ASCP Skin Deep

WINTER 2022

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72 ASCP Skin Deep Winter 2022 IT SEEMS THAT AS EARLY as 3100 BCE, humans were interested in protecting their skin from the sun. While there is little literature on the ways they avoided sunburn, evidence from paintings suggest that veils and large brim hats were used by ancient Greeks, and that umbrellas existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, and India. Ancient Egyptians used natural remedies such as rice, jasmine, and lupine extracts to protect their skin from the sun. Greeks used olive oil, and Native Americans applied sunfl ower oil. The invention of modern sunscreen started in 1801 with the discovery of ultraviolet rays by German scientist Johann Ritter. This discovery made it possible to understand how sunburns occurred and allowed sunscreen makers to refi ne their formulas. Though the inventor of sunscreen is a topic of debate, most sources give credit to Franz Greiter, a Swiss chemistry student who created Glacier Cream around 1938 after being severely sunburned while climbing Mount Piz Buin. Sunscreen started making waves in France in 1936. Eugène Schueller, the founder of L'Oreal, discovered that the French brands he tried didn't really work. He created his own brand of sunscreen called Ambre Solaire that contained benzyl salicylate as an ultraviolet-ray absorber. It was the middle of the 20th century before companies jumped on the sunscreen (or, more precisely, suntan lotion) bandwagon to meet consumer SKIN HISTORY My Fair Lady The evolution of sunscreen by Mary Barthelme Abel demand—think Coppertone in 1944, Bonne Bell in the 1960s, and Hawaiian Tropic in the '70s (which had an SPF of 2). In the 1980s, zinc oxide became a popular ingredient in sunscreen lotions. It, along with titanium dioxide, are the main ingredients of what we now call mineral or physical sunscreens. And the debate about the safety and effi cacy of mineral versus chemical sunscreen continues. In 2018, Hawaii banned the use of sunscreens that include chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate as they're harmful to coral reefs and other marine life, opening a new discussion about how to protect both our skin and the natural world at the same time.

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