For over 90 years, people have counted on Noxzema to clean and refresh their skin and to help conditions ranging from sunburn to eczema. Noxzema was created in Baltimore by a pharmacist, Dr. Bunting. According to Procter & Gamble’s company history, the cream got its name from an early customer who told Dr. Bunting, “Your cream knocked my eczema!” This cream is now sold as The Original Deep Cleansing Cream. Noxzema works because of three active ingredients: eucalyptus, menthol and camphor.
Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree whose leaves and oil have been used by many cultures for its healing properties. Australian Aborigines, Chinese and Europeans are among those whose medical tradition includes using eucalyptus to heal fungal infections and treat wounds. An analysis of eucalyptus leaves showed that they contained the antiseptic cineole, an antioxidant quercetin and tannins believe to reduce inflammation. These substances explain why Noxzema is effective.
Many lotions and medicines applied to the skin contain the ingredient menthol. It has three main effects. It cools the skin and acts as a local anesthetic, providing temporary relief from painful conditions. It is also a penetration enhancer, increasing the ability of other substance to permeate the skin and possibly increasing their effectiveness. Noxzema works through the interaction of all its ingredients.
Camphor can be found naturally in the bark and wood of the camphor tree or it can be artificially created in the lab. Camphor is an ingredient in many anti-itching and anti-infection products because it acts as a mild pain reliever when applied to the skin. As is found in Noxzema, camphor is frequently used with menthol.
References and ResourcesUniversity of Maryland Medical Center: Eucalyptus
Skin Disposition of Menthol
University of Michigan Health System: Camphor
ResourcesP&G Company History: Noxzema
Noxzema Product Website