The story behind Bag Balm
Bag Balm is a Vermont-based company that has been making salve since 1899. The Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer was initially developed for chafed and cracked cow udders by a pharmacist in Wells River. Lyndonville farmer John L. Norris recognized that the salve would not only work for cow udders, but also for the dry skin conditions the people of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom experienced during the harsh winter weather. Thus, he purchased the formula and all the rights to market it – and that’s when Bag Balm was born. The company prides itself on the fact that it has been creating the product in a way that has gone unchanged since they first came into existence. In this Bag Balm review, we’ll discuss the best selling Bag Balm skin care products, key Bag Balm ingredients, the best ways to use Bag Balm, and more.
What are the best selling Bag Balm skin care products?
In addition to the Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer, Bag Balm has expanded its product line to include soaps, lotions, lip care, and even pet care products. Of course, the Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer is the best selling Bag Balm product, however, the brand’s pet care products have also become quite popular. Interestingly, Bag Balm pet products actually have the exact same formula as the original moisturizer. The only Bag Balm skin care products that have different formulations from the original moisturizer are the Mega Moisturizing Soap and the Organic Hemp and Arnica Muscle and Joint Rub.
What are the key ingredients in Bag Balm?
The Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer has a very simple formulation of only four ingredients: petrolatum, lanolin, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate, and paraffin wax. We’ll discuss each of these Bag Balm ingredients in detail below so you’ll know exactly how they affect your skin.
Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly or Vaseline, is the key Bag Balm ingredient. It is a colorless or pale yellow semi solid mixture of hydrocarbons, and is a byproduct of petroleum refining. Petrolatum is an occlusive agent that reduces the rate of water loss through skin. Since petrolatum has a melting point that is close to body temperature, it softens upon application and forms a water-repellant film around the applied area. This film prevents evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and increases skin hydration by causing buildup of water in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin). Furthermore, petrolatum has been shown to penetrate deeply into damaged skin and enhance recovery of the skin’s barrier function. Maintaining a strong, intact barrier is important to keep harmful things like allergens, bacteria, and irritants from entering the body through the skin.
Lanolin, also known as wool wax or wool grease, is a yellow wax secreted by the sebaceous (oil) glands of wool-bearing animals, such as sheep. In nature, lanolin’s role is to protect wool and skin from climate and the environment. It is thought that applying lanolin to human skin can help to protect against dry, chapped skin and other skin ailments. Lanolin is a long-chain waxy ester that contains cholesterol, and is actually very similar to the chemical structure of the oils produced by human skin. Due to its high lipid content, lanolin is occlusive, meaning it prevents the evaporation of water from the skin (transepidermal water loss). Ultimately, lanolin benefits the skin by keeping it moisturized and promoting healing.
Another Bag Balm ingredient is 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate, which has antiseptic properties and is used in the Bag Balm formulation as a preservative. Specifically, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate is a metal chelating agent extracted from coal tar. It has the ability to inhibit the growth of imidazolidinyl urea microbes.
The final Bag Balm ingredient is paraffin wax, another petroleum derivative, which is a soft colorless solid that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules. Paraffin wax is used in the Bag Balm formula to help bind the ingredients together.
The key Bag Balm ingredients used in the Organic Hemp and Arnica Muscle and Joint Rub are 300mg organic full-spectrum CBD and organic arnica oil. CBD is known to help alleviate aches and pains associated with muscle and joint soreness and inflammation. According to research, full-spectrum CBD is much more effective to treat symptoms compared to isolate. The synergistic effect of using the whole plant is superior to the oils extracted only from the seeds. Arnica oil is included in this formula to help relieve soreness, bruises, and pain. Arnica oil acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and has also been found to be helpful in treating insect bites and sprains.
What are the best ways to use Bag Balm?
Unlike most skin care products, Bag Balm can be used for a variety of purposes, from treating diaper rash to moisturizing dry skin. Below we’ll briefly describe some of the best ways to use the Bag Balm:
- Moisturizer for dry, rough, chapped skin on elbows, hands, feet, or anywhere on the body
- Reduce sting or burning sensation after minor burns including sunburn
- Treating cuts, scrapes, or other minor wounds
- Treating diaper rash in babies
- Keeping the nails and cuticles healthy
- Softening and moisturizing lips
- Treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and sore skin
- Healing relatively recent scars and skin discolorations
- Tattoo aftercare
- Pet care
Is Bag Balm safe?
Since Bag Balm does contain petroleum-derived and animal-derived ingredients, you may be wondering: is Bag Balm safe?
Petroleum-derived ingredients like petrolatum (the key ingredient in Bag Balm) are generally considered to be safe. In fact, petrolatum is an FDA-approved skin protectant. The concern with petrolatum and other petroleum-derived ingredients is that they can generate 1,4-dioxane, a substance known to potentially contribute to some cancers. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these ingredients are highly purified prior to being used in cosmetics.
The other Bag Balm ingredient that has the potential to be unsafe for some people is lanolin. Lanolin is generally considered to be safe for intact skin (no cuts, scrapes, or other damage). However, lanolin products are typically designed to be used on healing skin (eczema, burns, cuts, scrapes, etc.), not normal and intact skin. When lanolin enters the bloodstream through the damaged skin, it can cause an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, the incidence of lanolin allergy is rising. A 2017 study evaluated more than 1,000 children with eczema and found that 66% of them reaction to lanolin alcohol. Thus, if you have a lanolin allergy or aren’t sure if you have a lanolin allergy, it is best to stay away from all lanolin products.
Where are Bag Balm skin care products sold?
Bag Balm skin care products are sold on the company’s website, as well as third party ecommerce websites like Amazon and eBay. Bag Balm skin care products are also available at a number of major retailers that include drugstores, pet retailers, farm supply retailers, and at independent tack and horse feed shops. Bag Balm has a store locator on their website so you can find a location that stocks their products near you.
What is the Bag Balm return policy?
Interestingly, Bag Balm does not have a return policy on their website. If you purchase Bag Balm from another retailer, keep in mind that each retail location will have its own return policies regarding time restrictions and whether or not the product has been opened. So customers who purchased their Bag Balm at a retail outlet need to return the product directly to where it was originally purchased.
Is Bag Balm cruelty free?
According to the company’s website, Bag Balm is cruelty free and does not test any of their products or ingredients on animals.
Bag Balm reviews
Bag Balm reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, however, there aren’t many customers reviews. For example, there are only 13 reviews for the Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer, with an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars. Positive Bag Balm reviews for this product confirm that Bag Balm works well for a variety of purposes, such as dry skin, cuts and scrapes, diaper rash, eczema, and even a latex allergy. The only negative Bag Balm reviews are concerning the smell, which some customers find to be a bit odd.
There are quite a few more Bag Balm reviews for the Original Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer on Amazon.com. Currently, this Bag Balm product has an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars after more than 600 customer reviews. Positive Bag Balm reviews rave about the effectiveness of this salve for multiple conditions, even athlete’s foot and plantars warts. Once again, negative Bag Balm are mostly concerning the smell of the product. For example, one reviewer says, “While this product does provide great moisture, it smells absolutely terrible. I want to like it for the moisturizing aspect but I cannot get over the smell. I don’t recommend – there are other quality moisturizers that don’t smell disgusting and I will use those before I use this.”