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. There were no ideas on the label for what to do (only a warning I’d never noticed: not for kids under 12!) 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!


  1. Jill

    Thank you!! Helped me when my skin was on fire! For the leg aches, I assume you’ve tried magnesium and other useful supplements for the aches? Baths have always helped my leg aches quite a bit . Also stretching before bed and after I wake up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms. V

      Baths definitely do help. Our doctor told us he and I both have something like Raynaud’s and that the easier way to avoid the issue is by staying warm in the first place. But if we’re to the point of cramping and what not, a bath or a hot water bottle is the best bet.


      1. Stephanie

        I’ve never written a comment on a blog post before but I just have to give the glory to God! Also, to thank you for your post! I was in burning pain for about 30 minutes after applying the icy hot roll on. I tried washing it off but it didn’t help. I did exactly what you advised with the olive oil and wow! The burning pain and redness is gone! I’ve shared your post with my family and friends so they know what to do if this ever happens to them. Thank you so much!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Tay

      Omg this saved my life. I applied too much roll on icy hot and felt like my shoulder was melting off. I tried everything and nothing worked. Until I found this! The burning went away in minutes. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lindsey

    I have never had a reaction to icy hot before. Just tonight I had a really sore/tight calf muscle, so I stopped after work to grab some icy hot and never thought any different of it. I got a roll on one. HUGE MISTAKE! At first everything started fine then after a few hours the pain got so intense I couldn’t sleep. I had to use your trick a couple times to get the burning to calm down but it really does work!! Definitely use soap and water to get the roll on stuff off your skin first. Thank you so much for this trick though. It helped immensely


  3. Teresa Rapes

    I put icy hot on my ankles. After a little while my ankles started burning. I went and got in the tub and let my ankles spoke and wash my ankles. Soke in the tub for awhile and repeatedly wash my ankles. Got out of tub and laid down. Still burning and this is 3:30 am. Back to the tub to soke my ankles and washing my ankles. Got out and look on Google. Went and got the olive oil and put a little on still burning. A little while later poorer olive oil on my ankles. STILL BURNING!!!HELP…


  4. Strph

    You are a genius! And my new favorite person in the world. Although it did not take all the pain away. It helped to take away a about 75% of the unbearable burning. I only wish I had found this sooner for my sister, we didn’t realize this is what was causing it for her ( she has very sensitive skin, she usually uses the cream but bought a roll on bottle to keep at work. She works around food and didn’t want to risk putting it on with her hands. She got horrible 2nd degree Brunson her back and shoulders. I fortunately had only used it once, so mine won’t take as long to heal. But thanks to you, I may actually be able to get some decent sleep tonight! You are a RockStar!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms. V

      That roll-on stuff needs a warning label. I’ve never used it, but several commenters have and they too could not get total relief. Sorry y’all were stuck with some burning! But I’m glad you found this anyway.


    2. Donine Henshaw

      IT WORKS!!! You saved me! Just finished Round 3. Use DAWN DISHWASHING LIQUID. It’s the only soap where I saw a difference. This is on my left palm/fingers. I applied a different menthol-containing product on my back, washed my hands with liquid hand soap and it spread the menthol. An hour later, I was desperate and found your post. I poured a tablespoon in my palm, got it all over the palm and fingers , waited, used a glycerine bar soap & began thinking the soaps were part of the problem. I switched to Dawn (free & clear) Natural dish soap and huge difference. I would use any type of Dawn instead of any other soap. Dawn cuts through the oil residue, too. I’m 80% better! I will NEVER use any menthol product ever again. God bless you. I can’t thank you enough!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill W

    I had applied Icy Hot to my knee.. the burn was HOT but I blew it off as to say it’s penetrating it is going to work. Hours later my knee was still of fire and when I looked at it the skin looked like I was deformed. Looked like a burn.. read this blog and yup, chemical burn indeed. Washed it with cool water and soap and applied fresh aloe. Immediately took the burn away. As the aloe dries the burn came back, going to reapply. If it keeps up will try the olive oil. Wow..that hurt..


  6. jennifer young

    Thank you very much!! I was ready to take my teenager to a quick care! After hurting his back at basketball practice we iced, heating pad, and then the roll on, immediate red, burn, and intense pain! He showered to wash it off and put aloe on, nothing helped! Found your post about olive oil and immediately helped the pain and red burn gone!! Thank you!!


