BioFreeze vs Icy Hot – The Best Topical Pain Relief Cream

BioFreeze vs IcyHot
After a gauntlet of tests, we found that BioFreeze’s premium price tag over Icy Hot was well worth it, making it our choice as the best topical pain relief cream. Read on to find out why!

The day to day grind for most people will involve the typical soreness, aches and pains – whether it be from living an active lifestyle or just aching joints, muscles, or back pain in general. To combat these aches and pains, you can use a variety of medications. Enter topical pain relief creams. Topical pain relief creams are creams that are applied directly to skin on and around aching or painful muscle areas. Their main purpose is to provide immediate pain relief (whether it be mild or severe), so we decided to put them to the test!

Preview
Our Pick
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 3 oz. Tube
Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relief Cream, 3 Ounces
Title
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
Icy Hot Pain Relieving Cream
Prime
-
Price
$11.98
$10.06
Our Pick
Preview
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel, 3 oz. Tube
Title
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
Prime
Price
$11.98
Details
Preview
Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relief Cream, 3 Ounces
Title
Icy Hot Pain Relieving Cream
Prime
-
Price
$10.06
Details

Why We Chose Icy Hot and BioFreeze

The two most common products on the market for mild to severe topical pain relief are Icy Hot and BioFreeze. Icy Hot markets themselves as “America’s #1 Topical Pain Relief Brand” and is most known for their eye catching commercials involving NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal. Though BioFreeze is not as well known and doesn’t have the luxury of having Shaq to promote their products, they declare that their product is “backed by science” and “safer”. Due to the popularity and impressive reviews, it was an easy choice to test these two brands against each other.

Icy Hot Pain Relieving Cream
  • INCLUDES: One (1) 3-oz. tube of Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relief Cream
  • PAIN RELIEF: This pain cream provides relief for minor pains associated with arthritis, back aches, body aches, leg cramps and sore muscles
  • FAST & LONG LASTING: Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Cream starts working on contact to bring fast relief that lasts for hours
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
  • #1 Clinically Recommended: Trusted by pharmacists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers
  • Unique cooling menthol formula is backed by science and research-proven to deliver fast acting, long lasting and deep penetrating pain relief for sore muscles, backaches, sore joints, and arthritis
  • Trusted by some of the world's best athletes and athletic trainers

Pricing

Icy Hot’s 3 ounce tube can be found on Amazon for a significantly low price of $4.96 while BioFreeze’s 3 ounce tube runs for $11.95. Another difference between the two 3 ounce products on Amazon is that Icy Hot’s product has free one-day shipping with prime while BioFreeze’s product does not offer the same speed of delivery. But, both of these products do come in a spray and patch form for different rates of delivery as well.

Ingredients

Both Icy Hot and BioFreeze have the same active ingredient of menthol. Menthol is the active ingredient that causes the cooling sensation when it reacts with your skin. Menthol penetrates the skin and runs through the nerves to provide immediate pain relief. Icy Hot does have an additional active ingredient (that BioFreeze doesn’t have) of Methyl Salicylate which gives Icy Hot a minty scent to it. Here are the full ingredient lists for each:

BioFreeze

Active Ingredients: Menthol 4%.

Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa Root (Burdock) Extract, Boswellia Carterii Resin Extract, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Carbomer, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Camphor, Glycerin, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Isopropyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate, Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) Leaf Extract, Silica, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Triethanolamine, Water, Blue 1, Yellow 5.

Icy Hot

Active Ingredients: Menthol 10%, Methyl Salicylate 30%.

Inactive Ingredients: carbomer, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl esters, oleth-3 phosphate, polysorbate 60, stearic acid, triethanolamine, water.

