Is Applying Vicks VapoRub to Your Lips Safe? Uncovering the Truth In 2023

by Tori Jones

Welcome back to my sanctuary of beauty wisdom, where we go beyond the typical and dive deep into the unconventional. Today, we’re about to stir the waters of curiosity by examining a question that might sound a little odd, but one I’ve been getting asked repeatedly: “Can you put Vicks on your lips? Is it safe?” It’s different from what you’d find on the glossy pages of beauty mags, but isn’t that what makes it so fascinating?

The beauty world is full of surprising secrets, and the topic we’re unpacking today has made its rounds in the grapevine of home remedies. Yes, we’re talking about the humble jar of Vicks VapoRub, a common resident of most medicine cabinets, known primarily for its soothing effects on colds and chest congestion. But can this menthol-infused wonder be used safely on our lips? And if so, what are the potential benefits or risks?

Today, we’re turning the spotlight onto this unusual practice, exploring the science behind Vicks, its key ingredients, and whether those ingredients play well with the delicate skin of our lips. We will delve into the ‘why’ and ‘why not,’ and we’ll also explore safe and effective alternatives for those seeking extra lip care. So brace yourself for a refreshing plunge into the cooling realm of Vicks and its potential role in your beauty regimen.

Join me on this exploration and remember: beauty isn’t only about following trends, it’s also about being informed, curious, and daring to question. Let’s demystify this peculiar topic, shall we? After all, no question is too outlandish to ask in the world of beauty, and no stone should be left unturned. Stay curious, stay radiant, and let’s journey into the heart of this question together!

The Winter Woes: A Vicks VapoRub Story

As the days shorten and a chill sets in the air, we reach for comfort, warmth, and some of those tried-and-true remedies we’ve grown to trust. One such old faithful, tucked at the back of our cabinets, is the iconic blue jar of Vicks VapoRub. We’ve all cherished it at some point as the superhero of our sick days, the loyal friend that offered respite from those insistent colds and congestion.

But, my beauty aficionados, have you ever considered using this trusted companion on your lips? I hear you gasping, “Is it safe?” Well, my radiant readers, let’s explore this intriguing proposition together.

A Brief Stint Down Memory Lane: What is Vicks VapoRub?

Vicks on Your Lips
@vicks_us via Instagram

Vicks VapoRub is more than a topical ointment; it’s a staple from our childhoods, a healing balm known across generations to rescue us from the clutches of coughs and congestion.

Do you remember the comforting coolness on your chest, brought on by its active ingredients, camphor and menthol? They work harmoniously to provide that distinctive soothing sensation, opening our airways and making breathing a breeze.

Not only does it work its magic on respiratory discomfort, but Vicks VapoRub has also been our trusted ally against muscle aches and pains. Recall when your back ached from too much work, or you pulled a muscle during yoga. A gentle massage with Vicks, and voila, relief was on its way.

And it doesn’t end there. This wonder ointment, hiding in plain sight, has been found effective against cold sores and minor cuts and scrapes. Talk about being versatile!

Unveiling the Secrets: The Ingredients Within Vicks VapoRub

What makes Vicks VapoRub the Swiss Army Knife of over-the-counter topical medication? Its trio of potent ingredients: camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol.

Camphor, a natural anti-inflammatory, swoops in to ease sore muscles and chest pains caused by a nasty cold. The hero behind the scenes combats inflammation and pain, leaving us with a sense of relief.

Then there’s eucalyptus oil, an antimicrobial marvel that helps clear congestion and open airways. It’s like a fresh breath of air on a chilly, misty morning – invigorating and refreshing.

And finally, menthol. The soothing voice calms a constant cough, unblocks a stuffy throat, and grants us a good night’s sleep. With menthol around, you can bid farewell to restless, cough-filled nights.

Thanks to this medicated trio, Vicks VapoRub has long been a soothing salve for common irritations, from skin woes to muscle aches.

So, dear readers, now that we’ve unraveled the story of Vicks VapoRub and its powerful constituents, let’s turn our attention back to our original question: can we safely put this multitasking wonder on our lips? Stay tuned to find out!

Unveiling the Magic: The Benefits of Vicks VapoRub

Remember when you returned from that thrilling camping trip with an annoying insect bite? And who was there to soothe the itch? Yep, our good ol’ Vicks. Thanks to the trio of menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor, this ointment provides a cooling sensation that can work miracles on minor aches, headaches, and even irritating insect bites.