  7. Cindy

    I used the roll on icy hot for the 1st time tonight on my lower back & hip & after a few minutes it began burning a lot. I got out of bed to look at it & saw my back & hip were really red & inflamed. It really hurt to the point I could not relax & go back to sleep. I goggled what to do & your site came up first. I applied the olive oil & wiped it off with a damp cloth. It lessened the pain immediately but didn’t totally take it away yet. After I’m done typing this I’m going to put some more Olive oil on it & let it sit for a few minutes then wipe it off. I’m sure that will do the trick. I praise God along with you for this solution he gave you to share with so many of us who desperately needed it tool Thank you, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda D

      Hi! I’m so glad I found this post last night. My boyfriend tried to help me with my sore back because I hurt it in dance class. It started burning all over my back, and I tried washing it off but it still burned. Immediately after we did the olive oil, it went away. Just like magic! I’ve forgiven him but also was very unnecessary night haha! This was the only post that helped.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ruth Ann

    Thank you very much cause the roll on icy hot started to burn my boyfriend’s skin and I went out and bought a bottle of olive oil and cotton and did exactly what you said about 1 minute later he said that it didn’t burn no more so thank you and god bless


  9. callmekell

    My knees were on fire. I tried washing off with soap with no luck, but got some relief from pouring cold milk over them. I imagine plain yogurt would probably work too.


  10. Laura

    Tried a “milk bath” – worked like a charm! Took a cup of milk, waded up paper towels, dipped and saturated the wad then used as a compress. Blog and squeeze milk on burn. Tada! Remembered something about how milk and counteract chili peppers effect. Hope works for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Barb

    Thank you so much. I did the roll on set my legs on fire. I was ok with that at work to get my mind off my pain. But at bed time still on fire. My little girl touching my leg made it worse. Did your trick after my husband got done laughing at me asking him where the olive oil is. I agree with the other girl took 75% of the burn out. Im glad because im ready for bed


  12. Toddler terror

    My 3 year old is quite the handful- turn your back for a moment and he will find things you didn’t know you still owned!
    We were getting ourselves ready to head to our oldest sons baseball game and suddenly the 3 year old was shrieking and raising his hands above his head. I pulled his shirt off thinking something was inside and found myself instantly wondering why I smelled menthol…
    Turns out he found the roll in icy hot and thought it was deodorant, “like moms armpits!”
    Needless to say the memories of putting icy hot on as a teen after a game and then showering later and the burning feeling that won’t wash off- I was not sure how this was going to turn out… took a wet cloth and wiped his armpits- no luck, still shrieking. Dry cloth, again no go… Finally turned to google- “toddler uses icy hot, how to stop the burn” and got this website. You are a godsend… we had already wiped the stuff off so went straight to the Cotton balls and olive oil! Immediate relief!
    Thank you!
    His poor pits were red, but no burning sensation!


    1. supernovia

      Oh no! Poor kiddo just trying to be grown up! They really need to put some warnings on those things, though I also remember my kids being able to get into _everything_ at that age. My son once gave my daughter “four” cough syrups. I asked him how much and he showed me a pouring motion and said “One, two, free, four!” 😮 😮 That was an ER visit. Thankfully they grew out of that 😉

      Anyway. I’m so glad you found this and that your kiddo is okay. Thanks for sharing your story!


  13. Roxana Camacho

    Hello, my fiancé had an icy hot burn in an area that he needed to fix right away. I read this article and followed the steps you stated and it worked in minutes. The olive oil worked! Thank you!


  14. Alaina

    Thank heaven for you, mom hacks for the win!! Man I thought I was waking my 1 year up and heading to the emergency room at midnight almost until i approached this magic! Life saver! Literally pain lessened in 2 minutes. Thank you from the inside of my burning calves!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lu

    Thank you for posting this i put icy hot on my back bc it hurts so bad at night. I decided to try it I have very fair and sensitive skin it was late I put it on it was the roll on one, but it wasn’t till about an hour later I felt like I was on fire. It was burning so bad I was begging god for help. Then I got my phone out and googled how to get it off your article came up. Thank you. So much thank you thank you. I thought I was going to have to wake my husband and 5 kids to take me to the er. But the police oil have me enough relief that I didn’t have to. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Daniel M

    I am a medical student in New York City. I strained my neck pretty bad yesterday and wanted to use some roll on icy hot for relief. I put that sucker on, and about 20 minutes later my neck was on fire. Really red and painful. I tried to wash it off in the shower, but had no improvement. Came across this article and boy oh boy I’m feeling good now. Rubbed a half cup of olive oil on my neck and hopped in the shower. Feel so much better. Hope you smile knowing you taught a medical student some useful knowledge! Thanks for your help!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Daniel M

      Also, I just realized why olive oil works. Capsaicin (the ingredient that makes Icy Hot “burn) is nonpolar. In basic chemistry we learn the principle that “like dissolves like.” In other words, only polar molecules will dissolve polar molecules, and similarly, nonpolar molecules will dissolve nonpolar molecules. Capsaicin is nonpolar. Water is polar. Fat is nonpolar. This is why fat (olive oil or milk or ice cream or anything with a lot of fat) will soothe the burn from capsaicin (by dissolving it), but water will not help. Ok, that was the science explanation for why your remedy works. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. supernovia

        How cool! Thanks for sharing the science bit. I didn’t get a lot of higher education, but I do love to learn. And I’m glad you are feeling better.


