ASCP Skin Deep

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2021

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72 ASCP Skin Deep January/February 2021 SKIN HISTORY What's Old is New by Mary Barthelme Abel OIL, HONEY, MILK, FRUIT—THESE ARE just a few of the basic, natural ingredients found in skin care products sold in today's top spas. But did you know archaeological evidence shows that ancient Egyptian women were using these same ingredients on their skin 6,000 years ago? And they've been proven to be so effective we've been using them ever since. ANCIENT TIMES Egyptians depended on castor, sesame, and moringa oils to fight wrinkles, and honey and milk masks as moisturizers. They exfoliated with Dead Sea salt. Ancient Greeks favored combining fresh berries with milk to create what sounds like a fine lactic acid mask high in antioxidants, and olives and olive oil to exfoliate and moisturize. MEDIEVAL, RENAISSANCE, AND BAROQUE ERAS Beginning in the 12th century, white skin was thought to be the epitome of beauty, and women used lemon juice and herbal mixes to promote fair skin. In the 15th and 16th centuries, toxic ingredients like silver mercury and lead were used to make skin look whiter. Back to the good stuff. Top ingredients included vinegar used as an astringent and boiled with oatmeal to treat pimples. Puffy eyes were soothed with bread soaked in rose water. Milk and honey continued to remain popular skin cleansers. MODERN TIMES The 19th and 20th centuries brought easy access to beauty products and some iconic inventions: Chapstick, Vaseline, Carmex, and commercial sunscreen. But the 1980s saw a rise in all-natural skin care; think Dr. Howard Murad and Burt's Bees. And even though our products seem more advanced and effective, a new dawn of environmentalism, sustainability, and the "clean" movement brings many products back to their natural beginnings.

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