But the natural charm of Vicks lies in its unparalleled ability to rescue us from the clutches of a cold. Its menthol-powered magic opens our airways and loosens stubborn mucus, making breathing easier. Paired with eucalyptus oil, it helps to calm the inflamed sinuses. Oh, how we love to wake up feeling refreshed and congestion-free after a Vicks-slathered night!

But remember, my lovelies, timing is critical. To let Vicks work its overnight magic, apply it before you tuck in for the night. And if you’re battling a cold, feel free to apply it a few times throughout the day. Ensure you’re using it as directed to keep it safe and effective.

The Flip Side: Are There Any Downsides?

Just like every other product, Vicks VapoRub has its little quirks. While we adore its unique, strong scent, it can be overpowering for those with sensitive noses. Additionally, camphor and eucalyptus oil, though magical, might disagree with everyone’s skin and can irritate in some instances.

It’s always good to remember that this potent blend should steer clear of broken skin and the eyes – trust me, you do not want this potent mix causing a stir in those areas. Use it wisely and follow instructions to keep your experience safe and soothing.

Decoding Vicks: Different Uses and Best Practices

Vicks is the popular kid on the block regarding over-the-counter remedies. But to fully experience its healing magic, we must ensure we’re using it correctly. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Vicks works in two primary ways: inhaled and applied topically. Nothing beats inhaling Vicks vapors to ease congestion and soothe a sore throat. You can achieve this using a vaporizer, an inhaler, or, my favorite, the old-school method of adding a few drops to a pot of boiling water and inhaling the steam. It’s like a mini at-home spa!

Vicks is a fantastic remedy for relieving muscle aches and providing that much-needed cooling sensation for topical use.

How to Maximize Vicks as a Chest Rub?

Maximize Vicks
@vicks_us via Instagram

Ah, the classic Vicks chest rub – it’s an age-old remedy. The combination of menthol and eucalyptus oil in Vicks works like a charm to soothe your airways and relieve congestion.

To master the art of a Vicks chest rub, apply a small dollop directly onto the chest and gently massage it until evenly distributed. You can cover it with a dry cloth to keep the ointment in place and allow it to work longer.

Feel free to reapply as needed throughout the day, and remember, it can be paired with other cold remedies to enhance its effectiveness.

And there you have it, my fabulous readers! Our humble jar of Vicks VapoRub, once reserved for stuffy noses, has more to offer than you might think. Always remember to follow the directions to keep your experience safe and soothing no matter what you’re using it for.

Vicks On Your Feet: The Secret Cough Suppressor?

Yes, you read that right! Applying Vicks to your feet is a well-known home remedy to put a leash on that annoying cough. But why does it work, you may wonder? The credit goes to our trio of superheroes – menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor. These ingredients are known for their congestion-relieving and inflammation-reducing properties.

But here’s where things get interesting. The moment you slather Vicks onto your feet and pull on those fuzzy socks, the comforting warmth combined with the vapor from the rub can help relax the muscles in your chest. And guess what? This can significantly reduce coughing! So, next time you’re coughing your lungs out, give your feet a Vicks treat, and you’ll be amazed by its soothing comfort.

A Lip Affair with Vicks: Is it Safe?

Moving from feet to lips, another question that often pops up is whether it’s safe to apply Vicks VapoRub on your lips. While Vicks is generally safe when used as directed, a lip affair might not be the best idea.

When it comes to applying Vicks VapoRub to the lips, the literature suggests it’s best to err on the side of caution. Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, which are potential irritants. A study published in the “Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology” in 2019 noted that these substances can cause a burning sensation, especially on sensitive skin, like our lips. They can even lead to contact dermatitis, a type of skin inflammation resulting from direct contact with irritants or allergens.

Moreover, the safety data sheet for Vicks VapoRub mentions that it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms if ingested. As our lips are close to our mouths, accidental ingestion might occur, leading to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

As for alternatives, many dermatologists and researchers promote the use of lip balms with SPF, as they not only moisturize but also provide protection against harmful UV rays. A 2017 review in “The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology” strongly recommends lip care products containing beeswax, petroleum jelly, ceramides, and dimethicone for their hydrating and barrier-repairing properties.

Vicks On The Top Lip: Why The Buzz?

Making Your Vicks
@vicks_us via Instagram

We’ve tackled feet and lips, but what about applying Vicks to the top lip? This might seem like a quirky beauty trend, but it’s a popular home remedy with quite a long-standing tradition. But why?

One of the reasons is the numbing and inflammation-reducing properties of menthol. It can relieve pain and discomfort, making it a popular choice for those battling allergies or asthma. Moreover, menthol’s soothing, cooling effect is believed to aid sleep quality, lulling people into a peaceful slumber.

