First Aid for Icy Hot Burn

Immediate relief for Icy Hot burns or chemical burns from other Methyl Salicylate ointments such as Bengay, Bayer Muscle Joint Cream, ArthriCare Ultra Cream, and Tiger Balm:

To cool the burn, carefully wipe off excess cream with a kleenex, apply olive oil with a cotton ball, wipe off with another kleenex, and THEN wash off with water. This stops the burn within minutes. I am not a doctor, just a mom who prayed for help and is sharing the answer she got, because it really works. Let me know if it works for you too.

*IMPORTANT* IcyHot now makes a “no mess” roll on formula which leaves a film over the the active ingredients (I guess to keep it from getting on your clothes? ) If you’re burning with this formula or any other brand like it, you WILL need to wash off the film first with soap and water, and then use the olive oil trick to stop the burn. (Update: that isn’t completely stopping the burn for some people, though most say it helped somewhat. Avoid the roll-on stuff!)

Edited to put relevant information at the top: seems this is a popular problem and this answer is too hard to find! Read on if you want the whole story.

When Icy Hot gets TOO hot! How to take the burn out of Icy Hot

My five year old woke up crying with leg aches tonight. So I did what I always do for legaches: applied icy hot. Only this time it seems his skin was a bit sensitive. And icyhot doesn’t wash off so easily with water.

So anyway, my poor little guy went from whimpering to shrieking in a matter of minutes. Everyone in the house was awake now and he was in alot of pain. We couldn’t rinse off what was rubbed in. So we prayed for relief and ideas to stop the burn, and then turned to the internet.

I phrased my google search many ways but only found horror stories of men who forgot to wash their hands or who learned the hard way not to … misuse… bengay. Not exactly the best reading material for a mom and her five year old (who incidentally suddenly seemed like TOO good a reader for his age – yikes!).

So I looked up the first active ingredient. Methyl Salicylate. I found medical writeups, but they were only about accidental ingestion. And for the layman like me, instructions to call poison control if it’s eaten.

I found no good advice for getting the stuff off though! An hour later, my kid had calmed down and fallen asleep. But I was wide awake and guessing with the frequency of his leg aches it won’t be the last time this sort of thing happened. So I decided to experiment with an idea that had popped into my head several times: olive oil.

To test the theory, I rubbed a little icy hot in a few fairly sensitive places. First I tried my inner elbow, which turns out isn’t all that sensitive, but I figured it would compare to the backs-of-knees that were burning on my son.

Then, cautiously remembering not to ingest it but knowing I wasn’t about to put it on anything more sensitive, I rubbed a little on my lips. I must admit, I figured if I couldn’t get rid of the burn right away, at least I might get that Angelina Jolie pout for a moment. That didn’t work, by the way. Don’t try it… the main ingredient is poisonous if you get too much of it. And my lips burned like crazy.

But the olive oil did work. Moments after the burn kicked in, I applied the olive oil and rinsed it off, and nipped the problem in the bud. The burning stopped immediately. Even the smell disappeared. I hope if you found this article it works just as well for you.

WHAT TO DO: Remove any excess ointment with a kleenex. Do not rub it in. Douse a cotton ball in olive oil and use that to cleanse the affected area gently. Then wash it off with water. Pat the skin dry.

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE: I still plan on using icy hot; it’s a godsend on leg aches, and it even works wonders on my wrists if I abuse them with too many consecutive hours on design projects. But next time I’ll definitely do a patch test with a q-tip. If it doesn’t burn after 2 minutes, I’ll go ahead and rub it in.

NOTICE: I am not a doctor, just a desperate mom. This worked for me. I can’t guarantee it will work for you and can’t be liable. If you do decide to try it, please drop me a note on the contact form letting me know whether it did the trick. Hoping this helps someone. And typing always makes me tired, so now I’m going back to bed. Or not so much; he’s awake again with more leg aches. If you have tips for that please let me know!

Previously titled ‘How to Take the Burn out of Icy Hot’ — Trying to get this up in search engines where people who need it can find it!

