Vicks VapoRub is a common household item that is traditionally used as a topical cough suppressant and decongestant.
Many people have claims about its unconventional uses, especially for beauty, like applying it to eyebrows and hair. Despite its popularity, there remain concerns about the potential side effects of such usage.
This article aims to explain these effects and provide you with a comprehensive guide on the potential risks and precautions for using Vicks VapoRub on eyebrows and hair.
Vicks VapoRub is a mentholated topical ointment that has been part of many households since its introduction in 1905.
It is made up of the following active ingredients:
- camphor (4.7 percent)
- eucalyptus oil (1.2 percent)
- menthol (2.6 percent)
It is mainly used to relieve coughs and congestion caused by the cold or flu. It works by creating a cooling sensation that distracts the mind from coughing and discomfort, providing temporary relief.
Its unique combination of aromatic ingredients, including cedarleaf oil, nutmeg oil, petrolatum, thymol, and turpentine oil, is released into the air around the user when it’s applied topically.
These ingredients can be inhaled to help clear congestion, or they can be applied to the skin to provide relief from minor aches and pains.
Despite its medical purpose, people have found unconventional uses, like applying it to eyebrows and hair, which has led to debates about potential side effects.
Scientifically supported uses of Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub is commonly used for cold or flu symptoms, but some unconventional uses have gained popularity based on personal stories. Here are a few uses with some scientific backing:
Relief for Dry Cough
A dry cough can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially if it’s causing ongoing irritation or interrupting sleep.
Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil, which according to NIH, can work great as cough suppressants.
When you apply Vicks to the chest or throat it can provide relief by suppressing the cough reflex. The menthol in the ointment has a cooling effect that can soothe the urge to cough.
Easing Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion can be quite debilitating and cause discomfort and difficulty in breathing. Interestingly, research supports that the menthol present in Vicks VapoRub can significantly alleviate this issue.
When applied under or around the nose, Vicks stimulates cold receptors in the nose and chest which creates a sensation of increased airflow, despite no actual change in nasal resistance or lung function.
Treatment for fungal nail infections
Vicks VapoRub contains three active ingredients, all of which possess antifungal properties. Some studies suggest that Vicks VapoRub could be an effective treatment for nail fungus due to its antifungal properties.
A 2015 study tested the efficacy of Vicks VapoRub in treating toenail fungus in individuals with HIV.
Remember, while these uses have some scientific support, but it’s essential to consult with a doctor before using Vicks VapoRub for these purposes, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are prone to allergies.
Side effects of using Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub serves as an effective remedy for colds, flu, and minor aches but using it incorrectly or for non-intended purposes can also cause adverse side effects.
- The two active ingredients camphor and eucalyptus oil can cause skin irritation or a rash, especially in those with sensitive skin or allergies.
- If Vicks VapoRub comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause severe pain and irritation, even leading to blurring of vision
- Excessive or inappropriate use of Vicks VapoRub around the nose could lead to respiratory distress. Camphor, when absorbed into the body, can cause difficulty breathing, especially in children.
- Vicks VapoRub should strictly not be ingested. Accidental ingestion can cause poisoning that could have severe health consequences.
These side effects emphasize why it’s important to use Vicks VapoRub as intended and recommended.
Can you use Vicks on your eyebrows?
The idea of using Vicks VapoRub on eyebrows has gained traction in recent years but it’s not recommended or scientifically supported use for this product.
Some people believe that the ingredients like petroleum and eucalyptus oil can help stimulate hair growth. However, there’s no scientific evidence to back this claim.
Plus, using Vicks VapoRub near the eyes can be risky. If it gets into the eyes, it can cause severe irritation and discomfort, risking potential damage to the eye.
It’s always advisable to use products as directed by the manufacturer and consult with any medical professional for off-label uses.
What are the side effects of applying Vicks on eyebrows?
Applying Vicks VapoRub on eyebrows is not very risky, but it can still have some minor side effects that most people experience because of its strong ingredients like camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol.