And you know what? Some people swear that applying Vicks on the top lip helps keep colds and flu at bay. While there isn’t scientific evidence backing this claim, the steadfast belief of many individuals keeps this tradition alive.

Vicks to the Rescue: A Sunburn Soother?

So, you’re roasted like a lobster, and every little touch feels like a thousand tiny needles. Oh, the misery of sunburns! Worse, it can lead to serious health issues like dehydration and heat stroke. But guess what? Our little green jar of miracles, Vicks VapoRub, can help.

How, you ask? Our star ingredient, menthol, comes to the rescue again. It helps to cool the skin and provides a soothing sensation. Vicks can also help to alleviate inflammation and itchiness. Just apply a small dollop to the sunburned area, and let Vicks do its magic.

Now, lovelies, you can still drink plenty of fluids and stay out of the sun to prevent further damage. Consider Vicks a temporary relief while your skin heals, and always seek medical advice if your sunburn is severe.

Clearing The Air: Vicks on Adult Noses?

Moving from skin to nose, here’s a question I get asked a lot: Can adults apply Vicks VapoRub to their noses? The short answer is yes but with a bit of caution.

Applying Vicks to the nose can help clear up that congestion and relieve much-needed relief. But be gentle, my friends. You don’t want to rub it in harshly or let it get inside your nostrils. It may be too intense for those sensitive areas.

And let’s not forget, while Vicks can be a savior for that stuffy nose, it’s not meant to treat serious respiratory illnesses like bronchitis or pneumonia. Always consult your doctor for these conditions.

DIY Divas: Making Your Vicks?

Finally, for my creative DIY enthusiasts, can you make your version of Vicks with petroleum jelly? Absolutely!

Petroleum jelly, a semi-solid form of hydrocarbon, is a common ingredient in many body products, including our beloved Vicks. It gives that thick, protective layer we’re so familiar with.

Making your version of Vicks is pretty simple. You need to mix petroleum jelly with essential oils in a small container, and voila, you have your homemade Vicks ready!

When picking essential oils, use ones with anti-inflammatory and decongesting properties, like eucalyptus and camphor. You can even add peppermint oil for an extra kick of freshness. But remember, blend well before use to ensure the oils are evenly distributed.

What Are The Potential Risks Of Putting Vicks VapoRub On Your Lips

  1. Irritation: Vicks contains potent active ingredients like camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil which can cause irritation or a burning sensation on the delicate skin of the lips.
  2. Toxicity: Camphor, one of Vicks’ active ingredients, can be toxic if ingested. Since it’s very likely some of the product will be ingested if applied to the lips, this poses a risk.
  3. Dryness: Vicks is not designed to moisturize. Instead, it may cause dryness and chapping if applied to the lips.
  4. Allergic Reactions: Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the ingredients in Vicks, leading to swelling, redness, or hives.

5 Safe Alternatives For Lip Care

  1. Lip balms and ointments: Lip-specific products, often made with ingredients like beeswax, petroleum jelly, shea butter, or oils, provide a protective barrier that locks in moisture and helps heal dry, chapped lips.
  2. Hydration: Drinking plenty of water helps hydrate your entire body, including your lips.
  3. Natural oils: Coconut, almond, and jojoba oil are excellent natural moisturizers that help keep your lips soft and hydrated.
  4. Avoid lip licking: It can be tempting to lick dry or chapped lips, but this can cause more dryness.
  5. Sun protection: Lips can get sunburned, too! Use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from harmful UV rays.

Remember, the skin on our lips is thinner and more delicate than the rest of our body, making it essential to use products specifically designed for lip care. As always, if you experience persistent dryness, chapping, or other issues with your lips, it’s best to consult a healthcare provider or dermatologist.


And there you have it, my wonderful readers! From sunburns to stuffy noses and even DIY skincare adventures, we’ve covered quite the ground today, haven’t we? Remember, Vicks VapoRub is a versatile little gem – it can soothe that painful sunburn, clear a congested nose, and even inspire you to create your version at home. However, it’s always essential to use this product responsibly. Remember that Vicks is vital, so it’s always best to apply cautiously, avoid sensitive areas, and only use it as directed. For any severe skin or respiratory issues, always seek professional medical advice. Armed with this new knowledge, you’re ready to confidently navigate your skincare and health journey! I’m so proud of you for continually learning and taking charge of your well-being. Keep shining, and stay beautiful!

Feature image @vicks_us via Instagram

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