Vicks VapoRub For Acne & Spots – Can It Help?

Vick’s VapoRub is a commonly used medicinal product when it comes to treating a cough. But what about acne, spots and pimples?

VapoRub is a topical ointment, used most often on the chest to relieve symptoms. The essential oils and carefully picked ingredients that VapoRub contains make for an incredibly effective product.

So much so, that it’s America’s number one selling cough product for children!

However, VapoRub is making a name for itself when it comes to relieving other ailments, including acne.

Related: Best tea tree oils for acne

Can VapoRub Help Acne?

What we haven’t yet mentioned is the role that Vick’s VapoRub plays in treating acne. It’s apparently another of the product’s alternative uses.



Take a look at VapoRub’s ingredients list and you’ll find a whole host of natural ingredients. Some of these are known to be effective in treating acne. Let’s take a look…

  • Menthol

Giving VapoRub its strong scent, Menthol is an anti-inflammatory ingredient. It even offers a cooling sensation, which is often a welcome side effect when it comes to treating particularly painful acne flare-ups.

Menthol helps to aid the absorption of other ingredients, which means those other beneficial ingredients found in VapoRub are getting to work their full effects.


  • Camphor

This natural waxy substance offers anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. As acne often signals soreness and bacteria, Camphor appears to be a great ingredient when it comes to treating flare-ups.

  • Cedar Leaf Oil

Helping to regulate skin’s sebum production, Cedar Leaf oil is a great ingredient to prevent acne. Less sebum means less clogging of pores and ultimately can reduce breakouts.

  • Eucalyptus Oil

This is one of the main active ingredients found in VapoRub and it offers antibacterial properties. Therefore, helping to fight the bacteria causing acne breakouts.


  • Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly, petrolatum is one of the inactive ingredients in VapoRub that essentially forms the base of the product.

It has a greasy feel which leads some people to believe it is comedogenic (pore clogging), however this is not the case.

In fact, petrolatum is moisturizing and creates a barrier on the skin preventing bacteria from getting in – ideal when it comes to treating acne and pimples.

Another pro of using Vick’s VapoRub as an acne treatment is the cost. Many effective acne treatments can be expensive, however a medium-sized tub will only set you back around $3-$4.


Whilst the ingredients and price are looking good, there is one con to be mindful of:

  • Don’t Use on Broken Skin

Vick’s even states this on the VapoRub packaging. Therefore, it’s important not to apply VapoRub to any already broken pimples. This is due to the Camphor being potentially toxic, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

How to Use VapoRub as an Acne Treatment

This won’t take long…


All you need to do is take some of the VapoRub, (you can use a cotton bud to keep the pot sanitary) and apply to problem areas on the face.

Leave overnight and repeat the same process each night until acne clears up!

Other VapoRub uses

Search on Google and you’ll find pages and pages of uses for VapoRub. Some of these make sense. Take using it as a muscle rub as an example.

It can improve circulation and have your muscles feeling less achy in no time.

Whilst that doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary, there are plenty of odd uses too. We’ve rounded up a few of the strangest:

  • Reduces stretch marks

Women, and men, all over the world have often searched for the perfect stretch mark cure. Most of us at some point or another will get them, whether through pregnancy or growth spurts.

However, Vick’s VapoRub has been reported to be the perfect treatment, working in just a fortnight.

Rub in every day and stretch marks will diminish to slight silvery marks that are barely noticeable.

  • Eases Eczema 

VapoRub is reported to soothe the inflammation that eczema sufferers deal with. Even helping to eliminate that awful itching sensation which often just worsens the condition.

  • Headache Eliminator 

Rubbing a small amount of Vick’s VapoRub on your head can help to relieve pressure and tension associated with a headache.

It’s all thanks to the ‘mentholated scent’ which will rid you of your head pains in no time.

  • Keeps Racehorses Focused? 

Okay, this one is just downright bizarre, but apparently true. Male racehorses can get distracted by the scent of their female competitors during a race.

However, you can eliminate this problem by rubbing a little VapoRub under their noses. Okay then….!

Final Thoughts?

So it seems that VapoRub has the potential to be a pretty effective acne treatment. If you’ve tried everything and anything so far to no avail, then it’s a no brainer – especially considering the cost!

However, please remember to take caution when using a product, like VapoRub, for purposes other than its intended use. Particularly if you have sensitive skin!

Everyone has different skin types and reacts differently to products. Therefore, it’s advised that you patch test a small amount of Vick’s VapoRub on a small area (e.g behind the ear) or on a small blemish, to see how you react.

Note Always use caution and if in doubt, consult your physician.


Q: Won’t the petrolatum in VapoRub clog my pores?

A: No! It’s a common misconception that petrolatum block pores and causes more breakouts. Instead, it acts as a barrier.

This means it can prevent bacteria and other nasties from getting into the skin. It does not, however, seep into the pores itself. Clever stuff!

Q: Where can I get my hands on Vick’s VapoRub?

Luckily, VapoRub is widely available and won’t take you long to track down. If you’re so desperate to get your hands on it you can’t wait for an online delivery to come, you can pop down to your local chemist or drugstore (even supermarkets).

It’s even been known to make an appearance in discount stores…

Q: Does VapoRub really work on acne?

A: Whilst we can’t guarantee results for you (everyone has different skin and needs) there’s certainly a lot of online evidence to back up these acne-busting claims.

For example, take a look at this article, or even this one. Still not convinced? Perhaps try it, and you’ll be surprised!

Over to you – have you ever used Vicks VapoRub to treat acne or pimples? Let us know in the comments!

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