The Impact Of Body Surface Area Exposure To Menthol On Human Temperature Regulation And Perception
TitleThe Impact Of Body Surface Area Exposure To Menthol On Human Temperature Regulation And Perception
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AbstractMenthol is an active ingredient derived from mint commonly used in sports medicine practices to treat injuries. Although known for its capacity to cause cool sensations without actually cooling the skin temperature, menthol’s effect on skin blood flow has not been clearly classified. Some research has shown menthol to increase skin blood flow (vasodilation), while others show decreases (vasoconstriction). It is hypothesized that body surface area (BSA) exposed to menthol influences blood flow. The purpose of this study was to test if large BSA exposures induce vasoconstriction while smaller exposures induce vasodilation. Twelve participants were placed into a controlled environment with a specific amount of their BSA (left middle finger, left arm, left upper/lower body) exposed to a menthol or placebo gel for 30 minutes. Thermal sensation, skin temperature, and skin blood flow were measured throughout testing. Vasodilation was not observed for small BSA. Participants exposed to large BSA experienced enhanced vasoconstriction and felt significantly cooler without change in skin temperature; partly supporting the hypothesis. Research supports menthol activation of cold receptors in the skin and causing cold sensations. Data also provides support that BSA exposure to menthol influences skin blood flow.