Vicks VapoRub, ease facial pain, less for Vicks VapoRub

We have been fascinated to hear lately from readers who have found unusual remedies. We have been writing for years about the possibility that soap can alleviate nighttime leg cramps.  We were surprised, however, to learn that some people have been using soap against laryngospasm or esophageal stricture. One reader decided to try a peculiar variant of this remedy to ease facial pain.

Can Vicks Ease Facial Pain?

Q. I have been very interested in the messages about using soap containing limonene to help with cramp-like pain. I have been plagued with such pain on my face.

I did research on products that contain limonene. Vicks VapoRub is one. I have been using that around my eyebrows and forehead and it helps relieve pain.

A. We are fascinated by your report. That could help explain why Vicks VapoRub is considered helpful for soothing sore muscles. A chemist who specializes in volatile compounds reported to us that the soaps people find useful against leg cramps usually contain limonene in their fragrance. This compound from essential oils has analgesic effects (Inflammation, April 2017). Research suggests that this may be because it inhibits the transmission of pain sensations by overwhelming certain transient receptor potential channels (TRPA1) (European Journal of Pain, Aug. 2016).

Limonene may not be the only relevant constituent of Vicks. It also contains camphor and thymol, the essential oil of thyme. Carvacrol, a component of both camphor and thyme oils, also has pain-relieving properties (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Dec. 9, 2017).

Will Vicks Affect Facial Coloration?

We should offer one word of caution: dermatologists have reported one case of skin depigmentation (vitiligo) triggered by the application of Vicks VapoRub (Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Nov. 2008).  Be alert for any changes in skin tone where you are applying the Vicks.

Anyone who would like to learn about other ways to utilize this common but extremely versatile product may be interested in our Guide to Unique Uses for Vicks. If you have discovered other ways to use Vicks for pain relief, please let us know by adding a comment.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Michelle
    Bronx, NY

    On occasion, I will suffer from severe leg and foot cramps at night. I immediately rub Vicks over the affected area, and the cramps disappear within minutes.

  2. Georgia
    Normangee, Texas

    I have used Vick’s Vaporub to quiet any coughing I may have when I get ready for bed. I do loosely wrap a scarf around my neck to keep the Vicks warmth in. I fall asleep without coughing and sleep throughout the night.

    I also use a bar of soap under my bedsheet to stop nightly charley horses. As long as I am touching the soap (I put it near my thighs), I sleep peacefully all night.

  3. Michele

    Perskindol – Active Gel.

  4. Naren

    We as a family have used Vicks for 3 generations now. It is highly effective and soothing when one has a headache and muscle aches due to fever and cold. Rubbing it on the forehead and neck and placing a scarf on the neck and going to sleep at night has help all of us.

  5. Betty L Westbrook

    I had whelps appear on my arm and had terrible itching until I applied Vicks. Relief. The Druggist suggested it for nail fungus per a dermatologist..

  6. Erica
    Socorro nm

    I started using Vicks 4 years ago, and not one day has gone by that I have not used it. I originally started to use it to relax my muscles. 💪🏼 I would use it in my shower. I would rub it on my shoulders, knees,chest, and lower back. The hot water along with the Vicks would make the smell so amazing, like a Vicks bomb for the shower. Then after the shower of course it would come off from wiping myself dry. 😢 So then I started to get a finger full of Vicks and mix it with my baby lotion and use it as a skin moisturizer. Everyday that’s how I use my Vicks. My skin is so soft and not to mention is great for when you fall asleep the soothing smell is great 👍. Thank you, Vicks ❤️

  7. GS

    My wife has suffered from facial pain for years. She has been to neurologist who took pictures and to eye,ear,& nose dr. who also took pictures. Neither one of them could find any thing wrong. I suggested that I thought it might be Trigeminal Neuralgia but Drs didn’t offer anything. Any ideas?

  8. Linda
    Ontario, Canada

    I’ve had whiplash several times and for those nights when my neck muscles are painful I apply Vick’s generously to my neck. I then use a towel to keep the heat in and sleep with it on. Works great!

  9. Gerry

    Okay here’s funny one: when I moved I taped some drawers shut with that thick white foam type sticky tape. Tried using my fingernails to get it off, not much luck, also a little scraper, leaves icky looking residue behind. Tried some vicks just because I had it out using it for nasal help, and thought, “why not?” and it really helped get the tape off the side of the drawer…

    • David

      Is there anything that Vick’s can’t do? I have wondered if the people who work at Vicks ever get sick?

  10. Mom/ Caregiver

    🌹Suffer from chronic pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia. . Congress about to ban opioids used for constant pain. 🌹any Natural product that can help with WITHDRAWAL from opioids?🌹Any Natural product to help facial nerve pain?

    • Mary

      I just now wonder, if Vicks will help if you have migraines headaches?

    • Ann

      Am interested in same question.

    • P J

      I am researching CBD oil derived from the hemp plant to relieve my Trigeminal facial pain. CBD does not have hallucinogenic properties even though it is made from the same plant ( hemp) that produces marijuana. CBD is not yet regulated by the government so suppliers also are not regulated therfore caution is needed when researching. Research shows that CBD ( Cannabidiol) has multiple benefits for many but it is not ” one size fits all” and must be carefully investigated.

    • Rita O.

      Any oily substance would have helped remove that stuff, cooking oils, WD40, vaseline, etc. They are also effective in removing tar, paint, etc., from hands and so on.

    • Margaret Roney
      Avondale Estates, GA

      One way to prevent facial nerve pain (Trigeminal Neuralgia) from happening to you is never to use an oral orthotic device for Sleep Apnea. I now see my CPAP Machine as my friend. My bite was ruined plus my teeth were loosened and moved from using this device. I had to sign a waiver to protect the dentist who “fitted” me. Because I had taken impeccable care of my teeth and gums, I never dreamed anything could damage my teeth. How wrong I was! Trigeminal Neuralgia is called “The Suicide Disease” for good reason. I had major surgery, a Microvascular Decompression, in which four Teflon pads were placed between my Trigeminal Nerve and the irritating artery. No more pain. Had I not worn that oral orthotic device, none of this–the pain and the surgery and the dental calamities– would have been necessary.

    • Sylvia

      Progesterone cream (Emerita ProGest is best) has helped with neurological pain such as trigeminal neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy in my friends and a family member. You only need a quarter teaspoon size dab rubbed into the painful area. Do NOT use on tummy or buttocks as it accumulates in fat. Areas with good blood circulation like wrists, neck, temples work best. This has been a miracle for some people with bad nerve pain. Also have a friend with migraine headaches, and it has helped her.

      Progesterone (bioidentical, not synthetic) is a neurosteroid in addition to being a pregnancy hormone.
      If you take gabapentin, however, it may not work because this drug interferes with neurotransmitters.
      Sadly, it is not well known because big pharma cannot patent it, so research is not done.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.