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Active Ingredients in Bengay

author image Sarah Harding
Sarah Harding has written stacks of research articles dating back to 2000. She has consulted in various settings and taught courses focused on psychology. Her work has been published by ParentDish, Atkins and other clients. Harding holds a Master of Science in psychology from Capella University and is completing several certificates through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association.
Active Ingredients in Bengay
Mint leaves Photo Credit: Rewat Wannasuk/Hemera/Getty Images

Bengay is a topical pain reliever used to treat minor aches and pains. states that this topical analgesic is effective for muscle and joint pains associated with a backache, arthritis, strains, sprains and bruises. It should not be applied to open wounds or broken skin. It should also not be used with a heating pad or under a tight bandage. Bengay comes in several formulas created to treat specific pains.

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Some types of Bengay cream are made with menthol as the single active ingredient. Other types of Bengay creams contain menthol and another active ingredient to supply pain relief. Menthol penetrates the skin to create a cooling sensation, effective for temporarily relieving pain.

Methyl Salicylate

Methyl salicylate is combined with menthol in some types of Bengay, such as Original, Muscle Pain and Arthritis Extra strength. Both ingredients are derived from plants such as peppermint and wintergreen. The National Institutes of Health warns that methyl salicylate in high doses can lead to death. The compound works in a similar method as aspirin to provide pain relief. Overdose symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, diffulty breathing and convulsions.


Camphor is one additional active ingredient added to Bengay Muscle Pain and Ultra Strength creams. suggests that camphor can stimulate nerve endings to relieve topical sensations like pain and itching.

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