12 Surprising and Unexpected Uses of Vicks, Especially #10


Vicks VapoRub has been a remedy used in many homes for over a century. Its production started in 1905 in North Carolina, but now known Vicks VapoRub became wildly popular during the 1918 flu epidemic.

Story of VapoRub’s beginnings

A pharmacist Richardson loved to study chemistry, hoping to study it at Davidson College, but he studied Latin instead, graduating with honors in three years. He returned to Johnston County and taught school, and in 1880, he moved to Selma to work with his physician brother-in-law, Dr. Vick. There Richardson, relying on his knowledge of Latin started handling the pharmacy duties for Dr. Vick, and he began to experiment with recipes for the product that would become Vicks VapoRub.

Richardson also intensified his marketing efforts by providing free goods to druggists who placed large orders and publishing coupons for free samples in newspapers. His job was to advertise on billboards and to send promotional mailings to post office boxes. In order to help to promote the products in 1925 Vicks even published a children’s book.

The Vicks VapoRub contains three key active ingredients:

  • Eucalyptus oil (a cough suppressant),
  • Camphor and
  • Menthol

There are also included inactive ingredients, such as cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol, and turpentine oil. These natural strong-smelling ointment combinations have used other than the traditional cough and cold relief, and here are some of them:

  1. Soothing cracked heels

Apply a generous layer of Vicks VapoRub on the heels of a patient with dry, hardened skin and cover your feet with socks. The best time to do that is overnight, and you should wash in the morning. This will allow you to sleep well.

Livestrong’s suggestion is to exfoliate daily and repeat the treatment until the skin is softer. It can also be applied to other areas prone to dry and tough skin, such as elbows.

  1. Healing toenail and fingernail fungus

Clinical trials have shown that Vicks VapoRub has a significant effect on the fungus found in many nail infections. The results of the study show that 80 percent of the participants reported improvement or treatment during the study period. How to use – use a sterile pad or cotton ball and gently massage the affected nail. Use socks at night, and you can apply twice during the day until the fungus clears and the affected nail grows.

  1. Reducing stretch marks

People who have used Vicks VapoRub against stretch marks testify to their effectiveness in reducing them.

According to Health n Body Tips, a layer of Vicks VapoRub should be applied and then covered with a plastic wrap. The combination of oil, vaseline, and camphor in this product makes the skin softer and reduces dryness, which can cause stretch marks. Moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties can also be used as a preventive measure to keep the skin soft and supple.

  1. Preventing infection

Healthcare Online suggests that a little Vicks VapoRub be injected into open small wounds, even if they are not bleeding because its antibacterial properties will keep the wound clean.

  1. Curing dandruff

It is very well known that dandruff usually occurs due to an excess of a fungus called Malassezia, on which the antifungal properties of Vicks VapoRub can act, fight against it and prevent scalp peeling.

Use – massage the scalp with this product and leave it for 30 minutes. Since Vaseline is difficult to clean, it should be done by shampooing.

  1. Soothing and repairing chapped lips

According to the National Pharmacy, rubbing Vicks VapoRub into chapped lips will soothe the discomfort of dry, chapped lips and soften the skin.

Caution – Do not lick your lips or swallow VapoRub, as it is for external use only.

  1. Reducing the appearance of bruises

The public pharmacy recommends the use of Vicks VapoRub for application on bruises, due to the content of turpentine in it.

Be careful not to use it on broken skin.

  1. Relieving hemorrhoids

CRH O’Regan System suggests the use of the Vicks VapoRub in a small amount for the temporary relief of hemorrhoids. It reduces the swelling and causes a pleasant cooling sensation.

Warning – It may sting or burn a little at first, so proceeding should be with caution and use it externally.

  1. Natural insect repellent

Rubbing a thin layer of Vicks VapoRub onto exposed hands and ankles stop unpleasant insect bites, and for use during the day, Livestrong suggests rubbing Vicks VapoRub into your pulse points (joints, inner elbows, neck, and inner knees), which will allow retention smells throughout the day.

  1. Training pets

Just like insects, many domestic pets, such as cats and dogs, are sensitive to the smell of Wicks VapoRub. If pets urinate inside or scratch the furniture, they can turn away, and My Puppy Club recommends using plastic wrap or tin foil to protect the furniture and then spreading the wicks on top.

  1. Relieving headaches

Inhaling Vicks VapoRub vapor would clean the sinuses and relieve pressure, but for headaches, Natural remedies recommend massaging his temples.

Bonus – Menthol steam helps against nausea, so if you feel particularly bad, you can apply it a little under your nose.

  1. Reducing acne.

By breaking down the ingredients in Vicks VapoRub, Health Ambition concluded that menthol helps carry other antimicrobial drugs through the skin layer to get rid of infections and its antibacterial properties are useful in fighting the bacteria that cause acne. The cooling effects of both menthol and camphor reduce inflammation, so it is necessary to apply a little on your acne every night, but be careful to avoid damaged skin.

Safety of using Vicks VapoRub

So many ways of using this common and relatively inexpensive product has made it a home remedy for majority of homes in the USA and all around the world. However, the Vicks VapoRub is not suitable for children under 2 years old, because it contains camphor which is toxic if swallowed or absorbed into the body, and also should not be applied in or near the nostrils and not used on children under 2 years of age.

It was alerted by Dr. Rubin when an 18-month-old child developed severe respiratory distress after it was put directly under her nose.

According to Dr. Rubin, the ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway, which on infants and young children can block airways that are much narrower than those of adults.

The research showed that the VapoRub increased the mucus secretion and decreased the clearance of the mucus. To avoid any complications, they produced Vicks BabyRub, which is appropriate for babies of 3 months and over.

Side Effects of the Vicks VapoRub

INFREQUENT side effects – A stinging sensation on the skin

RARE side effects – Burns

Users have reported eye and skin irritation, but according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesperson, those effects are “typically mild and self-resolving.”

By overdoing it and having serious symptoms of trouble breathing, call 911, or call a poison control center right away.

Additional Tips:

  • Do not pour medications into a drain or flush them down the toilet unless instructed to do so
  • Discard this product properly when it is expired or no longer needed
  • Do not heat or microwave Vicks VapoRub
  • Do not add Vicks VapoRub to any container where heating water or in the hot water


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