Overall, this product is not sustainable, with ingredients that are harmful to human and environmental health. The company Icy Hot also does not have any sustainability initiatives or very much transparency in how the product is made, with the exception of listing the active and inactive ingredients. In addition, there are other more sustainable alternatives to this product, including Noxicare, Arnica Gel, Traumeel, and Badger Sore Muscle Rub.
The active ingredients of Icy Hot balm are menthol (7.6%) and methyl salicylate (29%), which are used as topical analgesics. The inactive ingredients are paraffin and white petrolatum. Menthol is a compound that can be synthetically derived from mint oil. Methyl salicylate (also known as wintergreen oil) is an organic ester that is highly toxic in its pure form. Paraffin wax is used in many commercial products today, and it is a byproduct of petroleum from the process of refining crude oil, and thus considered an unsustainable product. Petrolatum is a mineral oil jelly that is a byproduct of the oil refining process and used to lock moisture into skin in topical cosmetic products such moisturizers, and is not only harmful to the environment, but has associated health risks from contamination with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic. These ingredients are not sustainable, as they mostly come from crude oil, a nonrenewable resource, and are harmful to both human and environmental health.
The company Icy Hot does not have any transparency on the manufacturing process or the process of refining some of the compounds used in their products, which leads me to believe that they are not synthesizing menthol or the other compounds in the product in a way that is environmentally friendly. Paraffin wax and Petrolatum are byproducts from the process of refining crude oil, a process which creates air pollution with toxins that are dangerous to human and ecosystem health and spills pollute waterways in the environment.
The company Icy Hot makes this product, which is “America’s #1 Topical Relief Brand”. The company makes a variety of topical pain-relief ointments. However, they have taken no sustainability initiatives and are not transparent about the processes used to made the ingredients in their products.