This Is How Long It Takes For Icy Hot To Start Working

Whether from arthritis, backaches, strains, sprains, or bruises, Icy Hot products are designed to alleviate related joint and muscle pain (via Icy Hot). Offered in the form of a cream, patch, or spray, Icy Hot is promoted to be fast-acting. So much so, that the company says users will feel its effects "instantly." But just how instant is instantly?

To help answer that question, let's first take a closer look at the ingredients contained in Icy Hot products to get a better idea of how it works. According to experts at Atlantic Brain & Spine, the three main ingredients you'll find in Icy Hot items are menthol, methyl salicylate, and capsaicin. Each of these ingredients work by altering our skin's sensations. Menthol and methyl salicylate give off a cooling effect, which is then followed by warming sensations due to mild irritation prompted by the capsaicin — the same ingredient that gives hot peppers their signature burn.

Does Icy Hot promote healing?

When it comes to pain relief, Icy Hot redirects our attention by acting as a counterirritant, as per experts at WebMD. To counter the pain from a fresh bruise, for instance, Icy Hot works by prompting minor skin inflammation, which overrides pain signals coming from alternate areas of the body, such as the affected joints or muscles. In doing so, Icy Hot products essentially reroute our brain's focus elsewhere.

So how long does it take for these counterirritant effects to kick in? According to Realonomics, the burn sets in within two minutes of application. Similar results were seen amongst users of Icy Hot Lidocaine cream. As written by one customer via the Icy Hot website, "I used Icy Hot Lidocaine cream on my lower back muscle that I pulled [while] working out. It took about 2 minutes for me to finally get pain relief after using the cream."

At the end of the day, however, does Icy Hot promote healing within our muscles and joints? Experts at Atlantic Brain & Spine share that while the products may effectively offer pain relief for a couple of hours, Icy Hot does not repair damage or injury to the body. Therefore, Icy Hot is not intended as a form of long-term treatment for those with chronic pain conditions.