Peppermint, scientifically known as Mentha piperita, is a perennial herb indigenous to Europe and the Middle East. Now grown throughout North America, this water mint-spearmint hybrid provides a concentrated essential oil that accentuates the herb’s characteristically sharp menthol fragrance and flavor. Commercially, peppermint oil uses include a wide variety of markets, spanning throughout cosmeceuticals, foods, personal hygiene products, and pharmaceuticals. Topical preparations of peppermint oil include aromatherapy, mouthwashes, toothpastes, and cosmetics.
Uses for peppermint oil can also serve as a fragrance component for cosmetic and skin care products. However, studies have found peppermint oil to provide a cooling sensation that may help to induce a soothing effect for uncomfortable sensitive skin. 1 Peppermint oil consists primarily of menthol and menthone, followed by constituents such as pulegone, menthofuran, and limone. It can be found in rinse-off formulations in concentrations of 3% or less, or leave-on formulations for 0.2% or less. 2 Lastly, due to its lipophilic nature and non-toxicity in low dilutions, peppermint oil is well-equipped to penetrate the skin, making it a viable topical therapeutic. 3