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Is Noxzema Good For Acne?

The effectiveness of Noxzema has been quite well known for generations in controlling the ‘stubborn zits’.  It is an over-the-counter cosmetic brand which sells cleansers, anti-blemish-wipes and creams which may be used as a daily cleanser.

Whether we know it as a cleanser or cold cream, it has been around for decades. It became iconic in the ’50s and in the 90’s it was associated with Rebecca Gay heart circa’s glowing beauty. It has been floating around in cobalt blue jars, followed by anti-blemish pads in American households for generations.

What is Noxzema?

Noxzema is the absolute acne healer for generations. Currently, there are various forms of Noxzema. It exists as anti-blemish pads, Classic Original deep cleanser and Classic Moisturizing cleanser. They are available as scrubs as well. Noxzema has an active ingredient, 2% salicylic acid while the other ingredients vary according to the type of product.

For example, the anti-blemish pads contain:

  • Salicylic Acid 2%
  • Water
  • PEG 4
  • PPG 11
  • Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil
  • Camphor
  • Menthol
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Fragrance

The formulation in creams would vary but the 2% salicylic acid is a constant. The primary function of salicylic acid is to clear pores and get the debris out of the pores and it is also keratolytic which means it removes the top layer of the skin by mild shedding and is replaced by new and smoother skin.

It helps in making hard skin softer. Hence Noxzema, in theory, is said to be beneficial for eczema. It has also shown positive results in psoriasis which is a condition where there are overproduction of cells but the United States of Health & Human Services does not provide safety recommendations for the use of this cream in Eczema or Psoriasis.

According to board-certified Medical and Cosmetic dermatologists Dr Debra Jaliman MD and Rachel Nazarian at NYC, Noxzema is great at exfoliating and cleansing but may cause irritation due to the chemicals which are used for fragrance and may not be as effective among sensitive skin.

How Does Noxzema Cream Work?

Let’s dive deeper into the formulations of Noxzema Original deep cleansing cream and moisturizing cleansing cream.

Five Components Are Similar In Both Products:

  1. Soybean Oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. It is not only calming and hydrating; it protects the skin against free radicals, preventing wrinkles and premature ageing.
  2. Linseed Oil is fatty oil that holds moisture, improves hydration and helps keep the skin barrier intact. According to Dr.Nazarian, it has a ‘calming’ and ‘cooling’ effect on dry and sensitive skin.
  3. Eucalyptus provides a cooling effect and is anti-inflammatory. It clears pores as it has antibacterial properties.
  4. Menthol has a cooling effect and is known to improve circulation and relief pain. It can be derived from peppermint of the eucalyptus plant. It is also synthetically made.
  5. Camphor – The bark and wood are thoroughly distilled and has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces pain topically.

If there is a second most favourite after creams, that would be Noxzema Pads. The above components are the same but it has the active ingredient which is 2% salicylic acid which helps to unclog pores and exfoliates the skin gently. One must be aware that it may ‘sting’ a little on the skin but is very mild.

How to Use Noxzema:

Different skin types react differently to the product. Some show improvement immediately while others take a few days. If the skin is very dry then it is better to choose a soap free cleanser rather than Noxzema. For oily, acne prone skin with zits and breakouts, leaving it for a length of time is enough. An adequate amount is layered over the face and left for 20-30 minutes then removed with a warm towel or rinsed off.

Noxzema The Original Deep Cleansing Cream

In case of anti-blemish pads, it is advised to use once a day in order to check if the consumer is comfortable with the ‘stingy’ sensation typical Noxzema leaves over the skin. With time, according to the skin condition, more than one may be used.

To reap maximum benefits, apply steam to the face for a few minutes prior to using the cleanser so that the pores are open and the cleanser can penetrate the deeper pores to remove dirt and debris.
Dr. Rimita FaridDr. Rimita Farid

Is Noxzema safe?

Due to the fragrance in the formulation of the cream, it may cause irritation among sensitive skin. This product also has propylene glycol which is a common allergen but overall, it has been declared as a safe cream which suits most skin types and cleanses the skin without over-drying the skin surface due to the oils in the formulation.

Dr Jaliman emphasizes that the anti-blemish pads may irritate sensitive skin due to fragrance and there are no calming effects as there are in the formulation of the cream for sensitive acne-prone skin. So, if compared with the deep cleaning and moisturizing cream are safer than the anti-blemish pads for sensitive skin. This is why the anti-blemish pads are usually recommended to use once a day and build up over time.

