Is DuoFlex Cream Better Than Blue-Emu?

Many people ask us if DuoFlex is as good as Blue-Emu or Australian Dream. Our answer: It's way better.

Here is a quick comparison chart which shows price, active ingredients, key ingredients - including the disclosed percentage of Emu Oil, and most important UNSAFE INGREDIENTS at the bottom.

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First, let's look at the Active Ingredients.

According to the FDA products that claim to produce a biological effect on the human body, like pain relief, must use a recognized substance or compound that produces its chemical or biological effect.

They have a list of ingredients in the OTC Monograph System (the regulatory standards for the marketing of non-prescription drug products not covered by new drug applications) that they have recognized as effective for certain conditions. In this case, all of the Active Ingredients listed have been approved by the FDA as external analgesics.

  • Duoflex uses Menthol an organic compound from corn mint, peppermint, or other mint oils verified by the FDA as a natural analgesic.
  • Blue-Emu Original Formula does not have an active ingredient.
  • Blue-Emu Arthritis Formula uses Trolamine Salicylate an organic compound which is the salt formed between triethanolamine (also known as TEA, is a reactionary by-product of two toxic substances: ethylene oxide and ammonia, said to carry health concerns by EWG) and salicylic acid (a naturally occurring compound found in white willow and wintergreen leaves).
  • Australian Dream uses Histamine dihydrochloride which is a lab-produced compound (chemical salt) extracted from histamines. Histamines are naturally occurring compounds produced by your body's immune system.


Now, let's look at the Key Ingredients.

These ingredients are considered the most important or essential parts of the product. Although they may not be recognized by the FDA, historical usage, numerous testimonials, clinical studies, and research have indicated that they may deliver relief from pain and/or inflammation.

Aloe Leaf Juice, Aloe Vera Gel, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: a natural liquid derived from the hollow interior of the leaves of the Aloe plant. It consists of >75 ingredients including amino acids, enzymes, hormones, minerals, saponins, sterols, sugar (starch), lectins & vitamins. Aloe Vera has a natural cyclooxygenase (COX-2) inhibiting effect which reduces pain, fever, and inflammation in the muscle without the harmful effects of the COX-2 inhibiting drugs.

Arnica Extract:
commonly called leopard’s bane, arnica herb reduces pain and swelling by stimulating the activity of white blood cells which digest congested blood, and by dispersing trapped fluids from bumped, bruised tissue in inflamed muscles and joints.

Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Oil:
contains a compound called aescin which has shown anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictor and vasoprotective effects to significantly improve symptoms of pain, itching, burning, and swelling.
Allantoin: is a natural active ingredient derived from roots & leaves of the comfrey plant which relieves pain and inflammation.

Anthemis Nobilis Flower (Roman) Chamomile Extract:
an herbal extract used for soothing irritated, inflamed skin and its ability to soften troubled skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in calcium, which is known to help relax muscles.

Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract aka Marigold Flower Extract:
is anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-microbial, parasiticide (roundworms), stomachic, and sedative. Typically used to heal wounds, burns, bruises, cuts, fungal infections, soothes inflammations, aches, pains and strains

Capsicum:
a compound found in chili-peppers which causes a warming sensation. Capsaicin works by depleting your nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which is important for sending pain messages from trauma, arthritis, and muscle or cartilage problems to your brain. Reduce substance P and reduce the pain signal.

d-glucosamine, Glucosamine Sulfate: has been shown to lubricate joints, help cartilage retain water and prevent its breakdown.

Emu Oil:
it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and circulation booster, which penetrates deeply into skin and muscles, it's high concentration of Omega 9 oleic acid allows it to encapsulate other ingredients and draw them through the skin barrier to deep tissue and joint inflammation. Studies have shown that a minimum of 12-15% emu oil must be used in a formulation to optimize these properties.

DuoFlex contains 16% Emu Oil, I could not find disclosed percentages on the packaging or websites of the other products and received responses to inquiries indicating that was proprietary information. Previously, I had read in forums that Blue-Emu only contained 5% Emu Oi, but was unable to verify that.

Feverfew Extract:
reduces pain and inflammation throughout the entire body. It does this by preventing the release of inflammatory substances that initiate and lengthen inflammation inside body tissue.

Helianthus Annuus Oil (Sunflower):
used historically as a topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.

Hempseed Oil:
contains all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids that are necessary for human life and possesses powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

MSM aka Methylsulfonylmethane and Dimethyl Sulfone:
naturally occurring sulfur compounds that can be taken internally or applied topically. MSM increases the permeability of cell walls meaning nutrients can pass through the tissue more easily while toxins and inflammation can drain away.

