The personal-care company that makes Nivea fought back in California federal court on Monday at a proposed class action alleging its skin-firming lotion is an unapproved drug, saying that theory has no basis in reality.
A few remarks, most of them irrelevant. Well, irrelevant to the lawsuit I mention above. Highly relevant–and pay attention, people!–to anyone who worries about dry skin because I’m going to tell you how to get rid of it completely and forever.
Nivea makes some excellent stuff. I know this because I used to use one of their products, their bath body oil–or whatever it was called.
There was only one reason I used it: the first ingredient listed on the rear label was lanolin. I don’t remember how many decades ago my mother began using lanolin as an emollient but I have infant memories of the Wellcome Lanolin jar sitting at the side of her bathtub.
I particularly loved the scent.
So when, as a young adult, I learned from one of those excellent studies done by the New York Times that dermatologists declared lanolin to be the best emollient (never mind your shea butter whatever that is, and your aloe vera and all those exoticas), I focused on finding a bath oil containing lanolin. And applauded my late mom for knowing so many valuable secrets of life, apparently long before anyone else.
You all know, don’t you, that when formulas for things like bath oil are placed on the labels, the ingredients are listed in order of their prominence in usage? So, if a bottle’s label says “lanolin” first, you know that lanolin is the prime ingredient.
Thus, I found Nivea. It was expensive but it worked beautifully. If I used it properly–according to those dermatologists’ recommendations–it lasted quite a while, too.
Dermatologists’ recommendation for application of bath oil, with my long-time experiential gold badge of approval:
- After you’ve showered but before you towel off, apply the bath oil.
- Two reasons: it is water that keeps our skin from drying out, not any oil on the skin surface. The goal is to allow the skin to act as a sponge and absorb as much water as it can when we bathe or shower. While the skin remains as wet as it can be, i.e., before toweling, apply oil onto the surface to keep the water in, i.e., prevent it from evaporating. (As we get older, our skin’s natural oil is reduced. That’s why our skin starts feeling dry and that’s why we need bath oil.)
- Enough of that little lesson. Second reason to apply the bath oil before toweling off: you’ll need less oil because the water on your skin schmears the oil quickly and easily, unlike if you apply it to your dried skin.
OK, so: Nivea was the only bath oil at the time that listed lanolin first.
One day I went to get more Nivea and saw on the front: NEW IMPROVED FORMULA! And I said: OH FUCK. Because my excellent instincts (and background as a child of a guy who had his own advertising agency) told me a NEW IMPROVED FORMULA would be new, yes, but no way improved.
And I was correct. Nivea no longer listed lanolin in the ingredients.
I was pissed off.
I also knew from that New York Times survey of dermatologists that the second best emollient was petrolatum. That is, petroleum jelly. So I found some oil with petrolatum listed first and bought it, but no way was it as good as lanolin.
I trotted over to Bigelow, New York’s terrific drug store on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village, and bought some pure lanolin. It was far less expensive than the original Nivea, or than any other commercial bath oil product.
But I found that it was too viscous to go on well in its pure form, so I made up my own formula consisting of pure lanolin–I melted it in a pot on the stove–with some baby oil mixed in, to loosen it up.
Then I put it into a pump bottle and have been using this formula ever since. Per the method I laid out above–schmear it on before toweling off.
Alas, Bigelow stopped carrying pure lanolin so I now buy it the way I dislike buying anything: on line. Can’t find it anywhere in the city.
I have never had dry skin.
I have nothing much to say about this lawsuit except: Nivea, you dropped lanolin from your formula and I dropped you. Which is too bad because you do make good stuff. Except so do I. And so will anyone who reads this post.
Oh, one other thing. What kind of drug exactly is Nivea supposed to be putting into its lotion? A smoking type drug? An inhaling type drug? An apply it to your skin and get high sort of drug?