331 thoughts on “First Aid for Icy Hot Burn

  1. Nathan Goldman says:

    This post was a lifesaver! My girlfriend tried Icy Hot on the backs of her knees and was crying within minutes. Water alone made it worse, but the olive oil really helped. Thanks! :)


  2. norma says:

    thanks so much!!! this is the first thing i saw when i typed it into the search engine and it seems to be working as i type!!….fyi: i used the the roll-on kind, thanks again for the simple treatment!!


  3. Jennifer says:

    This didn’t work for me. I washed my knee three different times and used the olive oil in between each wash, it still keeps burning. It took 2 hrs for it to start burning my skin.


    • Rebecca says:

      Hello,sorry you had to suffer so long. I know that everyone is different and their skin can feel like it is in fire hours later after it already penetrates. The best thing you can do is to make sure to wash the areas gently because after a hour or more it has really worked its way in deep so at this point you need to calm the heat and wipe gently. The olive oil does have a soothing affect on the skin so I would suggest after applying the oil jump in a cold shower for about a min and do this three times to calm the heat. Good luck to all because I’m going to be careful for now on. Faith


  4. Karee says:

    I had severe burning going on tonight on my neck. I used the roll on Icy Hot. My skin was getting seriously red and dark red and the pain was getting bad. I rinsed my neck off really well with a paper towel and started applying the olive oil. I kept the olive oil on for several minutes the first application, rinsed it off, then applied a lot of olive oil and left it on for about 5 minutes. The burning started to go away within the first few minutes of the second application. I then rinsed it off again and it is soooo much better. It’s still super red with only a hint of warmth. I will apply the olive oil again and rub it in and leave it, that should help it all heal up. Thank you for this post.


  5. Bryan says:

    Thanks very much for this information! It helped my wife with a burning sensation she was getting on her feet from using Lakota. The olive oil did the trick!!!! :D


  6. kandiss jackson says:

    Omg. I swear if I didn’t know any better I would think that I wrote this post! I just had the same exact thing happen with my son. He was having leg pains, “growing pains” so i put on icy hot (the roll on kind) and sure enough, a few minutes later he was in more pain and has a burn and its worse on the back of his knees. Ugh, but anyways thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing this cause the olive oil helped and I feel a lot less guilty! I was feeling so bad because I burned him and made him so much more uncomfortable.


  7. Jesikah says:

    Thank you soooo much for this post. It definitely took me about 5 washes to get my knees rid of the no-mess icy-hot off before I found relief from the olive oil step, but I encourage people to be persistent, this method will find you with relief much sooner than simply waiting it out. May I remember this lesson two years from now when I am tempted to use this product again, ugh!


  8. Laura says:

    Another big thank you! I had used icy hot before with no problems. Tonight, I was in so much pain, so quickly, that I was frightened. I was about to call poison control, but then I found your post. This time, I had just taken a warm bath before I put on the Icy Hot, and I wonder if my pores being more open is what made it so painful? Anyway, this post was a godsend. Thank you!


  9. Alexis says:

    I was in such awful pain last night I was up till two AM. I got desperate so I looked up a solution and found this. I spread it all over my right calf and ankle and within an hour I felt like I was burning. The olive oil helped, but its effects wore off in a matter of minutes. Maybe because of the roll-on. But I’m going to state something people may be thinking too. Whatever company made icyhot needs to loom I to this because its happening a LOT. It was almost dangerous because I lost all feeling in my leg but the severe pain remained. I eventually fell asleep, but still, they need to fix this.


  10. Kendra says:

    Hi there. This has worked for me after using too much Lakota, a similar product. What also works is rubbing alcohol ( I didn’t have any, hence the reason I am here!) Sometimes it is the sheer act of lying down to sleep and shutting down your other senses which magnifies the problem. I have been able to tolerate it much better while up and around in the day time.
    Thanks so much for the help! :)


  11. lindsey says:

    Oh my goodness this was the BIGGEST life saver ever. I literally ran around my house praying for relief from this awful burn. I soaked in cold water, took several cold showers and washed off, tried using vinegar for the sting, lotions and nothing was working. In desperation i turned to google praying that there would be a solution. I used the olive oil 4 times before finding relief. You are an angel sent from above now i will be able to sleep for a few hours before working 14 hours tomorrow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a million times.