Can Noxzema be Left Over Night?

Since the product is used as a cleanser, it has saponifiers which will over dry and irritate the skin, if left overnight. However, a lot of consumers have left it overnight and have experienced better results but it is better to use as instructed. It may be applied and left for 20-30 minutes and then wiped off with a towel or rinsed off.

Side Effects

  • Like other medications, Noxzema can have side effects. It can cause irritation of skin but mild and temporary.
  • Accidental ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, vomiting so must be kept away from children.

Noxzema for Scars

Noxzema has not shown to reduce scars. Patients with oily or acne prone skin did mention about their skin being one shade lighter. However, it could be due to removal of excess oil, debris and dirt from deep pores that ‘appears’ to be lighter.

Noxzema for different types of Acne:

Noxzema For Hormonal Acne

Hormonal acne appears around puberty and stress in either of the genders. Menopause and during ‘that time’ of the month in women can be reasons for hormonal acne as well. It usually appears in the T- the zone where it is usually oilier. Noxzema can aid in the treatment by reducing active acne, providing sebum control, relief to the painful zits and helping the skin to be clearer. However, without assessing the cause of the imbalance in hormone levels the treatment is not complete.

Noxzema For Fungal Acne

Fungal acne appears as bacterial or hormonal acne but there a few clues that lead to the proper diagnosis. They are caused by Malasezzia, a type of yeast that is around the hair follicle. The fungus is a part of the normal flora of the skin but when a certain balance of the skin and immune system is disrupted it can cause fungal acne.

Researchers have considered the following conditions which provide clues in diagnosing fungal acne:

  • Do not respond to over the counter acne products
  • Do not respond to antibiotics
  • Usually appears in crops along with whiteheads
  • If the patient is immune-compromised such as a transplant or an HIV positive patient
  • After spending time in ICU

Noxzema may aid in the treatment of fungal acne as the active ingredient, 2% salicylic acid helps clear the debris, excess oil and dirt from pores but again, without using antifungal medication (in the oral or topical form) or treating the actual cause which leads to fungal acne, the treatment is not complete.

Noxzema For Cystic acne

Cystic acne results from cysts deep under the skin and is the most serious kind of acne. It is most common in teens or seen more often in hormonal acne. It can result from bacteria, oil and debris being trapped within pores and is usually painful. Noxzema original deep cleansing cream, moisturizer cleansing cream or scrub with their active ingredient helps to clear pore and reduce cystic acne. The eucalyptus oil and menthol aid in cooling and easing the associated pain.

Some concerns which various consumers have shown over the years regarding Noxzema is that:

  • Not suitable for overly sensitive or irritated skin.
  • It contains derivatives from Pork which may not allow certain consumers to use to the product.
  • It is not animal cruelty-free.
  • Not considered Non-Comedogenic

Is Noxzema Good For Acne- Final Judgment

After so much research about Noxzema, it can be concluded that there have been adequate and effective benefits that acne sufferers have received from this particular brand of product for generations!

Whether it is the original deep cleansing cream, the moisturizing cleansing cream or the anti-blemish pads, it has shown benefits in most types of skin, but with sensitive and very dry skin, it has shown irritation due to fragrance.

Noxzema has survived in the market as an over the counter ‘acne healer’ for generations and over time it has proven its sustainability even after constant evolution in the cosmetic industry.  The kind of market value this product holds till date, exhibits its effectivity, viability and the level of consumer satisfaction.

However, since the pros outweigh the cons, I would recommend this product to my patients who suffer from acne but only after analyzing their skin type thoroughly.

Related Reading:

  1. Do Acne Scars Go Away?
  2. Does Olive Oil Cause Acne?

Hi this is Dr. Rimita Farid. I have completed my MBBS from MAHSA University in Kuala Lampur , Malaysia and currently a registered doctor in Bangladesh. I am training in Dermatology and Venerology and writing for me has been a hobby, even before i decided to be a doctor. I believe our lives are getting stressful with every moment and i believe writing is the solution to all our problems. The power of pen and paper is highly underestimated by many, and i am blessed that i realized how stimulating writing can be for my well being. Hope my articles are relatable and can reach as many readers as possible.