Can You Really Use Vicks To Treat Acne?

Vicks should be a staple in anyone's household. The strong menthol and eucalyptus smell can be comforting while you're sick. Even though it's topical, the relief Vicks can bring to someone with a congested chest or stuffy nose is immense. And for anyone from a Latinx background, Vicks VapoRub, or Vivaporu, is known to be a cure-all ointment, notes the Los Angeles Times – not only will it act as a superstitious treatment for any sickness, but Vick's is thought to be good for just about anything.

In fact, even outside of the Latinx community, many people specifically see Vicks as a great remedy for pimples. Unlike some other urban legend skin hacks like toothpaste, Vicks is thought to be great to dry out pimples overnight or to help with a host of other skin issues. But even though the thought of having a cure-all treatment in your home is comforting, Vicks may not the godsend you might have heard of — at least when it comes to acne.

Vicks does have ingredients that might help with acne

A Quora post about acne and Vicks asked what would happen if Vicks was put on a pimple. The top recommended reply said that, yes, Vicks should dry out "all of the puss and grossness" along with the pimple. It sounded like the person was speaking from personal experience, and they noted that it has helped with scarring, redness, cystic acne, and more. Another user wrote that Vicks could "calm down acne flare-ups." This is thought to be because of the product's anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, including menthol.

Moreover, Healthline reported on this trend as well, noting that Vicks can be known as an at-home miracle treatment, especially when it comes to surprise pimples or cystic acne. According to Healthline, camphor, eucalyptus oil, and the aforementioned menthol should all help. Camphor is a cough suppressant and topical painkiller, which helps with congested chests. By itself, Camphor is known as a good acne treatment, and StyleCraze reported that it has many other proposed uses. They also report that menthol has cleansing properties, making for another good ingredient.

However, individually good products blended together don't necessarily make an item like Vicks a good remedy for acne — in fact, it could actually increase your problems.

Vicks on acne-prone skin is a risk

Dr. Julia Tzu, founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology, told Insider, "Vicks contains camphor and menthol which soothes and provides a cooling sensation to the skin, but it doesn't treat acne." Plus, as StyleCraze reported, eucalyptus oil was thought to be good on skin or acne because it's known to treat certain skin issues, including abscesses, fungal infections, boils, and burns. But all of those good properties go out the window thanks to the risk petroleum jelly poses to the skin.

Petroleum jelly — one of the main ingredients — is not good for people with acne-prone skin. This is because it's a "thick, greasy vehicle that can easily clog pores and promote the cascade of further acne," according to Dr. Mitchell Manway, via Healthline. The site notes that using it as a spot treatment on new pimples isn't dangerous, but it's a big risk and could trap dead skin and other gunk in your pores and further your problems.

So what can you use if you get a massive pimple and need to shrink it overnight, but don't have your favorite spot cream? Healthline's experts say that anything with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is going to be a better at-home choice than going for that tub of Vicks.