- The ingredients in Vicks VapoRub can cause allergic reactions in some people, especially those with sensitive skin. These reactions can manifest as rashes, redness, itching, and swelling.
- If Vicks VapoRub accidentally gets into the eyes, it can cause severe pain, redness, and irritation, even leading to temporary blurring of vision. Applying Vicks VapoRub near the eyebrows poses a significant risk due to their proximity to the eyes.
- Despite the prevalent discussion online, no scientific evidence supports that Vicks VapoRub can stimulate hair growth on eyebrows. Misinformation and false claims can cause inefficient use of time and resources.
If you’re worried, it’s good to check with your doctor before trying out any remedies, especially on sensitive areas like the eyes and their surroundings.
Can I leave Vicks in my hair?
This is not scientifically proven and is not recommended by the manufacturer of Vicks. The ingredients in Vicks VapoRub, like camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, are intended to relieve cough and nasal congestion, not to be applied to hair or the scalp.
These ingredients are powerful and can cause scalp irritation, allergic reactions, and even chemical burns if left on for extended periods.
Additionally, Vicks VapoRub is a greasy ointment that can be difficult to remove from hair, potentially leaving your hair and scalp oily even after washing.
If you’re considering using Vicks VapoRub for off-label use, consult with a doctor first to understand the risks and alternatives.
What are the side effects of applying Vicks on hair?
Using Vicks VapoRub on hair has become a trend among people who believe it can stimulate hair growth.
But it’s not true there is no scientific backup that supports these claims and it’s also not recommended use by the manufacturer. The active ingredients in Vicks – camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, are meant for relieving cough and congestion, not for topical application on hair or scalp.
Some possible side effects of applying Vicks VapoRub on hair include:
- Scalp Irritation: The strong ingredients can cause irritation, itchiness, and dryness on the scalp.
- Allergic Reactions: People with sensitive scalp or allergies may experience severe reactions like redness, swelling, itchiness, or even fragile hair.
- Chemical Burns: In severe cases, leaving the Vicks or greasy ointment on for long periods can lead to chemical burns due to the powerful ingredients.
- Hard to Wash Out: The ointment is oily and can be tough to wash out, leaving hair greasy even after washing.
Additional tips for using Vicks
Here are a few handy tips for you when you use Vicks:
- Do not apply Vicks on broken or irritated skin.
- Avoid using it close to the nose, eyes, and mouth. If accidentally ingested or gets into the eyes, seek medical help immediately.
- It is not recommended for use on children under 2 years old.
- If you happen to experience any negative reactions, it’s best to stop using it and get medical attention.
- Always read and follow the instructions on the packaging.
Overall, Vicks may have some benefits for alternative uses but it’s important to use it safely and responsibly to avoid any serious side effects.
Vicks VapoRub is a popular home remedy for many ailments but remember that it’s not designed for topical application to hair, eyebrows, or any part of the face. You can find a lot of anecdotal claims on the internet but there is no scientific evidence to support its ability to stimulate hair growth.
In contrast, misuse can cause some adverse reactions like skin irritation, allergic reactions, or chemical burns. It’s always wise to talk with a doctor before using any product for off-label purposes. Vicks VapoRub should be used as instructed by the manufacturer – as a cough suppressant and for relief from nasal congestion.
Can we apply Vicks on forehead?
Yes, Vicks VapoRub can be applied on the forehead to provide relief from the symptoms of migraine or headache. The menthol in Vicks helps to induce a cooling sensation, which can alleviate the discomfort of a headache.
How do you remove Vicks from hair?
To remove Vicks VapoRub from your hair, you’ll need a clarifying shampoo and a fine-tooth comb. Start by applying a generous amount of shampoo to your hair and gently massage it in, ensuring it covers all areas with Vicks. Rinse it off with warm water. If you want to freshen up that smell, you can even try soaking your hair in some Baby oil.
After shampooing, use the fine-tooth comb to ensure that no residue remains. After the process, it’s a good to use a deep conditioning treatment on your hair since the shampoo can be drying.