"Topical products can act as pain relievers, reduce inflammation, provide a cooling sensation, and soothe aches," says Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, a spinal and orthopedic surgeon based in New York City. "Massaging the cream into the muscles may also loosen you up and calm the muscles." While the idea of topical muscle rubs is certainly nothing new, what does feel revolutionary about these latest launches is that they're being brought to us by brands that have traditionally only focused on beauty. Keep scrolling to learn about the ones to look out for.
Shop recovery skin-care products
Earlier this year, J.R. Watkins (which, fun fact, actually launched as a pain-relief brand over a century ago before shifting its focus toward more traditional body care) released a line of cooling pain-relief products, which use menthol to reduce downtime and speed up recovery periods between workouts. “Menthol is one of the most beneficial ingredients for muscle recovery because it treats pains and aches by providing a cold and hot sensation on achy muscles,” says Dr. Okubadjeo.
More recently, YUNI Beauty came out with “Yuni Chillax,” a cooling, portable rollerball that taps two of Dr. Okubadejo’s other favorite pain-relieving ingredients: peppermint and arnica. “Peppermint leaf essential oil produces natural menthol that helps to reduce the feeling of pain, and arnica flower extract is the strongest anti-inflammatory ingredient you can find in nature and it is used to reduce swelling, bruising, and discomfort,” says the brand’s founder, Emmanuel Rey.
Eir has also added a muscle rub to its activity-based skin-care lineup, which uses a combination of ginger, St. John’s wort, and capsicum to help heal muscle strain and prevent post-workout stiffness. “The capsicum brings real warmth to the muscles but also helps deflect any pain or discomfort, because it helps certain neurotransmitters in the brain block pain sensation reducing the experience of discomfort,” says the brand’s CEO, Stacy Hasse. “The ginger is a wonderful warming herb and has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to help reduce muscle inflammation, and St. John’s wort has strong anti-inflammatory properties that penetrate deep into the tissue. Used consistently over time, it works as an antispasmodic and can help muscles relax, and less inflations means less discomfort and less stiffness.”
While all that cool recovery tech has earned a well-deserved spot in your post-workout routine, supplementing them with these beauty-meets-fitness products will make your rest days even more efficient.
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