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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. Treat Acne
If you have eczema or acne, one of the top uses for Vicks VapoRub is helping to soothe skin, reduce inflammation, and clear up your complexion.This is due to ingredients like camphor and eucalyptus which are known anti-inflammatories and antibacterial agents; however, just like any DIY skincare tip (toothpaste on a pimple anyone?), we suggest taking this one with a grain of salt. Vicks is also made with petroleum jelly, and while it's great for keeping wounds moist (and acne lesions are technically wounds), it could actually be the cause of breakouts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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 thanks to the cedar leaf oil inside, however, it as not as effective at preventing bites as a commercial insect repellant.
3. Reduce the Appearance of Stretch Marks
If you're looking to fade the appearance of stretch marks, this is one of the most surprising uses for Vicks VapoRub. 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, it may be worth giving it a shot.
4. Heal Your Feet
Vicks VapoRub is a common home remedy used to alleviate certain foot conditions, including athlete’s foot. The standout antimicrobial ingredients of the rub, plus the inclusion of petroleum jelly, help to lock in moisture while killing off bacteria.
5. Fade Bruising
For minor bruises, you may consider using Vicks VapoRub. This is due in large part to menthol, which helps to lessen the pain associated with the bruise by providing a cooling sensation as camphor which helps alleviate inflammation.
6. Treat Scrapes and Burns
The petroleum in Vicks VapoRub may help to heal minor cuts and scrapes when applied once or twice daily as the thick formula creates a barrier between your cuts. But a word of caution: some of the ingredients may be irritating on an open wound. If you notice any type of pain or a burning sensation, take the product off immediately and stick to Neosporin and a Bandaid.
7. Alleviate Headaches
Do you notice how quickly your congestion loosens 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 in the scent. It's a potential quick fix to clear your head and alleviate cranial pain.
8. 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.