BENGAY Relieves Minor Aches and Pains Tied to Arthritis

Oral medications aren't the only option when you are searching for something to relieve aches and pains associated with arthritis. Topical arthritis creams are products that are applied to the skin. There are several that can be purchased over-the-counter.

Primarily, topical products are effective for soothing minor arthritis and muscle pain. Some of the products contain counterirritants, such as menthol, eucalyptus, or oil of wintergreen which work by irritating the skin at the point of application. The skin begins to feel hot or cold, serving as a distraction from the pain and leading to temporary pain relief. Salicylates are the main ingredient in topical analgesics. Creams which contain salicylates offer pain relief and reduced joint inflammation.

Woman applying topical ointment
Dreet Production / Getty Images


BENGAY was developed in France by Dr. Jules Bengué. The product was brought to the United States in 1898. Originally produced by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, it was later acquired by Johnson & Johnson.


There are several varieties of BENGAY now available. There are creams, gel, and patches.

  • Ultra Strength BENGAY Cream contains three active ingredients—methyl salicylate 30 percent, Menthol 10 percent, and Camphor 4 percent. It is considered the strongest BENGAY formulation and used to treat backaches, arthritis, sprains, strains, and bruises.
  • Arthritis Formula BENGAY Cream contains two active ingredients—methyl salicylate 30 percent and menthol 8 percent. It is used for the same indications as for the Ultra Strength formulation and acts as a topical analgesic as well.
  • Greaseless BENGAY Pain Relieving Cream contains methyl salicylate 15 percent and menthol 10 percent. As its name indicates, this formulation is non-greasy and, according to the manufacturer, offers fast pain relief for minor aches and pains.
  • Vanishing Scent BENGAY Gel contains menthol 2.5 percent as its active ingredient. It offers deep penetrating pain relief as do the other formulations.
  • Ultra Strength BENGAY Pain Relieving Patch contains menthol 5 percent and provides concentrated, deep, penetrating heat in a self-adhesive patch. The patch feels cool upon application before generating a warm sensation. It comes in two sizes—regular (3.9 in x 5.5 in) and large (3.9 in x 7.9 in).
  • Original Strength BENGAY Pain Relieving Patch contains menthol 1.4 percent as its active ingredient. It is available in the same sizes as Ultra Strength.

Warnings and Precautions

BENGAY is for external use only. You should not use BENGAY products on wounds or damaged skin, with a heating pad, or on a child under 12 years of age.

If you have redness over the affected area, consult your healthcare provider before using BENGAY products. When using this product, avoid contact with eyes or mucous membranes. Also, do not apply bandages tightly over the area being treated.

Stop use and ask a healthcare provider if your condition worsens or symptoms persist for more than 7 days, symptoms clear up and occur again within a few days, or excessive skin irritation develops.

Bottom Line

BENGAY is not the only topical medication sold for arthritis. There are other arthritis cream products you may wish to consider. There are also some generic versions of the topical medications. Let your healthcare provider know that you are using a topical medication. Your healthcare provider should be informed about all of the medications or topical medications you use—even over-the-counter products.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. de Falla, K. Over-the-counter topical arthritis pain relief. Arthritis Health.

  2. DailyMed. Bengay Ultra Strength Non-Greasy.

Additional Reading
  • BENGAY Products. Published by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company, Division of Johnson & Johnson.

By Carol Eustice
Carol Eustice is a writer covering arthritis and chronic illness, who herself has been diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.