  17. S

    You literally saved my butt. I was at the hospital earlier today for some medical issues. When I came back I realized that my lower back was swollen and I was in a lot of pain. My mother and I think that the main cause was my anxiety and the adrenaline coursing through me. I could’ve twisted and tensed the wrong way.
    Anyways, I put on some JR Watkin Warming Balm. I didn’t feel anything at first but after a couple seconds, it sunk in. I have fairly sensitive skin, but since my grandmother who had extremely thin skin used it, I thought it would be fine. The heat came in and kept getting worse and worse. I hopped into the bath and tried taking a medicine bath with Selsun Blue. Bad idea. So I got out and got in the shower. Nope. I was desperately looking up ways to get menthol based balms off but got nearly nothing related to my issue. Found this blog post and I have to say thank you thank you thank you! I cleaned the surface again with a cold wash cloth and then put the oil on. It worked so well. Thank you! I hope you and your child are still doing well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Amber Brooks

        So I had some really bad leg pain during the morning and I put the Roll on Icy Hot on my joints on my knees and went about my day. Here it is 2 in the morning and I’m woke up with the hottest burning sensation in the entire world I literally felt like grease was being poured onto my knees. My legs were red and inflamed and swollen and I was almost in tears. After frantically searching the web for a solution to make it stop burning even after I took a shower I came across this post and suggestion of the olive oil and then washing with soap. I was pretty sure that the trick wasn’t going to work


  18. Amber Brooks

    Continued post: I was pretty sure the truck wasn’t going to work because it was already soaked into my skin all day but let me tell you this was a lifesaver the olive oil I gently rubbed in and if they come out and then set on the sink and washed it off gently with Dawn soap and let cold water run over my knees for about 1 minute each. I was pretty sure I was going to have a very painful rest of my night with no sleep but this work wonders thank you so much for posting and saving me.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Gladymar Torres

    It works! Saved me a trip to the hospital. My both knees where on fire and red with hives, rub the olive oil and it worked! There was no solution but this post! Saved my night! Thanks a lot! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Amy Mungons

    Thank you for this article. I applied the roll on to my upper back and neck. After falling asleep for 2 hrs I woke up feeling like I was on fire 🔥 I was sweating so bad as well. I washed everything off and still nothing. I was in a panic. I found your article and went to the kitchen, pulled out the olive oil and did the steps. About 15 minutes later I fell back to sleep and woke up later than normal. The burning is gone. Thank you thank you cause I don’t need another medical bull at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Gauge Shelton

    Thank you so much for his post. It’s currently 3am and my back was on absolute fire and keeping me up. It was worse than the backache itself and I had no idea what to do. The burning sensation is still there but after the olive oil it’s at a tolerable point and not excruciating pain and heat, this helped me so much.


  22. Anita

    THANK YOU for this! We had no idea the roll on would burn us both! My husband is in agonizing distress , can’t sleep, pains too much. We both used this, but I put it all over his back and down the entire legs, he is a …hot mess…lol but awful. I used soap and water first, the burning increased, then oil. I am feeling it calm down and he is finally asleep. I am concerned with the redness all over, He was still burning, but not as bad as before the oil.. They Need a big warning label .on pkg, this was not a good experience. Thanks for posting this, it literally saved us.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. chelse

    Thank you so so so so so much! I thought my knee was going to melt off after using the roll on. I didn’t have olive oil, but I had vegetable oil, and that worked too. I was about to go to the ER. The pain was intense! Especially when I tried to wash it off repeatedly with soap and water.

    I never comment on sites like this, but I just had to thank you.


  24. Denise

    13 years later, this article is still a life saver! It took 2 applications of olive oil and rinsing, which I finished off with fresh aloe from my plant and it was the only thing that brought relief. Thank you, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Kalina

    Wow, I could not believe there were so many people facing the same problem!
    My 12 year old was having a back ache and I applied for a second night a cream that heats the skin right before she was going to bed. I thought she was asleep when an hour later she calls to say she cannot sleep because she is in enormous pain and her back hurts so much from burning. I immediately check and the area where i put the cream is very red. I thought probably the only way is to wash with soap and water and she does that but it still burns and she is crying…Then I start googling how to reduce the burning from icy hot because I remembered that it is similar to the cream I used…and thanks god for that because then I immediately find this article and we go straight to putting olive oil on her skin. I rubbed her two times with olive oil and then wiped it off with a cotton ball. She said she felt so much better and now went back to bed. She said it still felt warm but much better, not painful like before. Then I finished reading all the reviews and decided to leave one of my own:) Thank you, you saved the night (it is midnight) and my nerves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. supernovia

      Thank you! If you don’t mind my asking, what was the cream you used? I’ll add it to the article so others can find this even if they aren’t familiar with Icy Hot.


  26. Michelle Moore

    Thank you soooo Much!!’Im up in the middle of the night on Fire from the Icy Hot roller ball but I’ve used it before but this burned like Lava! My elbows & inside of my elbows were killing me from Arthritis …Thanks to you the Soap,water & Olive oil made it Bearable and almost took the sensation completely away.I had to go thru the motions a few times but it works!!

    Liked by 1 person

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