Ingredients Matter

We think ingredients are the first thing your should look at before you put something on or in your body. The punchline is that our product MuscleGoo is made out of plants, and the big brands are full of chemicals. It’s simple. Wanna watch? Check out the summary video from our YouTube channel. Wanna read more? Keep scrolling, there’s plenty to know here and when you start to look at BioFreeze vs Icy Hot vs Bengay, you’ll be surprised.

Because we think ingredients really matter, we’ve done the research on Icy Hot, BioFreeze, Bengay and Penetrex. You can find deep dives from our blog into each of their ingredients at the bottom of this page, and we’ll jump right into some top level comparisons now. All the information here comes from our deep dive blogs, and those blog posts contain all sources and references which include WebMD, Drug Bank, NCBI (National Center for Biotech Information), and several other credible websites.

Background on Ingredients

First, some background information on ingredients. Saying a product or ingredient is “pain relieving” is making a “drug claim” according to the FDA. In order to make drug claims, said product has to be evaluated and receive premarket approval from them. This is why a big brand like Icy Hot can throw “Pain Relief” on the package, but you can’t label an essential oil that’s been used for the same thing for thousands of years with it.

BioFreeze Ingredient Summary

Of the big brand high chemical relief topicals on the market, we’d argue BioFreeze has the least disgusting ingredients. The good guys here are Yerba Mate (the plant not the drink) and menthol, which is a persistent ingredient in all of these products. Red flags include the 2 colorants used in the product: FD&C blue #1 and FD&C yellow #5. The latter is a bit controversial and has been shown to cause mutagenesis and carcinogenesis if ingested. Other ingredients are common stabilizers and bases found in a lot of products on the shelf at the drug store.

Icy Hot Ingredient Summary

Icy Hot is full of disgusting artificial stuff, period. It includes compounds that are used for absorption in diapers, indigestion medication, and most notiably: PEG-150 distearate. The Environmental Working Group considers PEG-150 a hazardous ingredient, but on the OK end of the spectrum for all PEGs. You can dive in by reading out deep dive if you’d like, or you can just avoid this stuff altogether.

Bengay Ingredient Summary

Bengay’s ingredient stack is mostly on the good end of the spectrum with characters like Lanolin, but one notable inclusion tips the scales the other way. Potassium Hydroxide. That’s lye. An inorganic compound commonly used in various chemical, industrial and manufacturing applications. Thanks but no thanks.

MuscleGoo Summary

We’re biased, but here’s the facts: MuscleGoo gets the job done with pretty much nothing but plants. 19 essential oils, hemp seed extract, matcha, aloe, turmeric, and organic menthol crystals. It’s simple.

BioFreeze vs Icy Hot vs Bengay

BioFreeze vs Icy Hot vs Bengay: Ingredient Summary

Base Ingredients

MuscleGooWater, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Carbomer

Bio FreezeCarbomer, Triethanolamine

Icy Hot – Cellulose Gum, Ceresin, Microcrystalline wax, Paraffin, Stearic acid and stearyl alcohol

Bengay – Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Lanolin

Cooling Ingredients

MuscleGoo – Certified Organic Menthol Crystals, Witch Hazel Distillate, Spearmint and Peppermint Essential Oil, White Camphor Essential Oil

Bio FreezeMenthol

Icy HotMenthol


Warming Ingredients

MuscleGoo – Black Pepper Essential Oil, Cinnamon Essential Oil, White Camphor Essential Oil

Bio FreezeCamphor

Icy Hot – Methyl salicylate


Pain Relieving* Ingredients

*or ingredients known for relieving pain

MuscleGooHemp Seed Extract, Sweet Basil Leaf Essential Oil, Citronella Essential Oil, Roman Chamomile Flower Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Leaf Essential Oil,Helichrysum Flower Essential Oil,Ginger Root Essential Oil, Scotch Pine Needle Essential Oil, Ravensara Essential Oil, Wild Oregano Essential Oil, White Camphor Essential Oil, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Neem Extract, Ivy Gourd Extract, Eggplant Extract, Basil Extract, Turmeric Extract, Amber

Bio FreezeCamphor, ILEX Paraguariensis

Icy Hot – Methyl salicylate, Glycinate, Aluminum Hydroxide

Bengay – Not sure, maybe the lye(!).


MuscleGooOrganic Matcha

Bio Freeze – FD&C blue #1, FD&C yellow #5

Bengay – Disodium EDTA

Go Deeper on BioFreeze vs Icy Hot vs Bengay