Aquaphor vs Bag Balm (Choosing Right Healing Ointment)

When it comes to skincare, finding the right products can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s essential to understand the differences between various brands and products.

In this article, I will discuss the comparison of two popular skincare products: Aquaphor vs Bag Balm.

Aquaphor and bag balm are both effective for skin hydration and healing, but Aquaphor is more versatile with a wider range of uses, while bag balm is primarily used for soothing and healing dry, chapped skin.

Aquaphor vs Bag Balm: Quick Overview

Factors Aquaphor Bag Balm
Ingredients Petrolatum(41%), Panthenol, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Bisabolol 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulphate, Petrolatum(84%), Lanolin & Paraffin Wax.
Purpose Moisturizing ointment for dry and damaged skin Multi-purpose ointment for various skin concerns.
Healing Effective More effective.
Skin Barrier High High.
Water Content Present Absent.
Shelf life 30 months 7 – 10 years.
Slugging Good Bad.
Fragrance Fragrance-free Mild, herbal scent.

Understanding The Ingredients

Aquaphor and bag balm are both popular skincare products known for their moisturizing properties. To understand which product is best for your needs, it’s important to delve into the ingredients used in each and their respective benefits:

Explanation Of The Ingredients Used In Aquaphor

Aquaphor is formulated with a unique blend of ingredients that work together to provide intense hydration and nourishment to the skin. Some key ingredients found in Aquaphor include:

  • Petrolatum: This occlusive agent forms a protective barrier on the skin, effectively sealing in moisture and preventing it from evaporating. It helps to soothe dry, chapped skin and protects against external irritants.
  • Mineral oil: Acting as an emollient, mineral oil helps to soften and smooth the skin’s surface, reducing roughness and promoting a healthy, supple appearance. It also aids in the absorption of other beneficial ingredients.
  • Glycerin: Known for its humectant properties, glycerin attracts moisture from the environment and binds it to the skin, enhancing hydration levels. It helps to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier and keeps it plump and moisturized.

Benefits Of The Key Ingredients In Aquaphor

The combination of these key ingredients in Aquaphor offers several benefits for your skin:

  • Deep hydration: The occlusive nature of petrolatum creates a protective layer, preventing moisture loss and promoting long-lasting hydration.
  • Soothing relief: With its rich emollient properties, mineral oil helps to soothe and calm irritated and dry skin, providing much-needed relief.
  • Enhanced moisture retention: Glycerin’s humectant abilities attract and retain moisture, resulting in improved hydration and a smoother complexion.

Introduction To The Ingredients In Bag Balm

Bag balm is a multipurpose product initially developed for soothing cow udders but has gained popularity as a skincare treatment. The key ingredients in bag balm include:

  • Petrolatum: Like in Aquaphor, petrolatum in bag balm acts as a protective barrier, sealing in moisture and providing relief for dry and chapped skin.
  • Lanolin: Derived from sheep’s wool, lanolin is a highly emollient ingredient that helps to soften and moisturize the skin. It acts as a barrier, shielding the skin from external aggressors while locking in moisture.

Detailed Difference Between Aquaphor and Bag Balm

We have looked at the differences between Aquaphor and Bag Balm in the table above. Let’s dive into the details here:

Factor 1: Ingredients

Aquaphor has 8 ingredients, whereas the Bag Balm has only 4 ingredients. Aquaphor has Petrolatum(41%), Panthenol, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, and Bisabolol.

Bag Balm, on the other hand, has 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulphate, Petrolatum(84%), Lanolin & Paraffin Wax.

Ceresin and Paraffin wax has the same work, they bind the two ointments’ ingredients together. Lanolin combats cracked dry skin and moisturizes the skin. 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulphate provides antiseptic properties to Bag Balm, which is something Aquaphor doesn’t have.

On the other hand, Aquaphor has Bisabolol and Panthenol, which gives it soothing properties. And Bag Balm doesn’t have a soothing effect. Comparing the ingredients, both Aquaphor and Bag Balm have unique strengths along with common ones.

In short, none is better than the other. Both Aquaphor and Bag Balm have unique strengths but no downside.

Factor 2: Allergen

Both Aquaphor and Bag Balm have Lanolin, which is the only ingredient that can be potentially allergic to some people.

Lanolin is derived from sheep wool. So if you’re a vegan, that is something you should know. But Lanolin being an allergen is very rare. So both Aquaphor and Bag Balm are safe.

