Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a plant native to Europe and has been widely used as a carminative and gastric stimulant worldwide. This plant also has been used in cosmetic formulations as a fragrance component and skin conditioning agent. This study investigated the effect of peppermint oil on hair growth in C57BL/6 mice. The animals were randomized into 4 groups based on different topical applications: saline (SA), jojoba oil (JO), 3% minoxidil (MXD), and 3% peppermint oil (PEO). The hair growth effects of the 4-week topical applications were evaluated in terms of hair growth, histological analysis, enzymatic activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and gene expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), known bio-markers for the enhanced hair growth. Of the 4 experimental groups, PEO group showed the most prominent hair growth effects; a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth. ALP activity and IGF-1 expression also significantly increased in PEO group. Body weight gain and food efficiency were not significantly different between groups. These results suggest that PEO induces a rapid anagen stage and could be used for a practical agent for hair growth without change of body weight gain and food efficiency.
Keywords: Alkaline phosphatase; Hair follicle; Hair growth; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Peppermint oil.