Icy Hot is a classic sore muscle remedy, used for decades by athletes and normal folks. It’s cooling and warming sensation is signature, and we’ve never really asked how it works. In 2019, we are in an era of modern skincare, and we’re paying a little more attention.
Enough so, that we noticed some weird things when taking a look at Icy Hot Ingredients
Ingredients on all topicals are listed in the order of predominance – that means whatever has the most. The #2 and #3 ingredients in Icy Hot are both aluminum compounds (which is weird). What’s weirder – both of them are used for stomach pains. That’s right! Aluminum Glycinate and Aluminum Hydroxide are both commonly used as an antacid to treat for heartburn and indigestion. This means they can be great for treating people with peptic ulcer, gastritis, esophagitis, hiatal hernia, or gastric hyperacidity. Sure, that hot and cold is great, but
could we do it without the bubble gut?
Numb the pain, Licodaine!
Icy Hot is sort of considered a medication now that we mention it. So it makes sense that it would have licodaine in it. Licodaine is a numbing agent and as nice as it is to numb the pain sometimes, it’s kind of like sticking your head in a hole and hoping the bad guys go away.
Gum and Diapers
Sodium Polyacrylate is another interesting addition to the mix. It’s a super absorptive substance that is found inside baby diapers. You see, when a baby pees in its diaper it the liquid hit the methyl salicylate. It goes from being a dry substance to ballooning up and turning into beads of a gelatin-like substance. It makes sense that something for our skin would be absorbative, but I don’t know how this happened.
Methyl salicylate is a flavoring agent that is often used in chewing gum. It’s responsible for some of that cool minty goodness and fresh breath.
The nasty one
PEG-150 distearate is widely considered controversial due to its ability to penetrate the dermal layer and get into your bloodstream. Several organizations consider PEG-150 a completely hazardous ingredient for anything for human consumption. Interestingly enough, when looking at the entire scale of PEGs, it’s on the less dangerous end of the spectrum. Impurities found in PEG-150 have been known to include toxins such as ethylene oxide and others. We hate to use the C word, but this is bad stuff that can be very bad for your health!
More interesting ingredients
Methylparaben – to increase shelf life
Menthol – for that cool sensation
Ceresin – a wax
Cellulose gum – A thickening agent often used in food
Cyclomethicone – A silicon derivative
Hydrogenated castor oil – Bean oil!
Microcrystalline wax – ski and snowboard wax
Paraffin – more flammable wax
Propylene glycol – the jury is still out on PG
Stearic acid and stearyl alcohol – Makes it smooth and sexy and shiny
Iffy Ingredients, but effective: Icy Hot
In this day and age, not every product can be organic and natural and all that. Sometimes, we just have to settle for compounds made in a lab in a place where natural substances like hemp seed extract and eucalyptus leaf essential oil will do the job. We’ve found an organic hemp pain relief cream that doesn’t have any nasty stuff like Icy Hot that’s worth checking out of you don’t like any of what you read here today.