When consumers think of menthol, a cool, refreshing feeling of fresh mint immediately comes to mind, and with good reason: menthol is a derivative of corn mint (Mentha arvensis) or other various mint plants. It causes the skin to react in much the same manner as capsaicin, except cold receptors are activated rather than heat receptors. Since neither menthol nor capsaicin physically changes the temperature of the area they touch, they can be used in ice or hot packs, or together in products such as Icy Hot. Beauty care chemical supplier, Bell Chem, explains this versatile chemical:
- Menthol crystallizes at -22°C; the new product is known as menthol crystals. These crystals readily dissolve in alcohol or water. Because they have been concentrated, only a minute amount of menthol crystals are necessary for most applications.
- Menthol crystals activate kappa-opioid receptors in the body, and thereby act as an analgesic, a substance that relieves pain. Voltage-sensitive sodium channels also react to menthol; menthol crystals reduce neural activity by raising the action potential in a neuron. Muscles move less frequently and experience less pain, which is why it is often used as an antispasmodic during surgical procedures involving smooth muscles.
- Menthol crystals are an ingredient in many cosmetics because of their soothing coolness and brisk, refreshing smell. They are found in toothpaste and mouthwash to combat hallitosis, shampoo and conditioner promoting “natural ingredients”, perfumes with a rose fragrance since it enhances that specific floral odor, and shaving cream to alleviate razor burn.
- The medicinal properties of menthol crystals place it among analgesics and antipruritics in pharmaceutical products. Salves, lip balms, medicated creams, sore throat sprays and lozenges, decongestants, liniments, compresses, cooling gels and medicated oils all contain menthol crystals.
Call the beauty care chemical supplier professionals at Bell Chem at (407) 339-2355 (BELL) to learn more about menthol crystals or any of our wide variety of chemicals for health, the home, or industrial use. You can contact us online.