Icy Hot is a local pain reliever used for minor arthritis pain, joint pain, sprains, bruises, cramps, and muscles. It is available over the counter in 14 different products with eight different recipes. Depending on the Icy Hot product you buy, it can be applied to the affected part of the body as a patch, cream, gel, dry spray, stick, or sleeve.
The active ingredients in Icy Hot formulations are menthol alone, a combination of menthol and methyl salicylate, menthol and camphor, or menthol and lidocaine (a local anesthetic). These ingredients produce a cooling sensation followed by a warm sensation ("icy" then "hot") that relieves pain.
The manufacturer offers all formulations for the relief of mild pain associated with arthritis , simple back pain, muscle pain, sprains, strains, bruises or cramps. All products are intended for external use only.
Few studies have been conducted to investigate the clinical utility of such patches and most of them were of poor quality.
Read the ingredients on the label as they differ from Icy Hot's similar sounding products. Some concentrations are stronger than others. All Icy Hot products indicate that they are intended for adults and should not be used by children under 12 years of age without the approval of a pediatrician.
The Icy Hot product label warnings read as follows:
- Use only as directed.
- Avoid contact with eyes or mucous membranes.
- Do not apply to wounds or irritated, broken or damaged skin.
- Do not bandage it tightly or use a heating pad.
- If you are prone to allergies to aspirin or salicylates , talk to your doctor before using products that contain methyl salicylate.
- Do not apply to skin folds.
- Do not expose the treated area to direct sunlight or heat.
- In case of severe burning sensation, discontinue use immediately.
In September 2012, the FDA warned consumers that topical pain relievers can cause first to third degree chemical burns where the product is applied. This includes topical pain relievers (creams, ointments, lotions, and patches), such as menthol, methyl salicylate, lidocaine, or capsaicin .
Compositions and dosages
A wide range of different products is presented under the Icy Hot brand.
Frosted hot back patch
Icy Hot Back Patch contains 5% menthol in an adhesive pad that is applied to the affected area, in various sizes (regular and XL) available for the back and other large areas of the body. The Icy Hot Back Patch can be worn for up to eight hours. Repeat up to three times a day.
Another product, Advanced Relief Patch, contains 7.5% menthol and can be used for up to 12 hours once a day.
The hot lidocaine patch with ice contains 4% lidocaine and 1% menthol. It can be worn for up to 12 hours, but you should only wear one bandage on the body at a time.
Hot ice sleeve
You can apply the sleeve for up to eight hours and up to three times a day. Follow the instructions for correct sleeve placement.
Iced hot balm
Icy Hot Balm contains 7.6% menthol and 29% methyl salicylate, which has a higher concentration than other Icy Hot products (the label indicates that the balm has "higher strength").
The product is applied to the affected area, massaged until absorbed and repeated up to four times a day. The balm is available in a 3.5 oz can.
Hot ice cream without mess
Icy Hot No Mess is a roll-on applicator. It dries quickly and does not stain. The 2.5 oz bottle contains 16% menthol as the active ingredient. Apply to the affected area and massage into the skin. Repeat up to four times a day.
There is also another medication available (hot iced no-mess lidocaine) that contains 4% lidocaine and 1% menthol. Apply to the affected area every six to eight hours, up to three times a day.
Icy hot dry spray
Icy Hot Spray is a continuous spray formula containing 16% menthol. The product dries quickly, so there is no need to massage it after spraying it on the affected area. You can repeat this up to three or four times a day.
There is another formulation available (iced hot lidocaine dry spray) that contains 4% lidocaine and 1% menthol. Spray the product on the affected area every six to eight hours, up to three times a day.
These products are highly flammable; do not use them while smoking, near sources of heat or flames. Read their labels for further instructions.
Hot Power Ice Gel
Icy Hot Power Gel is a fast drying formula with 16% menthol.
The instructions indicate that a thin layer of the product should be applied to the affected area, rubbed into the skin and repeated up to three or four times a day.
Ice Hot Fade scent gel
Icy Hot Vanishing Scent comes in a 2.5 oz tube with a sponge applicator. The active ingredient is 2.5% menthol. The instructions indicate that the product should be squeezed over the affected area. Then use the sponge applicator to rub it in until it is completely absorbed.
It can be repeated a maximum of four times a day. The smell disappears quickly after application.
Hot cream ice cream
Ice Hot Cream is a non-greasy formulation that acts immediately on contact.
There are three different versions of this cream:
- Hot Ice Cream contains 10% menthol and 30% methyl salicylate and is available in 1.25 oz and 3 oz tubes.
- Icy Hot Advanced Cream contains 11% camphor and 16% menthol, two higher concentrations for maximum pain relief. It is available in a 2 oz tube.
- Lidocaine ice cream contains 4% lidocaine and 1% menthol. It is available in 1.75 oz and 2.7 oz tubes.
Products should be applied to the affected area, massaged to improve absorption, and repeated up to four times a day.
Get the word of drug information
Icy Hot continues to improve its delivery systems. These lineups are likely to change over time: new ones will be added, old ones will be renamed, and less popular forms will be discontinued.
You can find brands similar to Icy Hot in stores, like Walgreen's Cool N Heat. Compare these products by price and ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
The best way to treat a chemical burn is to remove the irritating substance by rinsing it with cold water for 15 minutes. You can then bandage the burn with a sterile bandage to protect it.
No, Icy Hot does not relieve inflammation. Icy Hot creates a sensation of freshness and warmth on the skin, which actually "lessens" the pain.