Nettle Extract:
studies show that hox-alpha, an extract of stinging nettle leaf, contains an anti-inflammatory substance that suppressed several cytokines in inflammatory joint diseases to curtail aches and pains.

Peppermint Oil: because peppermint oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties, it not only relieves pain and inflammation but can also calm the spasms that cause muscle cramps.

Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Root Extract:
Comfrey's original name, knitbone, derives from the external use of poultices of its leaves and roots to heal breaks, sprains, swelling, and bruises. In Western Europe, comfrey has been used topically for treating inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, gout, and thrombophlebitis, and internally for treating diarrhea.

Willow Bark Extract:
from the European White Willow contains the chemical salicin a compound chemically similar to aspirin. Salicin is metabolized in the body to salicylic acid, which is a precursor to aspirin. The herbal extract has long been popular as a remedy to relieve pain and inflammation.

Witch Hazel Extract:
contains chemicals called tannins which help reduce swelling, repair broken skin, and fight bacteria.

Zanthoxylum Alatum (Winged Prickly Ash) Fruit Extract:
one of the most important medicinal plants in Indian medicine. The entire bush has many uses one of which is the relief of minor aches and pain of muscle and joints in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.


Now, let's Look at possibly Unsafe Ingredients:

I feel the next most important area to review are the Other Ingredients used for Aesthetic or Stability Purposes that are registered as unsafe or of concern with the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

First, let me introduce you to EWG if you are not familiar with them. The Environmental Working Group’s mission is "to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action."

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ is their cosmetic ingredient database. 1 (low hazard) to 10 (high concern).

 

Acrylates/Acrylamide Copolymer, Acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer: Synthetic ingredients used to thicken and enhance the texture of skincare, also called carbomers. During the polymerization process, which is performed on alkyl acrylate to produce this ingredient, benzene is often used as the solvent. Benzene is a highly carcinogenic, toxic, and environmentally hazardous chemical. While the product receives a score of 2 from EWG for its skin irritation properties, it may contain remnants of benzene which scores a 10.

Butylene Glycol: a petroleum by-product used as a preservative. it easily penetrates the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. It can cause skin irritation, dermatitis, and hives. Repeated exposure may also lead to sensitivity or skin allergies.

C13-14 Isoparaffin: a mixture of hydrocarbons (mineral oils) derived from petroleum. The skin’s ability to release toxins is impeded by this ‘plastic wrap,’ that can promote acne and other disorders. This process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.

Cholecalciferol: is actually Vitamin D3, called a vitamin but actually a hormone to treat neurogenic inflammation and neuropathic pain, which sounds great. But, EWG gives it a score of 5 stating concerns of organ system (non-reproductive) toxicity. I believe it all has to do with dosage, interestingly enough it is the main ingredient in some rat poisons.

Dimethicone: is a synthetic oil made from two different types of silicone polymers, D4 and D5. It is used primarily as a skin and hair conditioner. Manufacturers like it because it adds a gliding feel to lotions and creams. Evidence shows D4 to be an endocrine disruptor, meaning it interferes with human hormone function and as a possible reproductive toxicant that may impair human fertility.

Lab animal experiments using high levels of D5 have caused uterine tumors and harm to the reproductive and immune systems. D5 also showed an ability to influence neurotransmitters in the nervous system. Furthermore, it is not biodegradable and is banned in Canada because it is accumulating in aquatic organisms.

Disodium EDTA: used as a preservative, foaming and binding agent, the jury is still out on this compound. In itself, in low dosages, it appears to be harmless. However, it does enhance skin penetration of other ingredients, so when coupled with questionable ingredients it may increase their dangers.

As a result of its widespread use, disodium EDTA is being released into the environment in plentiful amounts and increasing the dangers of cumulative build-up. This has led environmentalist groups to research and learn more of its toxic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic dangers at higher levels.

F D & C Blue #1: coloring agents that have been synthesized from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin. This can cause irritation and increase skin sensitivity. In animal studies, almost all of these synthetic colors have been shown to be carcinogenic.

Glyceryl Stearate and Peg-100 Stearate: (listed together under Blue-Emu) Glyceryl Stearate appears harmless. It is used to reduce the greasiness of oils used in personal care products, and is approved by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review board and also received the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) rating from the FDA.

