I’m currently suffering the consequences of allowing over-manipulation on my hair. I lost a section of my edges as a result of wearing tight hairstyles. I’m in the process of trying to regrow my edges after researching on the best way to go about it. A number of people advised me to use peppermint oil. I know applying peppermint oil directly on the scalp isn’t recommended, so I sought out to find out more about this essential oil.
What is peppermint oil?
Peppermint oil is an essential oil obtained from the peppermint plant which is known by the Latin name mentha piperita.
The oil has a high menthol content and also contains menthone and carboxyl esters, specifically menthyl acetate.
It includes small amounts of additional compounds such as pulegone, limonene, pinene, and caryophyllene.
As an essential oil, peppermint oil is extracted and concentrated in a way that is intended to preserve its scent and flavor.
It can take up to two hundred pounds of harvested peppermint plant to produce one pound of the essential oil.
Uses of peppermint oil
Peppermint is an essential oil that has long been used as a topical application for relief from skin irritations and muscle pain.
It’s even used to deal with headaches.
The oil is also used in many shampoos, soaps, and skin creams. It adds a pleasant natural scent to them and to provide a cooling tingly sensation on the skin.
Peppermint oil is also used as a massage oil. It’s used by adding a few drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or jojoba oil.
As an extract, it is sometimes used in small quantities while cooking to add flavor and is also used as a dietary supplement.
Peppermint oil is a natural pesticide and it is known to repel mosquitoes and many other insects.
The oil is also being studied for its health benefits.
Some of these benefits include the use of peppermint oil as a short-term treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and its use in promoting hair growth.
Is it advisable to apply peppermint oil directly on the scalp?
Because peppermint oil is highly concentrated, it’s not advisable to apply it directly to your scalp. It can burn your scalp or skin when used alone.
The most recommended way to use it would be to mix it with a carrier oil before using it on your scalp.
I’ve personally been mixing peppermint oil with Jamaican black castor oil (popularly referred to as JBCO in the natural hair community).
I use this mixture to do my scalp massages and I have no issues.
I’m proud to say that after a few weeks of applying that mixture to my scalp every day, my long lost edges have finally resurfaced!
I read a piece somewhere where the writer claimed that applying peppermint oil to your hair and skin is fine as long as you don’t use too much of it.
They were adamant that a few drops of the essential oil spread thinly would do no harm.
That is just not true. There was an incident of a lady who burnt her scalp after using peppermint oil alone. It was not pretty.
Solution after applying too much peppermint oil on the scalp
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve directly applied too much peppermint on your scalp and it starts burning, there are a few things you can do.
The first thing to do is to look for any carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Apply the carrier oil on the scalp and massage for a few minutes. Wash off the oil mixture.
If after a few days you haven’t experienced any relief, the next thing you can try is oatmeal. Yes, oatmeal.
Place some oatmeal in a bag, soak it for a while so as to get some oat milk.
Pour the oat milk on the burnt area on the scalp. This will have a soothing effect.
Oats are recommended for this use because they contain alkaloids that significantly reduce the inflammatory response.
Can you use peppermint oil for traction alopecia?
While more research is needed on peppermint oil’s ability to stimulate hair growth in humans, there are indications that this essential oil helps to some extent.
Tight braids, ponytails, and high puffs were the cause of my traction alopecia. My edges really took a beating.
They have, however, grown after consistently massaging a mixture of peppermint oil and Jamaican black castor oil.
Some people might argue that it’s probably the black castor oil that is doing the magic, but I think they’re both contributing to the growth of the edges.
The menthol in peppermint oil acts as a vasodilator, which means that it promotes blood flow.
Some of the more common types of hair loss happen as a result of the blood flow to the hair follicles being cut off or restricted, so improving that flow can help stop or slow the loss of hair and improve hair growth.
The increased blood flow also improves the health of your scalp which can help you with other scalp related health issues.
The benefits of peppermint oil for promoting hair growth have been the focus of some scientific research with researchers in 2014 testing the oil on mice to see if it could cure baldness and help slow hair loss.
The scientists found that the oil had some effect on hair growth in the mice without causing any noticeable negative effects.
This effect is likely to also apply to humans since it involves stimulating the flow of blood which provides nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
Can you use peppermint oil for male pattern baldness?
The most common cause of male pattern baldness is genetics.
If you have a family history of baldness, there is a chance that you’ll also go bald at some point.
Male pattern baldness – also known as androgenic alopecia – begins at the temples or the crown of the head.
Your hair strands will begin to weaken and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands of hair.
Eventually, the growth cycle for each hair strand ends and no new hair grows in its place.
I’m afraid to say that an essential oil such as peppermint oil cannot help in addressing male pattern baldness.
There are other options that can address this type of hair loss such as these tips from Men’s Health.
Peppermint oil and coconut oil mix for healthy hair
Mixing peppermint oil and a carrier oil helps to spread it more evenly on your scalp.
This essential oil gives your scalp a tingly feeling with a cooling effect that can be fairly pleasant.
It also gives your hair a nice minty smell.
A common carrier oil that is usually mixed with peppermint oil is coconut oil.
Mixing the two makes it easier to spread over your scalp, and the coconut oil used in the mix also has benefits for your scalp and hair.
Coconut oil contains many useful fatty acids and is believed to help your hair keep its natural protein.
It can also help replace the oils stripped from your hair when you wash it. This makes the hair more flexible and less likely to break or split.
However, some people report issues with coconut oil used on dry, coarse, and brittle hair.
There is a reason coconut oil isn’t compatible with some people’s hair.
It’s believed that the carrier oil causes protein build-up which inhibits the hair from absorbing moisture. This can dry it out and make it more brittle.
So if you encounter this problem when mixing coconut and peppermint oil try replacing the coconut oil with another carrier oil and see if that improves the situation.
Jojoba oil is also frequently mixed with peppermint oil. It has additional benefits such as acting as a skin moisturizer and providing oils to the scalp that can benefit hair follicles.
This oil is non-comedogenic. This means that it doesn’t clog the pores in your scalp the way some other oils may do.
It is also considered to be beneficial in treating dandruff.
Side effects of using peppermint oil on your hair
You should avoid getting peppermint oil in your eyes or on other sensitive areas.
This is because its burning effect can be magnified when it is applied to sensitive body tissues.
Before using the oil, you should test for any allergic reaction by applying a small amount of the oil on the back of your palm.
It’s also best to not use peppermint oil on babies and infants because the menthol in the oil can sometimes lead to breathing problems.
Recommended peppermint oil brands
Peppermint oil is packed with a lot of benefits. If you’re in need of a hair growth plan after suffering from traction alopecia, you know where to begin.
This essential oil provides a natural way for you to deal with thinning hair. It can slow, stop, and reverse hair thinning caused by over-manipulation of our mane.
The oil also makes your hair feel minty fresh; not forgetting its numerous skin and health benefits.