Skin is your first line of defense against possible infection, and connected to both your self-esteem and well-being. Peppermint oil can help relieve problems with unhealthy skin, acne, soreness, and itching when applied topically. It also helps tone the skin by getting rid of red blotches, and enlivening dull skin.
Peppermint oil contains menthol which is good for your skin, and has a cooling effect. It is most commonly used in soap, shampoos, and toothpaste. The oil contains several minerals and nutrients including; iron, manganese, magnesium, folate, calcium, potassium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Many of these vitamins, minerals, and nutrients increase the effective use of peppermint for your skin. Vitamin C, combined with the cooling effect of peppermint, helps counter the effects of sun exposure. According to a study at the University of Michigan, the use of Vitamin A helps get rid of wrinkles and lines on the face, and relieve acne.
Peppermint originally was cultivated in the Mediterranean regions, but is widely and easily grown in Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The most common peppermint is a cross between watermint and spearmint. The oil is extracted from steam distillation of dried or fresh leaves harvested right before the plant flowers.
Peppermint oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine and helps to stimulate your mind and enhance your mental focus, and is at the same time soothing. It is also soothing and cooling when applied to your skin. It is often used in balms because of the herb's ability to increase blood flow, and stimulate nerves. Since peppermint helps to increase blood flow, it also improves dull skin. It helps to lessen red and blotchy skin, and get rid of acne. Peppermint can act as a pain killer when massaged into your skin. Rub it into a specific spot to reduce soreness, or add to a hot bath.
Peppermint can also prevent or relieve many skin problems. It's antibacterial properties helps to relieve athlete's foot when mixed with a base oil or aloe vera. If you suffer from a cold sore, add peppermint oil repeatedly to the spot. Use peppermint soaps on a regular basis to benefit from the antiseptic qualities that help prevent bacterial and skin infections.
There are many soaps that contain peppermint oil because of the benefit for skin. Mix peppermint oil with a base oil like grape seed oil, or jojoba, and apply it to your skin to get the same effect. Aloe vera makes a good base, as well. If you are suffering from athlete's foot, massage the oil into your foot and leave it on overnight. You can also reduce cellulite lines by rubbing a mixture of peppermint oil mixed with a base into the effected area. Apply to your skin daily, especially during warm days for the cooling effect, to clean and prevent skin infections and blemishes.
Peppermint oil can sometimes irritate the skin, especially if you are allergic. If you are pregnant don't use this herb. Avoid using the oil on young children who may have more sensitive skin. You can test for allergies by rubbing the oil into a small patch of skin. If your skin becomes irritated, don't continue to use the oil.
The National Institute of Health does comprehensive research on various types of herbal remedies and alternative health treatments.
The New York Botanical Garden publishes information about useful herbs for skin care in the BioOne online journal.
Aveda Rituals: A Guide to Natural Health and Beauty; Horst Rechelbacher; 1999
Pure Scents for Relaxation; Joannah Metcalfe; 1999
U.S. Institute of Health