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Original Noxzema cobalt blue jar
Product typeFacial Products
Introduced1914; 109 years ago (1914)
Previous owners

Noxzema (/nɒkˈsmə/ nok-SEE-mə)[1] is a brand of skin cleanser marketed by Unilever. Since 1914,[2] it was sold in a small cobalt blue jar; but is now sold in a blue plastic jar. Noxzema contains camphor, menthol, phenol and eucalyptus, among other ingredients. Originally developed as a sunburn remedy, it is a type of cold cream or vanishing cream (so named because it disappears after being left on for a few minutes) which is used as a facial cleanser and make-up remover. It can also be used for soothing chapped, sunburned, or otherwise irritated skin; and for getting rid of acne and other blemishes (as it draws dirt out of pores when left on for a few minutes or more). Since the introduction of Noxzema, the brand name has appeared on shaving cream, razors, and skin-cleansing cloths.

The main product and its line extensions have been marketed by a series of companies: Noxzema Chemical Company, Noxell Corporation, Procter & Gamble and Alberto-Culver (Unilever).


The original formula for Noxzema was invented by Dr. Francis J. Townsend[3] (1875-?), a physician/druggist by 1900, in Snow Hill, Maryland; by 1910, in Berlin, Maryland; and by 1920, in Ocean City, Maryland.[4] The formula was called "Townsend R22" and referred to commonly as "no-eczema".[5] Dr. Townsend, who practiced near the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, prescribed it as a remedy, mainly to beach resort vacationers who were severely burned by ultraviolet sun rays.

Townsend later gave the formula to druggist George Avery Bunting (1870-1959), who for many years denied the transaction. In about 1917, Bunting began producing and selling "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy", marketing the product as an alternative to the greasy, tallow-based medicating creams in use during the period. For the first 3 years, George A. Bunting and Elizabeth Buck mixed, heated and poured the product themselves. The name was changed to Noxzema, supposedly because a satisfied customer exclaimed, "Sure knocked my eczema!".[2] An early slogan was "The miracle cream of Baltimore".[3]


Beginning in 1920, the cream was produced by Bunting. In 1926, Noxzema Chemical Company broke ground and built a small factory in Baltimore, Maryland at the corner of W. 32 St. & Falls Cliff Rd.[6] In 1926, N.C.C. applied for a trade-mark with the U.S. Patent Office.[7] By 1937, 15 million units were being sold yearly.[8]

By the 1940s, the product was being sold throughout the United States, and it continued to be produced by the Noxzema Chemical Company. Management moved to the founder's son in 1949.[9] and, in 1966, the company was reorganized Noxell Corporation, but still under the ownership of the Bunting family.[10] Under a non-family member's leadership, the company "moved its headquarters to a building complex in Cockeysville, Md."[11]

In 1989 Procter & Gamble acquired the brand as part of the acquisition of Noxell. Alberto-Culver bought the rights to the brand in 2008 from Procter & Gamble[12] and operated the line of skin-care products[13] until Alberto-Culver was acquired by Unilever in 2010.[14] In October 2014, the Noxzema brand in Greece changed its ownership from Procter & Gamble to a domestic company, Sarantis, for €8.7 million.[15]


This "knocks eczema"[5] product, which says "shaving cream" on the container, was advertised from 1967 to 1973 as a medicated shaving lotion with the phrase "Take it off, Take it all off"[16] (referring to facial hair).[17][18] Earlier advertising, which had begun in the 1940s, via radio and print advertisements, was handled locally.[19]

In 1998 Proctor & Gamble unveiled "a foray into so-called nontraditional media" as "a break from traditional Noxzema advertising" in order to "stimulate sales of Noxzema skin cream among women ages 21 and over."[20] In 1999 they introduced and advertised product line extensions.[21]


  1. ^ Noxzema
  2. ^ a b Angela Taylor (April 14, 1972). "1914 to Now: The Little Blue jar's Story". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Jacques Kelly (February 14, 2009). "Old Building a Homely Piece of City History". Baltimore Sun.
  4. ^ 1900,1910,1920 U.S. Census Records
  5. ^ a b Patrick Di Justo (3 February 2015). This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth?: From Eggnog to Beef Jerky, the Surprising Secrets of What's Inside Everyday Products. Crown/Archetype. pp. 229–. ISBN 978-0-8041-3989-2.
  6. ^ The Anglo American 1938 Yearbook
  7. ^ 1926 Index of Patents Issued from the United States Patent Office
  8. ^ Life, November 29, 1937.
  9. ^ "Founder's Son to Head Noxzema". The New York Times. June 20, 1949.
  10. ^ Cross, Mary (2002). A Century of American Icons: 100 Products and Slogans from the 20th-Century Consumer Culture. Greenwood Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-0-3133-1481-0. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  11. ^ "Norbert Witt, 81, Dies; A Maker of Noxzema". The New York Times. July 19, 1990.
  12. ^ "Noxzema Finds a New Home With Alberto-Culver". Advertising Age. September 8, 2008.
  13. ^ Neff, Jeff (January 28, 2010). "Alberto-Culver to Begin Review for Global Creative, Media Duties". Advertising Age.
  14. ^ "Unilever Agrees to Acquire Alberto-Culver for $3.7 Billion". Advertising Age. September 27, 2010.
  15. ^ "Sarantis announced the acquisition of Noxzema". 9 October 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  16. ^ Rubenstein, Hal (September 26, 1993). "It's Growing". The New York Times. Gunilla Knutsson. Amazonian Scandinavian blonde appearing on TV each time this guy shaved with Noxzema. "Take it off. Take it all off," she'd purr in Nordic tones
  17. ^ "Noxzema Shave Cream TV Commercial". 1965 – via
  18. ^ "Advertising: The Copycats". Time. 11 July 1969. Archived from the original on December 14, 2008 – via
  19. ^ Spielvogel, Carl (January 28, 1959). "Noxzema Account Expanded". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Elliott, Stuart (June 3, 1998). "P.& G. takes a most unusual tack with its new, in-your-face ads". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Cardona, Mercedes M. (April 26, 1999). "P&G Reclaims Noxzema Franchise with Fitness". Advertising Age. Retrieved June 3, 2021. Noxzema Skin Fitness

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