ASCP Skin Deep

MAY | JUNE 2017

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50 may/june 2017 ANCIENT BEAUTY SECRETS The first beauty treatments stemmed from the earliest medical practices in ancient China, Egypt, and Israel. And, of course, the earliest medical treatments were made from ingredients found in nature. These treatments included mudpacks, oils, herbs, and fragrances. Cleopatra reportedly used almond oil, apple cider vinegar, Dead Sea salt scrubs, honey, and milk baths as antiaging rituals. This famous queen is said to have used lactic acid (found in sour milk) and tartaric acid (found in wine) to give herself mild chemical peels, but her most costly secret was reportedly using a face mask treatment made from pure gold. The early Hebrews used olive and grapeseed oils to moisten and protect the skin. They prepared ointment from hyssop, an aromatic plant originally found near the Black Sea and in central Asia, for cleansing. They also used cinnamon balms to help retain body heat. The Greeks embraced thalassotherapy, stemming from the Greek word for sea, thalassa. Thalassa therapy is the use of sea water for therapeutic purposes and preventive measures based on the belief that immersion in sea water revitalizes, heals, and cleanses the system. During the 2nd century BCE, the Greek custom of regular bathing reached Rome, gradually becoming a daily practice for most Roman citizens. After bathing, Romans applied rich oils and other preparations to their skin. WACKY, EXPERIMENTAL, AND TOXIC The Middle Ages brought medicinal balms, while the 16th and 17th centuries brought many "cures" for freckles and a flood of miracle face creams. In the mid-1500s, Queen Elizabeth I was a big fan of lead facials, which are toxic but were thought to keep skin white; lead continued to be popular through the Victorian Age, when it was common to add white lead to honey or olive oil treatments and then apply it as a mask to lighten the skin. In the 1700s, Marie Antoinette used a face mask made from cognac, egg, milk, and lemon. Cold cream was the modern equivalent of moisturizer, made with scented oils, spermaceti (an oil extracted from the skull of a whale), and wax, then mixed with rosewater and ambergris (a secretion of the bile duct of a whale). Empress Elisabeth of Austria lined a leather facial mask with crushed strawberries to wear nightly. Less intensive at-home treatments were being cooked up in private labs across the United States. By the 1840s, Theron Pond was learning to filter an antiseptic extract from witch hazel, eventually creating Pond's Vanishing Cream and Pond's Cold Cream. At about the same time, Robert Chesebrough was experimenting with a residue of petroleum that formed on the rods of oil pumps. From his research, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly was introduced in 1870. MODERN TIMES Thirty years ago, we applied moisturizers made of oil, fragrance, and water. For many, this is considered the Golden Age of cosmetic ingredients, the age when alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Retin A were born. It is in this century that the evolution of skin care ingredients accelerated at the same speed as mass media technology. In 1903, Niels Finsen, MD, created the light emitting diode (LED). The 1920s brought the famed Elizabeth Arden Vienna Youth Mask, which consisted of a paper mask with tin foil lining connected to a box that supplied low levels of high-frequency electrical currents. The 1920s brought the famed Elizabeth Arden Vienna Youth Mask, which consisted of a paper mask with tin foil lining connected to a box that supplied low levels of high- frequency electrical currents. Elizabeth Arden Vienna Youth Mask

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