Bengay, one of the world’s most popular topical analgesic heat rubs, is also one of the most useful over-the-counter medications currently being sold today.

The level of convenience and relief that Bengay can provide is up there with Tylenol, Benadryl, Pepto Bismol, and Aspirin.

Used to alleviate all kinds of minor aches and pains affecting your muscles, ligaments, and joints, Bengay is my go-to product when I’m feeling a little sore and stiff. It acts to soothe and loosen my cramped muscles almost right away.

However, Bengay has one underlying downside and that is how strongly it smells. It can quickly overpower any other scent in the room, and while some people don’t mind it, others will find it way too intrusive.

Luckily you don’t have to get stuck with the Bengay smell if you don’t like it.

How Does Bengay Work?

One of the most surprising things about Bengay is not that it works, but rather how effective it is at treating pain quickly. How does Bengay work?

Bengay is an over-the-counter topical pain reliever that has been formulated to take advantage of a nifty chemical compound called Methyl Salicylate. Also known as Wintergreen oil, methyl salicylate works to provide quick local pain relief.

Getting rid of the overwhelming Bengay smell

Methyl Salicylate is a colorless, viscous ester of salicylic acid with a fruity and highly minty odor. Scientists aren’t exactly sure how it works to reduce pain and discomfort, but most theories postulate that it mostly works as a counterirritant.

In other words, products that contain methyl salicylate sort of trick or distract your brain’s pain receptors. This is why Bengay works so quickly.

In addition to methyl salicylate, Bengay also contains menthol, also known as mint camphor. Menthol is responsible for two things: the dramatic cooling sensation so characteristic of Bengay application, and its strong smell.

In combination, these two compounds provide Bengay with a quick-acting mechanism that soothes your tissues and reduces the sensibility of your brain’s pain receptors. The result? A fast reduction of pain, irritation, discomfort, and soreness.

What Does Bengay Smell Like?

Bengay’s two key active ingredients (methyl salicylate and menthol) have a very distinct odor that can only be described as pungently minty.

Bengay’s original formula contains about 18% methyl salicylate and about 16% menthol; which means that well over a third of the solution is made up of the smell-generating components. And if we look at the Ultra Strength formulation, then the active components make up close to 45% of the product.

Bengay smells like menthol

While most people don’t find the smell of mint offensive or repulsive, the problem with Bengay is that it is unusually strong and that it is very long-lasting due to the oily nature of the ointment.

Moreover, some people have grown to associate the smell of Bengay with old age, since many of them grew up in households in which older family members would freely use Bengay.

Bottom line is that Bengay provides safe, effective, and rapid results, but it comes at a cost. People who are particularly sensitive to the smell don’t have to relinquish the pain relief that Bengay provides.

How To Remove Bengay Odor From Skin?

Removing the characteristic Bengay smell is not easy. Even if you apply only a small amount to the skin, it will overpower any environmental smell and spread quickly throughout the room you are in.

To make matters worse, if you are a person who is particularly sensitive to the smell, the mere act of applying the ointment to your skin will allow the Bengay cream to seep into your hands. So not only will your body smell of menthol, but your hands will also smell very strongly.

Washing your hands with soap and water will not get rid of the smell

The smell will also be difficult to get rid of because the active ingredients are absorbed beneath the superficial layer of skin. So merely washing your skin with soap and water will not remove the smell.

So, how do you remove the Bengay odor from your skin? You do so by neutralizing the active ingredients responsible for the smell in the first place.

How To Get Rid Of Bengay Smell

  • Use only what is needed. Excess Bengay means excess smell.
  • Wear a glove on the hand you are using to apply the cream. This will cut the problem in half instantly.
  • Open any windows if possible to create an airflow that can vent the smell towards the exterior.
  • Brew some coffee. The strongly aromatic scent of coffee has the potential to overpower the menthol smell of Bengay. You can also place a bowl of freshly brewed coffee grounds to soak up some of the Bengay smell. A bowl of baking soda can also help.
  • Make use of the many oxidizers available on the market. These products contain highly reactive ingredients that when released into the air, neutralize odors very efficiently.

These methods, while effective, are not 100% infallible. You may still catch a slight whiff of Bengay even after doing all of this. This brings us to my final recommendation: use the new Vanishing Scent Bengay Gel!

This is a new product that was born out of the recognition that some people find the smell of Bengay offensive. So, the folks at Johnson & Johnson, formulated a slightly altered formula that is just as effective as classic Bengay but with the added benefit that its characteristic menthol smell disappears by itself after just a few minutes.

Vanishing Scent Bengay Pain Relief Gel, Non-Greasy Topical Pain Reliever with Cooling Menthol, 2 oz
  • 4-ounce tube of non-greasy pain relief gel with a vanishing scent formula for muscle and joint pain
  • Features 2.5% menthol for temporary cooling relief of aches and muscle pain on the go

The first time I tried it, I thought I’d been scammed because when freshly applied the gel had the same characteristic Bengay smell. However, after just a couple of minutes, the smell began to dissipate, and shortly later it was gone completely.

Those who don’t mind Bengay’s mint-like smell will not need this new revolutionary product. But, if you don’t particularly care for the Bengay scent, this might be the best thing since diet coke.

Last update on 2024-05-29 at 16:35 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API