Minty fresh

How It Works - - INBOX -

Dear HIW,

I have been a sub­scriber to How It Works for over two years and I have loved ev­ery is­sue. I was won­der­ing, why does my mint shower gel make me cold? Thanks,

Henry Jal­land, aged 16

Thanks for the ques­tion Henry! Mint con­tains men­thol, which can re­ally mess around with how you per­ceive tem­per­a­ture. Your nerves are telling your brain it is cold, when it’s not re­ally be­cause it trig­gers a pro­tein called TRPM8 in your skin. This causes the cold re­cep­tors to be­come par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive and over fire. No­body is sure why this hap­pens, but it’s likely that the men­thol ‘key’ just fits per­fectly with the cel­lu­lar ‘lock’. Thanks for the ques­tion Henry.

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