Why is ice cream colder after you suck a mint?

Mints contain the chemical menthol, which binds to the TRP-M8 receptors in your skin that sense cold. The temperature doesn’t actually change; the menthol simply causes a false cold signal to be sent to your brain.

4th November 2013

Asked by: John Lewandowski, Hartlepool

Mints contain the chemical menthol, which binds to the TRP-M8 receptors in your skin that sense cold. The temperature doesn’t actually change; the menthol simply causes a false cold signal to be sent to your brain. If you add something like ice cream that actually is cold, this just increases the number of cold receptors that are firing at once.

This is similar to the reaction caused by chilli, which is caused by the chemical capsaicin and binds to the TRP-V1 receptors for heat.