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Has Vicks Vaporub Formula Changed? Here’s What We Found

Vicks Vaporub is a common household name that has touched everyone’s lives at least once in their lifetime. Whether you are a kid, an adult, or a nursing mother, we all reach out to this 100-year-old treatment to ease our cold symptoms.

However, the decades-old formula is now under modern scrutiny where many believe that the product contains harmful ingredients, which is not ideal for humans, especially children.

So has Vicks Vaporub formula changed?

The ongoing debate on whether or not the company has changed Vicks Vaporub’s formula is elusive. However, many users feel that the current product fails to produce past results and almost feels ineffective in its current state.

This article will help you understand why Vicks Vaporub changed its formula and the difference between the original and current Vicks Vaporub.

Difference Between Original Formula and Current One

IngredientsOriginal Vicks VaporubCurrent Vicks Vaporub
Camphor (Active)5.26%4.8%
Eucalyptus Oil (Active)1.33%1.2%
Menthol (Active)2.82%2.6%
Cedar leaf OilYesYes (reduced quantity)
Lemon FragranceNoYes
Nutmeg OilYesYes (reduced quantity)
Special PetrolatumYesYes
Turpentine OilYesYes

The comparison table indicates that Procter & Gamble changed the formula to make Vicks Vaporub less harmful to human health.

For instance, the United States Food and Drug Administration concluded that products containing camphor were harmful to human usage as they can lead to various health conditions. P&G altered its formula and reduced the number of active ingredients used in Vicks Vaporub.

Furthermore, the current Vicks Vaporub contains a reduced quantity of nutmeg and cedar leaf oils, which changes the scent. However, many Vicks Vaporub users feel that the changes have made the product ineffective and smell nowhere like the original scent.

has vicks vaporub formula changed?
has vicks vaporub formula changed?

Why Did They Change the Formula of Vicks Vaporub

After the US Food and Drug Administration declared that products should not contain a camphor concentration of over 11%, P&G altered Vicks Vaporub’s formula to suit the new rules.

Earlier, Vicks Vaporub contained 5.26% of camphor, even more during the 1950s. However, the company reduced the amount to 4.8% to suffice the guidelines issued by the FDA.

So when did they change Vicks Vaporub?

Although there are no official reports or statements published by the company, the new guidelines issued by the FDA forced P&G to alter the formula.

P&G develops many healthcare products and employs a highly trained team for research and development. The team ensures that all their products meet safety standards before releasing a product.

Furthermore, the company also included various health warnings on the pack, advising people to use Vicks Vaporub for external purposes only. However, further studies indicated different side effects from the product, forcing many countries to ban Vicks Vaporub.

Original Vicks Vaporub Composition – Was It Better

Vicks Vaporub contains various active and inactive ingredients, including camphor, menthol, cedar leaf oil, nutmeg oil, and thymol. These ingredients serve the purpose of suppressing cough and treating painful ailments on mucous membranes and skin.

In short, you can use Vicks Vaporub to get temporary relief from bronchial and throat irritation (cough) or use it for joint and muscle pains.

So was the original Vicks Vaporub better?

According to various Vicks Vaporub users, the original version was more effective than the current one. Some users also complained about removing the original scent and sharing their consent on various social media platforms.

The reduction in quantity for different inactive ingredients didn’t excite users either, as these ingredients promoted the product’s longevity and effectiveness.

However, the company insisted that these changes resulted from extensive research and to ensure safety for their customers.

In short, the debate over whether the original Vicks Vaporub is better than the current one will continue as users prefer the old one.

Vicks Vaporub Alternative That Are Closer to Original Formula

Although finding similar products with a composition more comparable to the original Vicks Vaporub formula, you can find some alternatives that offer identical results.

Chest Rub

Although Chest Rub is not identical to the original Vicks Vaporub formula, it contains most ingredients, including camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil.

You can use this product as a topical analgesic and cough suppressant, providing temporary relief from minor pains and coughs. However, Chest Rub is only meant for external usage, and users must avoid contact with eyes, wounds, nostrils, or damaged skin.


Vaporex is one of the best alternatives as it contains all the ingredients of the original Vicks Vaporub. This topical cough suppressant contains camphor, eucalyptus, menthol, cedar leaf, nutmeg, and other components to offer an identical scent and application as the original Vicks Vaporub.

You can use this medicated chest rub to soothe annoying coughs and relieve minor pains and aches. The nutmeg and cedar leaf oil also provide a refreshing scent.

Signature Care

Signature Care is another popular alternative for Vicks Vaporub with ingredients identical to the original Vicks Vaporub. This medicated chest rub contains camphor, menthol, eucalyptus oil, and other inactive ingredients that aid breathing and relieve coughing.

Other Things You Should Know About Vicks VapoRub

Does Vicks Vaporub Go Bad

Like all products, every Vicks Vaporub jar has an expiry date, which indicates the product’s longevity. You can find the expiration date on the product’s label.

Can Vicks Vaporub Be Used After Expiration Date

Products used after the expiration date can be dangerous and cause various health issues. In short, it would be best not to use Vicks Vaporub after the expiration date.

TL;DR – Has Vicks Vaporub Formula Changed

So has Vicks Vaporub changed its formula? After medical communities raised questions regarding the composition of this decades-old treatment, P&G had to respond with a change in Vicks Vaporub’s formula.

However, the change didn’t excite its users, as most believed that the product had lost its effectiveness. Despite the debate, Vicks Vaporub remains one of the essential household items in most countries and will continue to serve everyone.

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