Does Icy Hot or Bengay Expire? | What You Need to Know


It’s not uncommon to have icy hot or any other analgesic cream sitting around in the bathroom or medicine cabinet for many years. Recently, I found a tub under the sink that has been in there for at least 5 years. So, I did some research to see if it was safe to use, and this is what I found out.

Topical analgesic creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot do expire after some time. However, you can still use these creams without any risk of danger or harm. After the listed expiration date, both Bengay and Icy Hot will gradually lose potency until there is no longer any effect.

However, there was a case documented several years ago where someone had serious burns after using a topical pain relief cream. They noticed that it was expired for 6 months. It is unclear whether the fact that it was expired had anything to do with the person being burned, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Both manufacturers recommend using the topical pain relief cream before the expiration dates on the tubes.

Disclaimer: I am not a trained medical nor is anyone else with survivalfreedom.com. The information in this article is based on research and should not be taken as medical advice. We are not responsible for any harm someone might obtain from using topical creams expired or not.

How Long Does Icy Hot Last?

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Icy Hot topical analgesic cream can last up to 3 years before it starts to diminish in strength. It will then begin losing consistency until it is no longer a cream.

Icy Hot has one of the most extended shelf lives out of the topical analgesic pain relief creams because of its active ingredients and composition. However, some people report that Icy Hot even lasts past its expiration date, and it just gets more watery as time passes.

Pro Tip: To keep icy hot from getting watery, you can place the Icy Hot tube in the refrigerator and keep it firm for longer.

How Long Does Icy Hot No Mess Last?

Icy Hot No Mess has a shelf life of 3 years when bought early. It will stay strong and effective for this long while kept in a cool, dry location. However, if it is left out without proper packaging, it will lose effectiveness faster than 3 years.

What differentiates the No Mess from the original in terms of longevity is that the No Mess needs extra care when storing. It is not enough to keep Icy Hot No Mess in a cool and dry location. If it is exposed to air for some time, it will dry up and become ineffective earlier than the expiration date. So make sure that the cap is kept tight.

How Long Does Bengay Last?

Bengay only has a shelf life of 12 to 24 months, depending on the product chosen. The most popular Bengay topical analgesic cream only lasts for 12 months before the active ingredients begin to lose effect. After these 12 months, it will also begin to lose viscosity and consistency.

Bengay does not last as long as Icy Hot and, as such, should be finished faster than its competitor. After a few years, the cream will dissolve into a watery gel with no effect or warmth anymore.

What Happens if I Use Expired Icy Hot or Bengay Ointment?

Using expired analgesic ointment is not likely to bring you any harm; it will just have a weaker effect. Most over-the-counter medications do not actually expire as food or drink does. Expired ointments simply lose potency over time until they no longer function.

However, antibiotics or antifungal ointments should not be used past expiration because the lack of potency can be dangerous.

Doctors say that expired ointment is not as dangerous as one would expect. As it is medicinal in nature, it is a common misconception to think that it would be harmful when expired. The truth is, many pharmaceutical manufacturers place the expiration dates on ointments to signify when they will no longer be as effective.

Long story short, it is safe for you to use most expired ointments, but do not expect them to have the same or any effect as it is intended to have. You may as well just be rubbing cream on your body.

Does Expired Tiger Balm Work?

As with other topical pain relief ointments, expired Tiger Balm works with less effectiveness. As stated on their website, it is recommended to discard expired Tiger Balm as the ingredients contained within will begin losing potency. Furthermore, if they are left open for 2 weeks, they may lose strength.

As with other ointments, Tiger Balm will continue to work past its expiration date with diminishing levels of potency. A few days after expiration may give a near similar experience.

  • Months after the listed date may result in weaker pain relief, but it may still prove to have an effect.
  • Years after the expiration date, Tiger Balm may no longer even be considered as a topical analgesic cream. It may be no different than a scented gel if it even has a scent after that amount of time.

Final Thoughts

Icy Hot loses its effectiveness over time past the expiration date listed on the tube. The expiration date of topical analgesic cream is there to signify how long it can stay at maximum effectiveness. Past the expiration date, Icy Hot will continue to get weaker until it is no longer effective.

It may stay effective for a while after expiration, but it will not remain that way for long.

Due to its long shelf life, Icy Hot loses its effectiveness slower than other topical pain relief creams. It begins to lose consistency, however, so it is essential to store it in proper locations. Warm locations will make the Icy Hot cream watery faster and less effective as a result. Combat this by keeping it in a cool and dry place.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss Does Visine Expire or Go Bad? | What You Need to Know.

Main photo courtesy of openfoodfacts.org

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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