Extreme methods of skin care from the past
History has preserved a 14th century French guide titled “The Recipe for Skin Care”, that, among other suggestions, includes instructions for using crocodile powder, wolf blood, and mouse brain.
If you think of a woman’s face in terms of skin color, white has always been considered beautiful. To achieve a pale complexion, women ate tealeaves and other ill-suited plants. Two pairs of cotton stockings filled with sea salt were worn at night. Citric acid and egg whites also helped to maintain a whitish tone. There was a time, when skin was covered with a poisonous mixture of white graphite and wine vinegar almost daily. Paleness for accented by outlining blood vessels with blue chalk.
In the 16th century, eau de toilette gained popularity. It was believed to help in removing acne, freckles and nevi. It contained mercury that in time removed the top layer of skin and had a deep caustic effect. Skin became horrid and many women died of mercury poisoning.
By the 17th century, pimples were hidden with round and star-shaped birthmarks made from velvet, silk, or taffeta. Gluing beauty spots on one’s body become fashionable. At one point, it was taken to the lengths of gluing an entire bird nest and a funeral procession with people and horses on the face.
Today, we recommend using natural products for skin care. This means herbal teas, onion, garlic, plums, and camphor.