  12. Crystal says:

    Thank you so much for posting this . I have degenerative disc disease and suffer from back pain. Tonight after showering I rubbed icy hot all over my back . I instantly started to feel as if someone lit a match to my back. I panicked and grabbed my tablet. This was the first one to pop up, I questioned it for a minute then said I either try it or call 911. I chose the lesser embarrassing one. To say it worked instantly would be correct . Thanks so much for helping out !


  13. Sharon says:

    A life saver indeed. I am so thankful for this post and for all the comments. I’ve been suffering from some lower leg pain related to a new exercise class. I had tried using some original Aspercreme with some results. When I happened by a display at the pharmacy with Aspercreme MAX roll-on, it seemed like it could be even easier to apply. Indeed, it was very easy to roll-on a liberal amount of this product just before tucking into bed. Unfortunately, sleep ended up being hours away as I experienced excruciating pain (an incalculable burning sensation) within about 10 minutes of application. I writhed in agony in my bed attempting different breathing and medication exercises to no avail. Finally, I convinced myself that getting up out of bed could not be any more painful than my ongoing experience. I was SO grateful when my google search finally led me to a solution from this blog. (Like others have mentioned – nearly all other hits on my search term failed to lead to suggestions for handling severe reactions to the product.) I stood on towels in my kitchen and ended up using half a bottle of olive oil over 3 applications. I was able to calm the burning significantly and then get a few hours of sleep. The next morning the pain was very dull with no signs of pain within about 18 hours of the initial application. I would gladly share the olive oil remedy and the blog where I discovered this healing solution to anyone. And, I absolutely would discourage anyone from trying Aspercreme Max roll-on. You are a blessing! Thanks for going the extra mile by helping this post stay within top search hits.


    • Velda says:

      Ah I didn’t know Apsercreme had the same ingredients! It seems there are a lot of these “warming” solutions out there that can cause an awful burn. I’m glad you’re okay!


  14. Mary says:

    I just googled and finly found this! I put a muscle gel on my sons back and shoulders and immediately he had the worse burning! His back turned fire red! I panicked but this helped! I rinsed his back with soap and water and then dried then added the olive oil. It helped so much! His shoulders are still really red but seems to be getting better! I felt like the worst mom!! I will spot check first from now on!!


  15. Giulia says:

    Thank you so much! I was getting worried because mine kept spreading, I put the olive oil and it doesn’t burn anymore!!


  16. Amanda says:

    I used the roll on icy hot on my calves and woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain. After rinsing my legs twice with dish soap to get the residual layer off I applied two coatings of olive oil rinsing with soap each time. I also applied dermalast burn spray as an added defense. The olive oil helped to soothe almost immediately and it is still calmed. As I’m laying here I can tell my legs are getting warm under the blanket and aggravating the burn. The olive oil remedy was an immediate relief and I would recommend it to anyone for temporary relief.

    As for the leg cramps in children, try using tums. I had unbearable leg cramps as a child going up, I would grow so much at once every time I had a cramping experience we would have to buy new pants. The tums really worked for me and I could chew almost as many as I could stand and not have to worry about harmful side effects. The calcium in the tums gets absorbed and helps to assist in the breakdown and building of new bone alleviating the stress on the body. My pediatrician recommended it then and I still use the remedy today.


  17. Jenny says:

    I used a cream with capsaicin & woke up in the middle of the night on fire!! I used way too much & had a slight sunburn I forgot about! I ended up trying aloe juice (from a jug) before the olive oil. The aloe juice worked right away!


  18. Cathy says:

    Thank you. I put some aspercreme on my 12 year olds back and 20 min. Later he was in pain. I told him to hop in the shower (bad idea) then I tried Vaseline ( limited success) then isearched the net and found your technique. It worked immediately! Thank you for posting this.


