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Bag Balm: what does it do for skin?

Lydia’s lost… Ok, I know that I spend way too much time shopping online when I have this fact stuck in my head: Bag Balm is the #3 best selling beauty product on Amazon.com. What’s up with that?!? What’s in this stuff, what does it do, and do I need to buy some?

The Left Brain’s leading reply:

Bag Balm reminds me of “Mane ‘n Tail:” They are both products designed for animals that humans have adopted for their own use. That’s right, Bag Balm is actually a product intended to treat skin condition of animals.

Bombastic about Bag Balm

According to the website for Dairy Association Company, Inc, the company that makes Bag Balm, it’s been used since 1899 to keep cows from becoming chapped. I assume this means it’s used to moisturize and protect the sensitive skin of the udders. For more background on the history of Bag Balm read this USA Today article. Just for the record, the website makes no mention of use on humans, which is not surprising since the product contains a drug active that is not approved for over the counter use on people.

Bag Balm ingredients

Since this isn’t a typical cosmetic product it doesn’t have to follow the labeling rules for cosmetics and therefore the package doesn’t have to carry a complete list of ingredients. But according to Drugstore.com I see that it contains 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate at 0.3% in a petrolatum and lanolin base. Petrolatum and lanolin are both common skin care ingredients and are also used in heavy duty ointments and wound care products. The real star of the show is the 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate. According to several sources such as this one, this compound is a bacteriostatic and fungistatic agent and it’s used to prepare antiseptics, deodorants, antiperspirants, and fungicides. (Personally, I’ve never seen this used in any products for humans.)

The Beauty Brains bottom line

I see Bag Balm as a product that combines excellent moisturizing ingredients with a drug active that has antiseptic properties. However, since the active agent is not approved for use on people, the company can not legally make claims in this regard. You may see benefits from using it but legally the company can only promote it for use on animals.

What do YOU think? Have you ever used Bag Balm or Mane ‘n Tail? Leave a comment and share your animalistic thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • CJ February 8, 2014, 5:55 pm

    My friend gave me some bag balm for my dry hands. While I did not like the greasiness on my hands, the jar sat on my end table for some time. I was just about to buy some Vaseline to moisturize under my eyes where my wrinkles were prominent when I thought I’d put a little bag balm under them since it was similar texture. The next day the appearance of my wrinkles were significantly reduced. It even reduced the wrinkles between my eyebrows!! I’m convinced.

  • Nj April 30, 2014, 10:32 pm

    I have severe nail brittle issues due to allergies with certain chemicals. I am an artist and refound Bag Balm that I used to use on my feet to soften them;have not had any issues that doctor prescribed creams have caused me. I love this stuff. Works awesome overnight if you use cotton gloves or socks.

  • KC February 15, 2015, 12:31 pm

    A pediatric nurse suggested I use it on my twins’ diaper rash 20 years ago. It worked like nothing else. I have since taken to using it on minor cuts and rashes.

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