10 Little-Known Uses for Vicks VapoRub

Updated 12/08/19

 Fashion Me Now

While many medical treatments from the early 1900s have been vehemently debunked, a handful have managed to stand the test of time. At the top of this list is Vicks VapoRub, a topical cough suppressant designed to clear the sinuses and alleviate the symptoms of the common cold. But in addition to this marketed use, Vicks has a handful of other, lesser-known uses that are far more interesting (and no less effective).

Keep reading to learn about the under-the-radar ways to use this cold and cough remedy.

1. Improve Skin

If you suffer from eczema or acne, one of the top uses for Vicks VapoRub is helping to soothe skin, reduce inflammation, and clear up your complexion. Why? Well, it is widely known that ingredients like menthol are antimicrobial and drying. If you suffer from acne, putting a bit on the spot may help to dry it out overnight. Just like any DIY skincare tip (toothpaste on a pimple anyone?), we suggest taking this one with a grain of salt.

2. Deter Insects

We may be fans of Vicks, but insects decidedly are not. Dab a bit on your arms, legs, neck, or other areas of exposed skin to keep bugs (including mosquitoes) at bay. Again, it's the menthol in the rub that does the trick. What smells invigorating to us is actually a deterrent for bugs. It's a shame many of us don't get colds in the summer.

3. Treat an Earache

Visiting an ear, nose, and throat doctor is your best bet for clearing up an ear infection, but placing a cotton ball dabbed with Vicks in your ear for several hours can help to reduce the irritating symptoms associated with an earache.

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Michela Buttignol / Byrdie 

3. Reduce Stretch Marks

If you're looking to fade the appearance of stretch marks, this is one of the most surprising uses for Vicks VapoRub. Apply to the affected area daily to see results within a couple of weeks. According to Shape, this trend went viral on Pinterest and saw immense success. While it is not proven to be an effective way to diminish the appearance of stretch marks, there is no harm in giving it a shot.

4. Point Pets in the Right Direction

If you have a cat that’s destroying your walls, couch cushions, or any other beloved furniture item, you can get them to stop scratching by spraying the area in question with Vicks VapoRub.

5. Heal Your Feet

Vicks VapoRub is a common home remedy used to alleviate certain foot conditions, including athlete’s foot and cracked heels. The standout antimicrobial ingredients of the rub, plus the inclusion of petroleum jelly, help to lock in moisture while killing off bacteria.

6. Fade Bruising

For minor bruises, one of the best uses for Vicks VapoRub is to lessen swelling and inflammation. Simply add a pinch of salt to the liquid and apply it directly to your bruise to expedite the healing process.

7. Treat Cuts and Scrapes

Vicks VapoRub can also work wonders when it comes to healing minor cuts and scrapes. Apply to clean skin once or twice daily until the affected area is healed. The thick formula creates a barrier between your cuts. But a word of caution: other ingredients in this formula can do more harm to you than good. If you notice any type of pain or a burning sensation, take the product off immediately and stick to Neosporin and a band-aid.

8. Moisturize Skin

For especially dry skin, Vicks VapoRub offers a surprisingly effective fix. Apply to cracked, weather-damaged areas to restore your skin to its natural softness and smoothness.

9. Alleviate Headaches

Notice how quickly you become decongested when you use the Vaporub on your chest? Well, if you suffer from sinus headaches, one of the best uses for Vicks VapoRub is to simply breathe it the scent. This quick fix can help to clear your head and alleviate cranial pain.

10. Ease Muscle Soreness

To walk back the negative sensations of an intense workout, apply a bit of Vicks VapoRub to the affected area.

Combine Vicks with a hot compress to help soothe sore muscles and mimic the sensation of an Icy Hot product.

Want a more natural alternative to both? A good CBD-infused lotion such as the Lord and Jone Heavy Duty Chill Balm ($75) is a must-try.

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