CryoDerm Pain Relief Gel Vs. BioFreeze: Which Is Best For You?

An in-depth comparison of our favourite topical analgesics (topical pain relief gels) CryoDerm vs BioFreeze. Learn which one is best for you today!

A lot of our patients utilize at-home pain relief methods between treatments – and by far the most popular product we sell. Pain relief gel. Not only is it inexpensive at $20 a bottle but topical analgesics also provide fast relief for around 3 hours at a time. (Plus, you can keep a spare bottle in your car or bag for on-the-go relief.)

The two pain relief gels we love and highly recommend are CryoDerm and Biofreeze! However, as the two have different formulas and properties, we decided to write up a detailed comparison post to help inform your choice.

Disclaimer: Pain relief is not a one-size-fits-all. The purpose of this article is not to say which product is “best” – we use and highly recommend both! – but to look at which product may be the best for you.

Of course, we always recommend coming in to get an adjustment or try cold laser therapy too. Book your visit today!

First off: what is a cold-therapy topical analgesic?

Topical analgesic is a fancy way of saying: pain relief gel. Both Biofreeze and CryoDerm utilize cold therapy treatment, so they act as cooling agents when applied to the painful area.

Traditional thinking is that the pain-relieving mechanism of action of menthol – the active ingredient in all of these topicals results from a counter-irritant effect. Simply put, a counter-irritant has an effect of overriding noxious pain signals traveling to the brain through a process modulated between pain-transmitting and non-pain transmitting neurons.


How do cold-therapy pain relief gels work?

Explanation of how menthol pain relief gel works. Infographic reads: How Pain Relief Gels Work Explained 01. Pain relief gels contain menthol. Most pain relief gels contain menthol. This is the ingredient that produces a cooling sensation when used. 02. Menthol "tricks" your body. Menthol tricks the brain into believing that you've experienced a temperature change by activating TRPM8, a receptor protein found in all cold-sensing nerve cells which are responsible for detecting temperature changes. 03. Your body's response to cold? Numbness! The human body only works within a limited temperature range. Once your cells register as too cold, the brain responds by numbing the nerves. 04. Relief! This numbing effect works as a counter-irritant - so you should feel relief from your pain! This response normally lasts up to 3 hours.

It’s a clever way of tricking your body – and has proven to be very effective!

Cryoderm vs Biofreeze Feature Comparison

Biofreeze’s menthol concentration is 4%, while CryoDerm’s is 10%

Menthol is the key ingredient in counter-irritants and a higher concentration can mean stronger pain relief. CryoDerm’s formula has a concentration almost double that of Biofreeze, clocking in at 10%.

While this can mean faster results, products with a higher menthol concentration are more likely to irritate your skin – so people with extremely sensitive skin may want to keep that in mind.

Reviewers have found Biofreeze to have the most immediate cooling effect – but CryoDerm produces the “deepest sensation of cold”.

CryoDerm vs Biofreeze infographic

In a DC Aligned survey, 6 out of 10 patients who were asked to compare the products said that Biofreeze produced the most immediate cold sensation. (3 out of 10 said CryoDerm and one chose Rocksauce Chill.) That being said, 5 of the sample advised that CryoDerm produced the deepest sensation of cold, compared to only 2 who chose Biofreeze.

When asked about the strength and duration of the treatments, here are how the patients answered:

10 out of 10 advised Biofreeze stays relatively the same in terms of cold and penetration. Quotes DC Aligned used were “it’s cold from the minute you put it on and stays that way for up to two hours” and “it also never changed in the depth of cold”.

Comparatively, 10 out of 10 patients agreed that CryoDerm’s pain relief treatment changed and deepened over time. Each patient stated that CryoDerm didn’t have the initial cold shock that comes with Biofreeze – but, after 5-10 minutes, the cold penetrated deeper.

Something to note is that reviewers found CryoDerm’s formula to be long-lasting. While Biofreeze normally weakens after two hours, one tester felt that CryoDerm stayed relatively cold for up to 5 hours!

Although on paper CryoDerm performed better during this study for pain relief, patients in this survey preferred Biofreeze

When you read these results, you’d likely think most people preferred CryoDerm. Deeper penetration and longer-lasting pain relief – what’s not to love? However, the results of this in-house survey say differently!

When asked for their preference between 3 topical analgesics, 6 out of 10 patients preferred Biofreeze. They stated that if they wanted to use a topical pain relief gel, they wanted the cold to be as instant as possible and consistent.

3 out of 10 patients preferred CryoDerm. The comments these patients made were that they liked the more subtle cold introduction and the deeper more penetrating feeling that Cryoderm provides. They also stated that they felt Cryoderm lasted longer when applied.

To conclude, the winner is . . .

Whichever product sounds best to you! As we’ve covered, both are highly effective at relieving pain – and, if you purchase from our clinic, each will only set you back $20. Hopefully, this article allowed you some insight into which of these at-home pain relief gels might suit your needs best.

Would you like an appointment with Dr. Gagnon? Book a visit to our friendly Chilliwack practice today!

Need more at-home pain relief? Check out Dr. Gagnon’s top 5 suggestions!

at home pain relief infographic

Recent Posts