  19. Nancy says:

    Lifesaver! Put it on my teens lower back and about 45 mins later he was screaming in agony. Me, having the “more is more ” thought process rubbed it all over his lower back … Oh boy! He looked like he had the worst sunburn of his short life and it was angry and raw looking. I googled and found this website. Ran to closest store, paid WAY too much for olive oil but it was soooo worth it! He felt better immediately and I could see the redness lesson quickly. Still red but he is feeling so much better and I thank you for posting this solution. Never heard of it and never would have thought of it! Whew feel awful as a mom that I caused my son more pain but am so relieved I was able to take some of it away with your simple solution. Thank u thank u thank u!


  20. Andrea says:

    I’m 15 years old and my back was in pain so I put that role on stuff on my back and went to sleep about 1 hour later I woke up and my back was itchy and red! So I waded it off I even lay on the cold floor I grabbed a towel and ice trying to cool it down / get any of it off. But I can really reach to put the oil and it burns so bad! I’m hoping maybe the ice will help just as much cause I’m tired


    • Velda says:

      Hope you’re feeling better, since thus trick is less effective after several hours. Do you have someone who can help you?


  21. Grateful Mom says:

    Thank you so very much!!!! My daughter just had the same burning reaction from generic icy hot roll-on applied to her legs! Her skin is not burning now but she has red patches on her knees and up & down her lower legs where it was applied! My husband & I have used these products for years & have never had a reaction such as this. I am SO grateful for finding this information and to YOU for making the effort to inform others!


  22. Susan Rhodes says:

    okay, so I reached for my deodorant, absentmindedly applying it, only to realize about 30 seconds later that it was Icy Hot. Oh no! I ran out to my deck (where there’s a shower), threw off my clothes, and rinsed it off. But it still burned so I got on the Internet and found your post. I liberally applied olive oil, sat for a couple of minutes, and rinsed it off. The burning isn’t 100% gone but it’s much better. (But I think I’d better move the “deodorant” so it doesn’t happen again!)


    • Velda says:

      Wow, OUCH! That icy hot roll-on type is much harder to get rid of. The best tips I’ve found so far: soap and water first to break the film, then the oil to clear out the heat.


  23. Sarah says:

    We applied Icy Hot roll-on to my 15-yo’s back shoulder area. He came in about 20 minutes later to tell me it was burning really bad, and that he had tried to wipe it off. I looked and saw welts and very red skin. He got into the shower and washed it off, with somewhat cool water and then as cold as he could stand. I then applied a very thick layer of aloe gel…he went and laid down on hi stomach and a couple minutes later said it was like a switch – it was burning and then the aloe kicked in and it stopped hurting. He had me check it. The welts are gone completely and the redness has lightened considerably. After researching, I found this post, and another where it seemed to be a trend that burns occurred when the product was expired. I hadn’t even checked!! We checked, and ours WAS expired :/ This product should not be on the market based on all of the reviews I’ve seen tonight!! I had no idea this could happen. I’m glad people are fighting to have the labels changed to let people know that burns are a risk. I honestly had no idea, since I’ve used this product before (as has my son) before with no issues. So thankful he got relief and knew something was wrong before it got too bad.


  24. Caroline says:

    My 17 year old Cross Country Runner woke me up at 12:30a because he was in so much pain! He had used the roll on Icy Hot about two hours earlier and had gone to bed. Within an hour he woke up and his leg was on fire from the burn. He had tried cold water but it didn’t help. He had found this website recommending olive oil and finding that we didn’t have any had woke me up in absolute tears from the pain! 17 year old boys don’t cry anymore! I read this website too and I did try Aloe Vera but it only helped for moments before the burn set back in. So at 1am I am at the grocery store buying Tylenol and olive oil. Within moments of applying the olive oil the burn started to subside, thank goodness! Made the weird looks from the grocery store clerk all worth it! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ellie Nath says:

    Omg thank goodness this was put on the Internet! I’m been laying on my bed throbbing with my thighs burning. (I only put it there for soreness since my mom says ice works well & the ice maker was broken)


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