Best OTC Drugs 2024

Best OTC Choices in Topical Vapor Therapy

Topical vapor therapy involves rubbing analgesics — pain relievers — onto the skin for relief of cough, cold or flu symptoms. (Vicks VapoRub is a leading example of such a pain reliever.)

Here are Money’s picks for the best topical vapor therapy products, along with information on their active ingredients and general notes about their efficacy and side effects.

Topical vapor therapy is among 16 types of cough, cold and allergy treatments assessed for us by, using a methodology that combines expert assessment with analysis of online reviews, ratings and other customer data.

The information provided on is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The products featured may not be right for everyone and may carry risk even if available without a prescription. Read the product’s label and consult with a professional for individual medical advice.

Slide Table to Compare
Active Ingredients
Important Points
Vicks VapoRub Camphor, Eucalyptus oil, Menthol
  • Soothes cough
  • Topical use
  • Safe for children 2 years and older
Matys All Natural Vapor Rub Eucalyptus oil, Peppermint oil, Tea tree oil
  • Relieves congestion
  • Calming effect
  • Menthol-free
  • Safe for babies 3 months and older
Zarbee's Naturals Baby Soothing Chest Rub Eucalyptus oil, Beeswax, Lavender oil
  • Menthol-free
  • Safe for babies 2 months and older
  • Calming effect
Mentholatum Chest Rub Camphor, Menthol
  • Relieves chest aches
  • Safe for children 2 years and older
  • Soothing aroma
Olbas Oil Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil, Cajeput oil, Wintergreen oil, Juniper oil, Clove oil
  • Relieves congestion
  • Can use for sore feet, muscle, or joint discomfort
  • Menthol-free
Badger Balm Aromatic Chest Rub Ravintsara oil, Tea tree oil, Tangerine oil, Eucalyptus oil, Peppermint oil, Lavendar oil, Wild majoram oil
  • Menthol-free
  • Soothing aroma
  • Moisturizes sore nose
Vicks VapoInhaler Camphor, Menthol, Methyl saliclate, Siberian fir oil
  • Safe for children 12 years and older
  • Soothing aroma
  • Inhaled through the nostrils
No results match.

Featured drugs are available without a prescription in the U.S. and may not be available with or without a prescription in other locations.