Biofreeze vs Bengay – Which Works Better

When your muscles ache or your joints are painful, topical painkillers may offer relief. The best muscle or joint pain relief cream is the one that suits your needs.

Here is a comparison of two topical analgesics:

Biofreeze

It is a topical analgesic which is not greasy or sticky, however, it will get to the source of your pain, whether it is joint pain, muscle pain, or arthritis pain.

The active ingredient in this product is menthol (an organic compound obtained from peppermint or corn mint). It temporarily relieves muscle and joint pain by stimulating the thermoreceptors in the skin and blocking the pain sensation.

In addition, the product contains:

  • water;
  • triethanolamine (a strongly alkaline substance);
  • propylene glycol;
  • silicon dioxide;
  • methylparaben;
  • isopropyl alcohol;
  • ILEX Paraguariensis;
  • FD&C blue #1;
  • FD&C yellow #5;
  • carbomer;
  • glycerin;
  • camphor.

Since the product was not tested on animals and no animal products are used in the ingredients, it is vegetarian and vegan-friendly.

It comes in many forms, such as:

  • cream – it is best for areas with more muscle needing a deep massage;
  • spray – it is best for those hard-to-reach locations, such as – neck, the middle back, and shoulders;
  • roll-on – it works well for smaller areas, such as – the hip, wrist, elbow, hand, ankle, foot, and neck;
  • gel – is is perfect for larger muscle areas.

Bengay

Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/22126759@N00/7275971844

It is a pain relief cream which can address numerous types of body pain. It was originally developed in France by Dr. Jules Bengué. Currently, it is manufactured by Johnson&Johnson.

This topical analgesic contains menthol and methyl salicylate (an organic ester which is naturally produced by a variety of species of plants) as active ingredients. In addition, it contains:

  • trolamine;
  • stearic acid;
  • purified water;
  • potassium hydroxide (commonly called caustic potash);
  • polysorbate 80;
  • lanolin;
  • Glyceryl stearate SE;
  • edetate disodium;
  • carbomer.

This product is not suitable for vegans.

Uses

Biofreeze is used to soothe minor muscle and joint pains.

Bengay is used to treat minor pains and aches of the joints and muscles.

Mechanism of Action

Biofreeze works similarly to an ice pack to provide immediate relief and a cooling sensation.

Bengay works by creating a warming sensation, that can help release tight muscles.

Side Effects

Some people using these products may experience:

  • burning or stinging feeling;
  • a rash;
  • skin irritation.

Note – most of the time, these side effects will go away after a few days.

Warnings & Precautions

Biofreeze

  • wash your hands with cool water after applying the product;
  • avoid getting the topical analgesic in the ears, eyes, mouth, nose, or genitalia;
  • after applying this topical analgesic to an area, leave it exposed to the air;
  • using a heating lamp over the area where you have applied the topical analgesic can cause blistering;
  • avoid applying this medication to an open wound or an irritated skin.

Bengay

Do not use this topical analgesic:

  • on a child under 12 years of age with arthritis-like health problems;
  • with a heating pad;
  • on a damaged skin;
  • on wounds.

Note – in 2007, a teenage athlete in the US overdosed and died from overexposure to one of the main active ingredients in this product (methyl salicylate).

Women who are pregnant should consult a healthcare professional before using this product.

Bottom Line – Biofreeze vs Bengay

Biofreeze is a menthol-based pain relieving gel which can be used topically for strains, arthritis, sprains, and tendonitis. It is a paraben-free option and has both long and fast-acting effects. In addition, it is backed by clinical research. Even though it is a pricier topical analgesic, its effectiveness justifies its high price tag.

Bengay is a product that is used for minor pains and aches of muscles and joints linked to bruises, arthritis, sprains and other minor aches. Active ingredient – menthol and methyl salicylate.

Both products are menthol-based, with the exception that Bengay also contains methyl salicylate. Their mechanism of action is different – Biofreeze provides a cooling sensation, whereas Bengay creates a warming sensation (although it has an initial cooling effect). In addition, their inactive ingredients are different. In conclusion, Biofreeze appears to be more efficient with fewer possible side effects, but its cost is higher.

9 Similar Topical Analgesics

#1 THENA Healing Cream

It can help with pain relief when it comes to eczema, issues, and psoriasis.

#2 Topricin

It is a brand of pain relief topical medicines which range from products for children to products for foot pain. It contains the following active components:

  • Ruta graveolens;
  • Rhus toxicodendron;
  • Naja tripudians;
  • Lachesis mutus;
  • Heloderma;
  • Graphites;
  • Echinacea;
  • Crotalus Horridus;
  • Belladonna;
  • Arnica Montana;
  • Aesculus Hippocastanum.

Note – it comes from organic components and is safe even for nursing and pregnant women.

#3 Sombra Warm Therapy

It has both cooling and warming ingredients. Also, this natural analgesic gel is alcohol-free and is made in the United States.

#4 CryoDerm

It is a pain relieving topical spray which is deployed to help alleviate pain in sore muscles and joints. The ingredients in the product are formulated together as a spray and are said to be naturally sourced from medicinal herbs.

#5 Sportscreme

This cream has a thicker consistency than most, therefore, it takes a little more rubbing to massage it into the skin. The active ingredient in the product is salicylate.

#6 Rub On Relief

It is a joint product which comes in a form of cream to provide effective and safe pain relief. The product mainly works by the process of counterirritation through the use of its active ingredient – menthol.

#7 Penetrex

It is a favorite product of many athletes which are suffering from ailments such as tennis elbow, shin splints, and golfer’s elbow.

#8 Icy Hot

It provides an initial cooling sensation followed by heat. The product contains salicylates and menthol as active ingredients.

#9 Tiger Balm

It is a natural topical pain reliever ointment which is produced from herbal ingredients that aim to provide care and comfort to the abdomen, back, and cramps line.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28497473
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634368/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048583/

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