However, Peg-100 Stearate is another story. The EWG jas issued warnings regarding cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, contamination concerns, irritation, and organ system toxicity. According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEGs (including PEG 100 Stearate) can contain harmful impurities, including Ethylene Oxide, known to increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer. According to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program, PEG-100 Stearate should not be used on broken or irritated skin. Although PEGs after studies showed that burn patients treated with PEG-based antimicrobial cream later suffered kidney toxicity.
Imidazolidinyl Urea: used as a preservative. It releases formaldehyde gas which has a variety of effects on the human body including joint pain, skin reactions, cancer, allergies, headaches, chronic fatigue, chest pains, ear infections, depression, dizziness, and insomnia.

Laureth-7: an emulsifier and surfactant, evidence shows chronic aquatic toxicity; cancer; and developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects.

Methylisothiazolinone: a widely-used preservative that has been associated with allergic reactions. Lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest that methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic (kills nerve cells). Has an EWG score of 7.

Mineral Oil: a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline, is inexpensive and when applied to the skin helps control water loss. However, it may be contaminated with hydrocarbons which are one of the greatest contaminants of the human body causing various negative hormonal effects, including ovarian dysfunction, endometriosis, miscarriages, and damage to the immune system, Anderson states. Ironically, this is the main ingredient in Johnsons Baby Oil which we were all slathered with as children. Starting to see the whole picture?

Phenoxyethanol: used as a preservative and stabilizer in cosmetic products. Exposure to phenoxyethanol has been linked to reactions ranging from eczema to severe, life-threatening allergic symptoms.

Polysorbate 80, Polysorbate 85: The best advice is to stay away from all polysorbates. We just don’t have enough info yet. While the Data Sheets only lists eye irritation as a hazard, the Cosmetics Database also notes cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity concerns, with lesser concerns including organ toxicity and neurotoxicity, although it ultimately finds it a low hazard ingredient at low dosages.

Much of the concern comes through contamination (leftovers from it being combined with other chemicals) with compounds like Ethylene Oxide in a process called ethoxylation. 1,4-dioxane is also present as a by-product of the ethoxylation process, which is a known carcinogen linked to organ toxicity.

EWG cosmetic product reviews find that as many as 22% of the more than 25,000 cosmetics products in its database contain 1,4-dioxane.

Polysorbate 80 is additionally one of the chemical concerns of vaccines where it is used to bind ingredients.
Potassium Sorbate: a preservative that is regarded as safe and non-toxic in low dosages, prolonged use, and large cumulative amounts can potentially lead to allergies.
Retinyl Palmitate: a form of Vitamin A, one of the most important vitamins for the skin. However, when in contact with skin, it converts into retinol. This is a known skin irritant and can cause peeling, scaling, redness, and itching. There are research warnings about side effects of retinyl palmitate, including cancer, reproductive problems, and organ toxicity. Sodium Polyacrylate: according to the EWG Cosmetics Database, Sodium Polyacrylate is considered a moderate hazard ingredient, primarily due to contamination concerns. This ingredient can contain methacrylic acid, acrylic acid or 2-ethylhexyl acrylate, known toxins that can be formed during its synthetic processing.

It is also classified as "expected to be toxic or harmful" because of potential organ system toxicity effects, according to the Environmental Canada Domestic Substance List.What frightened me the most is that Sodium Polyacrylate is used as an absorbing agent in diapers and tampons and has been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Tetrasodium EDTA:

used primarily to maintain clarity and protect fragrance compounds, EDTA is made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde - a known carcinogen according to the National Cancer Institute - and sodium cyanide (which is made from the toxic gas hydrogen cyanide). EDTA itself has been linked to cancer, organ system toxicity, and irritation.

It gets worse. This ingredient is also a penetration enhancer. That means it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, making it easier for other potentially harmful ingredients in the formula to sink deeper into your tissues and perhaps even into your bloodstream.
Triethanolamine: used to increase foam in cleansers and to adjust pH in creams. It is a known eye and skin irritant and will also cause contact dermatitis. It is easily absorbed by the skin and accumulates in the organs of the body and the brain.

Summary

While many of these ingredients are only allowed in low dosages in our products you need to consider the cumulative effect of encountering them over and over again in your environment. They will show up in a wide range of cosmetics, personal care, and cleaning products; packaging (cans and bottles); fabrics for clothing, rugs, furniture, bedding, and elsewhere. We have surrounded ourselves with these chemicals.

Additionally, many of those used for cosmetics and personal care are washed off and enter our water supply and the environment. Some do not readily break down and come back to us later in our drinking water.

Is it any wonder so many people have allergies and metabolic conditions, not to mention cancers and organ failures? Small steps is all you can do - so read your labels and choose the best products you can find.

If you suffer with chronic or break-through pain - DuoFlex All Natural Cream for Muscles and Joints is the best choice for you and your loved ones.