Icy Hot Pain Relieving Cream
  • INCLUDES: One (1) 3-oz. tube of Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Relief Cream
  • PAIN RELIEF: This pain cream provides relief for minor pains associated with arthritis, back aches, body aches, leg cramps and sore muscles
  • FAST & LONG LASTING: Icy Hot Extra Strength Pain Cream starts working on contact to bring fast relief that lasts for hours

How We Tested

We put Icy Hot’s cream and BioFreeze’s gel to the test to see if the BioFreeze premium price is worth the reward. We had three of our testers perform each of the tests to account for any differences in preference or to see if any testers had different reactions to the products. To really get the full effect of each product and to see which is the best topical pain relief cream we ran these tests after performing certain exercises:

Fatigued Muscles

After a full day of playing basketball, we applied Icy Hot to one knee & quad and BioFreeze to the other. We noticed the immediate cooling sensation Icy Hot had on our knee, eventually adapting to a warmer and more relaxed sensation, but it quickly went away. BioFreeze had the same feeling. It took longer to grasp that same feeling, but it did have a longer lasting effect on the applied area. The only difference between the two is that BioFreeze was not nearly as intense as Icy Hot was when it’s first applied.

Intense Muscle Soreness

Another test that we ran was applying both BioFreeze and Icy Hot to opposite biceps after a day of working them out in the gym. Much similar to our basketball test, Icy Hot once again had an immediate impact on our muscles, but the feeling quickly dissolved and  we had to reapply more of it. BioFreeze’s product took longer to kick in but it did provide more overall relief in the end.

Back Pain

Two of our three testers actually had back pain, but we had all three apply the topical pain relief creams to their lower backs. The results were more of the same, Icy Hot had the more immediate and intense sensation, but the BioFreeze lasted much longer and felt more effective.

Smell

Two of our three testers preferred Icy Hot’s smell over BioFreeze’s. Icy Hot has a very strong mint smell, whereas BioFreeze has a much more mild minty smell (mixed with a slight chemical smell) that most of our testers didn’t enjoy all that much.

The Results

All three tests unsurprisingly gave the same result. Neither topical pain relief cream adversely affected any of our tester’s skin. BioFreeze was our preferred product as it provided a longer lasting pain relief than Icy Hot. The only areas that Icy Hot outperformed BioFreeze were the smell and the immediate intensity of the application. These tests proved BioFreeze’s authenticity and proof of lasting sensation in the applied area.

The Best Topical Pain Relief Cream

Biofreeze Topical Gel

Both products are and can be effective, but we undoubtedly believe that BioFreeze is the clear cut winner when it comes to these two products. Not only is BioFreeze a significantly better product due to its long lasting effects, but the cost for the product is worth it. BioFreeze is tried and true and has a longer lasting impact on our body parts than Icy Hot ever did. We recommend BioFreeze over Icy Hot if you wish to maintain a longer lasting sensation of relief.

Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
  • #1 Clinically Recommended: Trusted by pharmacists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers
  • Unique cooling menthol formula is backed by science and research-proven to deliver fast acting, long lasting and deep penetrating pain relief for sore muscles, backaches, sore joints, and arthritis
  • Trusted by some of the world's best athletes and athletic trainers

Tips and Guidelines for Applying Topical Pain Relief Creams

The most important thing when using these products is to know when, where and how to use these products. Here are some things to keep in mind when putting BioFreeze and Icy Hot to use:

  • First and foremost, please keep out of children’s reach and keep closed at all times.
  • Wash hands before applying the product to the affected area on the body.
  • Please be sure to read the ingredients of the product and make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients put together in each product.
  • To be safe, apply product on a small patch of your skin to see how it reacts before applying recommended use.
  • Do not apply the products to the eyes or anywhere near the face.
  • Avoid places that can have an effect on the skin when using this product (sauna, hot tub, steam room, etc.)
  • Use products only as directed on the labeling.

Final Thoughts

Although we unanimously awarded BioFreeze as the winner over Icy Hot, both topical pain relief creams were effective. If you are looking for the more budget friendly product, Icy Hot is still a good choice as it was still effective. Either way, we definitely recommend that you keep a topical pain relief cream in your medicine cabinet in case you need pain relief in the future. We hope you never need to use it, but if you do, it will definitely be worth it!

Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel
  • #1 Clinically Recommended: Trusted by pharmacists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, podiatrists, and athletic trainers
  • Unique cooling menthol formula is backed by science and research-proven to deliver fast acting, long lasting and deep penetrating pain relief for sore muscles, backaches, sore joints, and arthritis
  • Trusted by some of the world's best athletes and athletic trainers