Frequently Asked Questions about Nicomenthyl

Relationships with Niacin and Menthol

NO, there is no functional relationship between Menthyl nicotinate and Nicotine. Niacin or Vitamin B3 was originally given the name of nicotinic acid by Austrian chemist Hugo Weidel in 1873. Having obtained it by oxidizing Nicotine he called it “Nicotinic acid”.
The discovery that Niacin was a vitamin was made in 1937 by the American chemist Conrad Elvehjem. A few years later, in 1942, the American Medical Association gave this substance a more popular name less misleading than Nicotinic acid, to prevent illogical, unfounded associations between the harmful effects of Nicotine and the therapeutic ones of vitamins. Its new name became NI AC IN, from the first two letters of NIcotinic ACid, and the last two letters of vitamIN.

In 1873 the Austrian chemist Hugo Weidel managed to synthetize it by oxidizing nicotine with nitric acid. This has been the only reason this substance was then called “Nicotinic” acid, even though it was not biochemically or toxicologically related to the well-known tobacco alkaloid.

None. Nicotinic acid and Niacin are synonyms, both terms indicating the same molecule. Nicotinic acid = Niacin = Vitamin B3 = Vitamin PP (Pellagra Preventing). Deficiency of Vitamin B3 is the cause of Pellagra, a dreadful desease, characterized by the famous 4 “D”s:  dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and death.

Niacin plays an essential metabolic role throughout the animal kingdom. It is the precursor of important cellular coenzymes such as NAD e NADP, essential for energetic metabolism of skin cells and skin barrier integrity; it is needed for red blood cell formation, increased transport of oxygen and nutrients, removal of toxins & cellular waste products through skin microcirculation; it reduces triglycerides and cholesterol levels, prevents cardiovascular diseases, helps maintain healthy nervous system functioning and brain activity (its deficiency may cause serious mental illnesses); it plays a key role in synthesis of sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, etc.

Scientific studies have revealed that, in 24 hours, the quantity of Niacin released in the skin is about 18% of the total niacin contained in the original dose of Nicomenthyl 20.

Menthol exerts an essential balsamic and soothing activity. The simultaneous and equi-molar release of menthol into the skin prevents the niacin-flush effect that is usually observed with other nicotinate-based formulations, without however inhibiting its biochemical and vitaminic functionality.

Thorough in vitro testing has confirmed that Nicomenthyl 20 is not sensitizing.
As a precaution however, considering that Nicomenthyl 20 slowly releases Menthol into the skin, we advise the subject allergic to that substance to test first the cosmetic product containing Nicomenthyl 20 by applying a small quantity of it inside the forearm.

Niacin flushes your system by increasing blood flow. It causes small veins, called capillaries to dilate, allowing blood to flow more freely.

This is considered a natural, helpful and beneficial effect of niacin, because toxins tend to build up in the stored fatty tissue of the body where larger vessels don't get to. The increase of blood flow helps flushing toxins out of the fatty tissue and out of your body. Such activation of the microcirculation causes the skin to warm up and look blushed, and may be accompanied by a  kind of “tingling” sensation. It is only a temporary manifestation, usually lasting about ten minutes or so. This phenomenon, called niacin-flush, is totally harmless and is indicative of an enhancing microcirculation.

No. It just means skin cells are being cleansed by the beneficial enhancement of blood circulation and toxins flushing from your body. It is completely harmless and usually lasting only ten minutes or so.

Absolutely not. Some people misinterpret the Niacin flush (vasodilation) as an allergic reaction. There is a similarity but they are not the same. The flush caused by an allergy may be due to a local release of histamine into the epithelial tissues, triggered by the presence of allergens. The Niacin-flush instead is the result of a complex cascade of chemical reactions which, apart from activating some specific skin thermoreceptors, produce substances known as prostaglandins (PGD2 e PGE2), responsible for a temporary skin vasodilation.
The production of prostaglandins is the very factor that brings about a higher oxygenation and nourishment of tissues as well as a more effective and simultaneous elimination of toxins and cellular metabolic waste in the flushed skin area. There isn’t any allergen-related reaction in this mechanism. On the contrary, it is an oxygenating, nourishing and detox mechanism, activated by Niacin.

The menthylic (from menthol) moiety of the menthyl nicotinate molecule acts as a kind of controller or modulator of the flushing effect caused by the nicotinic (from niacin) moiety. Occasionally however, skin care or hair care products containing Nicomenthyl 20, depending on the concentration and the type of formulation, may cause a light beneficial flush in the application area and a kind of slightly “tingling” subcutaneous sensation, that will disappear in a short time.
The Niacin being released from Nicomenthyl 20 flushes the skin area by increasing blood flow in that area. This is to be considered very HELPFUL and BENEFICIAL. Such blood flow enhancement promotes the flushing of toxins out of the skin fatty tissues. The flush will be minimized by repeating the application of the product, with no reduction of the detox efficacy of the product. 

The potential Niacin-flush can be avoided or minimized in two ways:

  • Decreasing the concentration of Nicomenthyl 20 in the formulation, down to 0.5% or even less.
  • Formulating a more “anhydrous” composition, with less glycols and more oily ingredients (such as waxes), to slow down the skin penetration of menthyl nicotinate. This will extend the time-release absorption and prevent the flush effect or make it almost unperceivable, still maintining an optimal detox efficacy.