchiness in humans, whether it is ingested or applied to the skin (Bromma et al., 1995) as well as analgesic (pain relief) properties (Galeotti et al., 2002). As an ingredient in treating hair loss, peppermint is extremely useful in soothing the scalp as an anti-inflammation substance, treating inflamed hair follicles which can prevent optimal hair growth. A study in 2014 (Oh, Park & Kim, 2014) recently compared the effectiveness of peppermint treatment with 4 other treatment options (including minoxidil, the recommended treatment for hair loss) and found that peppermint exhibited significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth compared with other treatments when done on mice. This has confirmed numerous anecdotal evidence of the usefulness of peppermint oil in combating hair loss.
How/why does reducing inflammation increase hair growth?
Peppermint oil contains compounds such as menthol, menthone, and limonene, which have been studied for their potential anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds may help modulate the body’s inflammatory responses.
Peppermint oil may inhibit the production or activity of certain inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins and cytokines. Prostaglandins, in particular, play a key role in promoting inflammation, and reducing their production can help dampen the inflammatory response. It’s known that inhibitting PGD2 and increasing PGE2 can increase hair growth.
Inflammatory cytokines like transforming growth factors are thought to cause the hair to transition from the growth phase of the hair grow cycle to the shedding phase. By reducing the inflammatory cytokines we may be able to prevent the transition and keep the hair in the growth phase for longer, therefore reducing shedding.
Besides directly impacting the scalp, peppermint oil also helps stimulate hair growth by increasing blood circulation around the scalp and cleaning the area around the scalp; this helps prevent scalp buildup (sweat, sebum, dead skin etc) which can lead to irritation and inflammation. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties which can help prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria on the scalp, which are common causes of dandruff.
I’m amazed at the study results on peppermint oil for hair loss. According to the study cited below, peppermint oil was more effective than Minoxidil:
PEO: peppermint oil. SA: saline solution. JO: Jojoba oil. MXD: Minoxidil.
From week 2, PEO grew hair more rapidly than SA and JO. At week 3, PEO remarkably promoted hair growth than SA and JO, even greater than MXD. At week 4, PEO showed hair growth about 92%, whereas MXD about 55%
Read nextWhats the best shampoo for hair loss?
I am truly amazed by the results of peppermint oil, especially as it is such a cheap, safe treatment, with no reported side effects. Take a look at this chart:
Mixing Minoxidil with peppermint oil
To get even better results, try buying a liquid Minoxidil solution, like a cheap Kirkland 5% Minoxidil product and add 10ml peppermint oil to the bottle. Minoxidil increases the growth factor VEGF, which keeps the hair in the growth phase longer. It’s also though to open potassium ion channels, which seems to increase hair growth further.
If you’re going to use a peppermint oil treatment you’ll get much better results if you use it in combination with Minoxidil.
- Bromma, B., Scharein, E., Darsow, U. & Ring, J. (1995) Effects of menthol and cold on histamine-induced itch and skin reactions in man. Neuroscience Letters. 187 (3), 157-160.
- Galeotti, N., Mannelli, L. D. C., Mazzanti, G., Bartolini, A. & Ghelardini, C. (2002) Menthol: a natural analgesic compound. Neuroscience Letters. 322 (3), 145-148.
- Oh, J. Y., Park, M. A. & Kim, Y. C. (2014) Peppermint Oil Promotes Hair Growth without Toxic Signs. Toxicological Research. 30 (4), 297-304.