The truth about using Noxzema on your skin

It was in many of our grandmothers’ medicine cabinets, and it was likely one of the first beauty products we tried: Noxzema’s classic deep cleanser in that iconic blue jar. You can probably smell it now. But as the beauty industry has grown and shifted, products have evolved at an astounding pace. There now are countless options now available for deeply cleansing the skin with oil-based washes. So how does Noxzema, which became a household name in the age of poodle skirts and Elvis, hold up in today’s world?

Well, because the product is heavily fragranced, it can be very irritating for people with sensitive skin or who are allergic to fragrances or essential oils (via Byrdie). It also contains propylene glycol, which is known to be irritating to those with sensitive skin  That said, the main ingredients (of which there are refreshingly few) pack some serious beauty-boosting punches, so there’s a reason this classic cleanser has stood the test of time.

Noxzema's ingredients and what they do to your skin

Aside from added fragrance and stabilizing and binding agents, the ingredients in Noxzema’s Deep Cleansing Cream include water, soybean oil, linseed oil, camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol, per SkinCarisma. Each of these ingredients has a purpose that dermatologists say can and do help heal and improve skin (via Byrdie). Linseed oil is fatty and improves hydration, while strengthening the skin barrier. Soybean oil is high in fatty acids and antioxidants. Camphor decreases inflammation and reduces pain. And menthol, the ingredient responsible for that cool tingle, improves blood flow and is used in after-sun creams to ease burning. Eucalyptus also contributes to that cool tingle and the strong smell, plus it cleanses pores while acting as a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

So if you’re not sensitive to the ingredients, is good old super-cheap Noxzema as effective as some of those pricey serums we’ve all been using? Very possibly. HuffPost writer Dana Oliver swears her grandmother, who not only used the cold cream every night of her adult life but slept with it on and rinsed in the morning (not what the directions suggest), has the most beautiful and supple skin a woman in her 90s could hope for. In fact, Oliver tried her grandmother’s routine for a week and reports that aside from having to wash her pillowcases a lot, her skin displayed a new dewiness and reduced dark spots and discolorations. Sounds like our grandmothers may have been onto something. 

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