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Numbing Bad About This One
Member Name: zoe_page_1
Date: 20/07/11, updated on 20/07/11 (464 review reads)
Advantages: Antiseptic and with a mild, temdporary numbing effect
Disadvantages: Not a local anaesthetic by any means, more expensive than own brands
I bought Germolene after reading a review of it, though since I was in Africa at the time it was a few months before I could get my hands on it. I had always happily used Savlon or a shop's own brand, but the thing that stuck out for me from the review was the inclusion of a local anaesthetic feature alongside the antiseptic properties all such creams boast, so when I needed a first aid kit to bring to South America, I thought this could be a good inclusion.
There is nothing fancy about the packaging, though like similar products Germolene comes in a tube inside a cardboard box which offers a little more protection for travelling. My tube is 30g which doesn't sound like much but lasts quite a long time - I've had it open for 6 months and regularly use it, but there's still some left. Though the expiration date is a long way away - Mar 2013 for a tube I bought in Jan 2011 - I still think it's better to have smaller tubes you can use up rather than a supersized one on the go. The small size also means I can tote it around with me in my handbag without problems.
Germolene is a thick white cream with a very medicinal smell. I like it, but then I have spent a lot of time working in hospitals so perhaps it is not as alarming / foreign to me. It rubs in very easily and is non-greasy which makes the whole experience a little more pleasant. Applied to cleaned skin it protects wounds from infection, but since other antiseptic creams do this too, that's nothing special. That said, I have used it on mosquito bites and it has helped prevent them from going manky, something I am quite prone to, so I would say it is at least as effective in this respect as those other creams.
The main difference between Germolene and the Savlons of the world is, as I said, the local anaesthetic it contains...or does it? Closer inspection of the tube tells me it is a "local anaesthetic effect" which makes much more sense. I have had LA injected 5 times in my arms when my Implanon implants have been being fitted or removed (I'm on number 4, but for number 3 they switched arms so that time I got jabs both sides). My main memory of it is that it hurts like heck for a noticeable minute and a half before it goes, taking all feeling with it. After that you can slit me open and tug away and I can't feel a thing. Therefore I was intrigued by the claims that Germolene in some way emulated this effect.
If you use anything on broken skin, from torn blisters to scratched bites, you run the risk of that initial stinging, especially if the product you are using in alcohol based. Therefore the first hurdle in my mind is to produce a non-stinging cream. Savlon doesn't sting, and they don't claim LA properties, so still, I was expecting more. As I expected Germolene didn't hurt at all, even when applied to recently ripped skin. And, though it may only be a placebo effect, I did feel it helped take the pain away, especially on newly torn blisters when touching them with anything, from plain water to a light cream can normally make me squirm in pain. The effect didn't last long, but at least it allowed me to apply the cream properly. Since in my mind placebos are some of the best medicine we have, whether or not it actually works maters little to me, as I'm much more concerned with whether I *think* something is working. And with Germolene, I did. For this reason I also think it would be fab for kids as you could tell them it was a 'magic' cream that takes away the boo boo - I'd have believed that then. I still believe it now.
Germolene costs £2.47 for a 55g tube on Boots.com currently. This compares to £2.89 for 60g of Savlon. I think I paid about £1.25 for my 30g tube in Home Bargains, and it's often in B&Ms too. Do I think it's worth it? It is certainly a good product, and nicer to apply than some cheap versions which leave you with a greasy film but compared to Savlon, I'm not 100% convinced it would be worth paying more if the current prices were reversed. I'll use up this tube and then I think I'll stick to whichever of the branded sisters is on offer...and if I end up with Savlon I'll just tell myself I read a review that said it too now has local anaesthetic properties, and that I'm sure will take the pain away. Mind over matter and all that.
Summary: The same as or a tad better than Savlon? You decide
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