Original Cleansing Cream, Jar
Noxzema Original Cleansing Cream—yes, that drugstore stalwart that's been around seemingly since the dawn of time—has been reformulated, but it's not an improvement. This slightly revamped version remains a product you shouldn't put anywhere near your skin!
The jelly-like cleanser is supposed to remove dirt, makeup, and oil while leaving your face moisturized. Instead, it could wind up doing quite a bit of damage because it's loaded with irritating ingredients like eucalyptus oil, fragrance, camphor, phenol, and menthol, none of which benefit anyone's skin. These are some of the worse irritants found in the world of skincare, but rarely all in one place.
In use, you'll feel the classic Noxzema tingle, but that's not a sign that it's working; rather, it's your skin telling you loud and clear that it's being irritated! (See More Info for details on what irritation can do to skin over time.)
Indeed, this ranks as the most irritating cleanser at the drugstore—we can't think of another cleanser, not even a bar soap, that contains more problematic ingredients!
For far better options, see our list of Best Cleansers.
- Contains several skin-irritating ingredients.
Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!
Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.
A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don't get lulled into thinking that if you don't see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.
Generally, it's best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there's no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Weaknesses: Almost all products reviewed contain a blend of camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil; none of anti-acne or anti-blackhead products work as claimed; no topical disinfectant for acne-prone skin; no sunscreens; no moisturizers.
Your skin-care goal should never include causing needless irritation, but that's exactly what you'll get from almost all of the Noxzema products, and that seems to have been their theme for decades. Noxzema is proud of its history, but that pride is hollow because these products are a problem for any skin type. Also, what we know today about how to take the best possible care of skin is vastly different from what we knew when Noxzema first launched, and yet their formulas havent changed. Think of it like using a typewriter rather than a computer, why would you do that? Many of you may have nostalgic memories of Noxzema's recognizable scent, but that is the only way we'd recommend experiencing these products. With the exception of one standard clay mask and a couple of questionable cleansers, this line is one of the few that deserves complete avoidance.
For more information about Noxzema, call (800) 436-4361 or visit www.noxzema.com. As of late 2008, Noxzema is under the ownership of Alberto-Culver; it was formely owned by Procter & Gamble (Source: The Rose Sheet, September 15, 2008, page12).
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.