What is it?
Menthol is a fragrance used in a variety of products such as personal care products, flavorings, essential oils in perfumes, and in industrial use.
How can I avoid it?
Avoidance requires reading the product labels, package inserts, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and on occasion, direct communication with the manufacturer.
The avoidance of fragrances and flavoring agents such as menthol can be difficult, since so many everyday products contain these substances. One should use only fragrance-free cosmetic and household products. “Unscented” products may contain low levels of a fragrance to cover up an undesirable odor and also should be avoided. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” do not assure that the product is truly free of fragrance.
Since fragrances are complex mixtures of many ingredients, an individual may tolerate one fragrance but not another. A trial-and-error method of avoiding a fragrance allergen in a product can be performed by applying the product to the forearm in the same small area twice a day for a week. If no dermatitis develops, the product may likely be used safely.
Direct contact with foods or products containing Menthol may cause symptoms including burning, irritation and redness. Direct contact may occur on the skin, lips or mouth. It is possible, but rare, that ingestion of this substance could cause generalized symptoms such as itching or redness of the skin.
• Liquors and mixed drinks
• Perfumes/Colognes/After-shaves/Toilet water
• Skin care products/Cosmetics
- Body washes and soaks
- After sun gel
- Hair tonics and lotions
- Hair colorants/“Permanents-relaxers”
- Lip balm/Conditioner
- Nail polish remover
- Shaving products
• Medications, topical, prescription, and over the counter such as
- Analgesic patches
- Cough drops and lozenges
- Creams, ointments, solutions
- Foot and other powders
- Nasal decongestants
- Herbal remedies, including traditional Chinese medications
- Throat spray
- Wound dressings
- Anti-itch topical medication
- Sunburn cream
- Razor burn treatment
• Household products
- Air fresheners/Aromatherapy/Potpourri
- Cleaning products/Soaps/Detergents (A preferred household cleaner is dilute white vinegar.)
- Furniture polish
- Laundry care (detergent, softeners)
• Oral care products as a flavoring
- Cough mixtures and cough drops
- Throat tablets and lozenges
• Foods, candies, gums, beverages, various, as a flavoring or spice
Other names for and components of Menthol:
- (1a,2b,5a)-5-menthyl 1-2(1 methylethyl)-cyclohexanol 3-p-menthanol
- 3-p menthol
- Corn mint
- Peppermint camphor
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances: