Hair loss treatment: Peppermint essential oil trumps minoxidil in hair-boosting trial

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The Department of Public Health, at Keimyung University in Korea, examined the hair-boosting effects of Mentha piperita plant – i.e. peppermint. Here are the details of their trial.

It’s noted how minoxidil was originally created as medication to treat hypertension.

With this in mind, peppermint is primarily regarded as “an excellent gastric stimulant”.

However, as with minoxidil, research can uncover other possible benefits of natural and man-made substances.

“Peppermint has been reported to show anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal activities,” stated the researchers.

In addition, peppermint has “strong antioxidant activity, antiallergenic and antitumour actions”.

For their investigation, the aim was to observe the effects of peppermint oil on hair loss compared to minoxidil.

In their animal study, mice were separated into four groups based on different topical applications.

Group one
Saline (a mixture of salt and water)

Group two
Jojoba oil

Group three
Three percent minoxidil

Group four
Peppermint oil

Over the four-week trial, researchers examined hair growth by measuring dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.

The gene expression of “insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)” was also recorded.

IGF-1 is a “known bio-markers for enhanced hair growth,” hence its inclusion in the study.

Of the four experimental groups, peppermint oil “showed the most prominent hair growth effects”.

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“IGF-1 expression also significantly increased in the peppermint oil group,” the researchers stated.

“These results suggest that peppermint oil induces a rapid anagen stage and could be used for a practical agent for hair growth.”

Grow Gorgeous – the hair care specialists – outline three stages of the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, telogen.

Anagen – the hair growth stage

“The cells in the hair bulb divide rapidly creating new hair growth,” explained Grow Gorgeous.

Hair actively grows from the roots for an average of two to seven years before hair follicles become dormant” – then it enters the next stage.

Catagen – the transition stage

Only lasting “two to three weeks,” in the catagen phase “hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply” – when it enters the final stage.

Telogen – the resting stage

“This phase begins with a resting period,” explained Grow Gorgeous. The hair rests in the root while new hair begins to grow beneath it.

“This phase lasts for around three months,” asserted the hair care specialist, followed by the hair falling out.”

In regards to the study, it’s worth highlighting that two percent minoxidil was used.

Minoxidil shampoos, for example, can contain up to five percent minoxidil.

Another trial – including five percent minoxidil – would help support the conclusion of the researchers.

Moreover, this was an animal trial and the results are limited to their sample size.

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