Vicks Vapor Rub for Acne, Sores and More!

Many will remember the days of when teenage years were blighted by acne. It left adolescents feeling unwanted, embarrassed and ugly. These feelings are particularly volatile in young adults, as they strive to fit in to a society growing around them. But acne isn’t a skin condition exclusively for unfortunate teens. Adults can also suffer with it, long after they have grown out of those difficult years.

Most people will avoid severe acne but almost everyone gets an odd pimple or blackhead. It will be located in a facial area, making one feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.

The world of technology has allowed us to search through the internet, looking for cures and relief from this condition. One such directive puts the Vicks Vapor Rub gel into the spotlight.

Time and time again when we scour the net looking for answers, it is this petroleum gel that gets the green light from many users. But what is the truth behind this theory, and does it stand up to the tests of an independent reviewer?

Vicks Vapor Rub for Acne, Sores and More!
Image c/o Tatsuo Yamashita.

What’s the Word on the Internet?

Health and beauty bloggers are all over the internet lately. In particular, they seem to blog about home remedies for acne and we see more than one or two testimonials – often tucked away in the comments sections – touting Vicks Vapor Rub for acne as a great solution. But why? 

Why Do Some People Get Acne?

There is no one stand out reason, more a number of varying factors behind the condition. However, the commonest reasons include dying skin cells and a build-up of bacteria in the hair follicles. Oil can also gather in these tiny pockets and the entire process is exacerbated by hormonal changes. Teenagers go through powerful and unsettling periods in their lifetime as hormones adapt and develop for adulthood.

The bacteria thrives in the tiny pores of the skin and this will cause a natural process of inflammation. Once inflamed, the blackheads (or whiteheads) begin to form.

Where Does Vicks Vapor Rub Come Into Play?

Vicks Vapor Rub is a petroleum gel that is used to rub on the chest of someone suffering from a heavy cold or influenza. It helps us to breathe more easily. These conditions are nothing to do with zits and blackheads, so how do people use Vicks Vapor Rub for acne?

Apparently, the method is to dab a small amount of Vicks Vapor Rub onto the affected area and leave for about four hours. The claim is that the pimples will become less red, swelling reduced and spots should disappear within two days.

Why Does Vicks Vapor Rub for Acne Help?

Looking under the hood of what is inside the vapor gel is important. This can go a long way in determining whether the claims made actually stand up. The formula, which makes up Vicks Vapor Rub, is a simple one. To look at each ingredient and decide if there are any effective parts to the gel, that might help to relieve the onset of acne, you have to look at each one separately.


Camphor is a wax-like substance, white in colour. It has a distinctive odor, similar to eucalyptus, which is what gives Vicks its strong scent. Aromatherapists use it to help treat and relieve coughing. It is also known to help relieve fungal infections and irritating skin complaints. You should never take it orally and don’t use it on broken skin.

As acne is a series of pimples where many have “popped” it means there is broken skin present. Camphor is safe to use on those pimples which have not yet popped, as the ingredient acts as an effective anti-inflammatory and an anti-fungal agent.


Eucalyptus oil is a great remedy for bronchitis and acts as an effective antibacterial agent. However, used on its own, it can cause skin irritation or mild burning. So, you should only use it as an effective relief for acne when diluted – as it is within Vicks Vapor Rub.

Vicks Vapor Rub for Acne, Sores and More!


Many people will have heard of menthol as it is a commonly used ingredient. Menthol treats most skin irritations, coughs, sunburn relief and general colds and flu symptoms. It should be regarded as an effective ingredient in tackling acne.

Cedar Leaf Oil

Known as an “essential” oil, cedar leaf treats burns, rashes and acne. It regulates the amount of sebum produced by the body. Sebum is the oily substance created by the body, which in turn contributes to the onset of acne.

Nutmeg Oil

When the nutmeg fruit is distilled, it lets off steam which will in turn become an oil. It is an anti-inflammatory and helps to make the overall appearance of skin toned and clean looking. It also helps to clear up scar tissue caused by acne damage.


Known as petroleum jelly in Europe, petrolatum is a paraffin wax that binds all the ingredients of Vicks Vapor Rub together. As an element on its own, it is not recommended as an efficient remedy for acne. It has been linked to premature ageing of the skin and not recommended as an agent to apply to open wounds.


Thymol is a safe ingredient broken down from a variety of plants. It is a biocide with little or no risk of toxicity. It acts as a natural antiseptic and is a vital ingredient that makes Vicks Vapor Rub for acne such an effective treatment.

Turpentine Oil

Most people will regard turpentine oil as an applicant used in home improvement wares. It certainly sounds as though it is unsuitable for skin applications. However, used in small amounts, it is safe for using on acne spots and can double up as an effective topical pain relief ingredient.

Give Vicks Vapor Rub For Acne a Go!

Most of the ingredients used in Vicks Vapor Rub are used by holistic therapists and natural treatments to combat acne. But the human skin actually needs some bacteria. It is only certain types of bacteria that can cause problems.

It is also worth noting that Vicks cannot address the hormonal changes in young people which cause acne to flourish. That being said, it’s still worth a go!

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