Factor 3: Healing

Aquaphor helps to repair your ruptured skin from acne, pimple, sunburn, or minor cuts. It takes as long as two to six months to heal the skin of your face.

Bag balm on the other hand can help you heal:

  • Dry and cracked skin.
  • Diaper Rash.
  • Minor burned skin.
  • Minor wounds.
  • Protects skin from the harsh winter cold.

Aquaphor doesn’t have any ingredients that effectively heal the skin. But for injured skin, it accelerates the healing process. It will act as an additional barrier while your skin heals itself.

Bag Balm, on the other hand, has 8-Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate, which has antiseptic properties to protect your skin from bacteria and infection. The thick texture also seals the skin from the harmful properties of the environment.

Is Bag Balm Better Than Aquaphor? If you’re looking for a go-to healing ointment, Bag Balm is better than Aquaphor. It helps to heal skin damage faster. It is also cheaper and has a longer shelf-life. It is also very effective against psoriasis and eczema. Bag Balm can be used to heal many types of skin issues. Bag Balm is also baby safe.

Factor 4:  Water Content

Aquaphor has a little water content in its formula, which makes the texture smoother and thinner. It also has a soothing effect.

Bag Balm, on the other hand, has no water content. It acts exceptionally well in a harsh cold environment to protect your skin. You will have healed your dry, cracked skin within days, which Aquaphor takes longer to do.

Is Bag Balm A Good Moisturizer? Bag Balm is a great moisturizer if you live in a harsh cold climate. The thick texture and high petrolatum content protect the skin from drying up. Aquaphor has lower petrolatum content.

It is good for all types of skin and is especially beneficial for acne-prone skin due to its non-comedogenic properties.

Factor 5: Slugging

Slugging is a new trend for retaining the moisture of the skin. For slugging, Aquaphor is better than Bag Balm. So, which is better Bag Balm vs Aquaphor slugging?

Slugging is a recently popular skincare practice. It involves lathering your face with a petrolatum-based jelly to lock in all the moisture. It helps to maximize the benefits of the skincare products you put on your face.

Aquaphor is lighter as a texture with glycerin and water content. It sits well on the skin and doesn’t have any kind of smell.

Bag Balm is too thick for slugging, and the lanolin gives off a sheepy smell, which is off-putting for slugging purposes. It can also clog your pores.

Factor 6: Shelf Life and Price

14 oz. of Aquaphor healing ointment costs nearly $30. Bag Balm costs only around $13 for 9.6 Oz. The shelf life of Aquaphor after opening the container is 30 months. Bag Balm lasts for decades.

Price and shelf-life-wise, Bag Balm have the upper hand.

Final Verdict

Between Aquaphor and Bag Balm, dermatologists recommend Aquaphor more. Bag Balm, for some reason, isn’t really trending, but it’s been around longer than Aquaphor.

A fun fact, Bag Balm was actually for healing cow udder wounds, but the farmers’ wives found out that it made their skin very soft and moisturized.

Aquaphor was actually made for human skin. It has more ingredients to help with your skin, while Bag Balm is made with simple ingredients.

So, it’s up to you to decide which ointment you want for yourself.


Can Aquaphor and Bag Balm be used interchangeably?

While Aquaphor and Bag Balm have similar moisturizing properties, they do have different formulations. It’s best to choose the product that aligns with your specific skincare needs.

Is Aquaphor suitable for all skin types?

Yes, Aquaphor is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. However, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before using it on a larger area.

Can Bag Balm be used on the face?

Bag Balm is generally safe to use on the face, but it may be too greasy for some individuals. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, it’s recommended to use it sparingly or as a targeted treatment.

Are Aquaphor and Bag Balm cruelty-free?

Aquaphor is not certified as cruelty-free. Bag Balm, on the other hand, states that its products are not tested on animals, but it is not officially certified as cruelty-free.

Can Bag Balm be used on pets?

Yes, Bag Balm can be used on pets, particularly for dry paw pads or minor skin irritations. However, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before using it on your pet.

Which product is better for tattoo aftercare: Aquaphor or Bag Balm?

Both Aquaphor and Bag Balm are commonly used for tattoo aftercare. It ultimately depends on personal preference and how your skin reacts to each product. Some tattoo artists may recommend one over the other.


In the battle of Aquaphor vs Bag Balm, both products have their unique qualities and benefits.

Aquaphor is a versatile moisturizer suitable for various skincare needs, while Bag Balm offers deep moisturization and is favored by those with specific skin concerns.

Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference, skin type, and specific skincare requirements.

Maria Jenkins

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *