HISTORY OF SKINCARE
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Article Index

History of Skincare Part 1: The Royalty of Ancient Egypt, 3000 BC-1070 BC

It is believed that the beginnings of modern skin care first took root in Ancient Egypt. In fact, the Egyptians were the first civilization to document their skin care practices. They were avid bathers and mixed many skin care concoctions, such as natural exfoliators made from aloe and sand.
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History of Skincare Part 2: The Common People of Ancient Egypt, 3000 BC-1070 BC

Although great queens and pharaohs were known for their beauty, all Egyptians were expected to maintain a certain standard of hygiene and presentation. In fact, workers were often paid in body oils that were used by both woman and men to protect their skin from the hot sun and dry air. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 3: Ancient Chinese Secrets, 1200 BC-500 BC

Although it is unclear exactly how long the Chinese have been practicing skin care, by the time of the Shang Dynasty they had already developed a word for the practice. Beauty was seen as connected to nature and medicine. Skin care was seen as part of a holistic balance between nutrition, circulation and herbal medication. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 4: Imperial China: The Qin Dynasty, 361 BC-206 BC

Although skin care had already been practiced for at least a thousand years, the first known recorded methods were written during the Qin Dynasty. These methods, supposedly invented by an Empress bent on keeping her youthful appearance, included facial exercises and massage, treatments made from seaweed and jelly fish and dietary additions such as black beans, Chinese yam and sesame seeds. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 5: Imperial China: From the Tang Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty, 618-1644

By the middle of China's Imperial period, skin care was a fashion statement as well as a health and beauty concern. Women lightened their faces with a gel derived from the songyi mushroom and many carried small containers of lotion for convenient use. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 6: Ancient Greece: The Archaic Period, 750 BC-500 BC

With such close proximity to Egypt, it is no surprise that the Ancient Greeks borrowed beauty techniques from their neighbors. Herbs and oils, as well as honey, were used to keep the skin supple. Women would paint their faces with white lead or chalk to achieve the preferred, pale look. The Ancient Greeks may also have been the first to adopt the concept of the facial mask, mashing berries into a paste and letting it soak into their skin for hours. >>>> Read Article




History of Skincare Part 7: Ancient Greece: The Classical Period, 500 BC-323 BC

The Classical period saw advancements across all areas of Greek culture, and skin care was no exception. The great physician Hippocrates is not only considered the father of modern medicine, but the father of dermatology. He believed that exercise, a good diet and over good health were directly related to beautiful skin. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 8: Ancient Rome: The Republic, 500 BC-30BC

Even today, Ancient Rome is known for its baths. While a large part of bathing culture was social, hot water and steam were also thought to promote good health and youthful skin. Like the Greeks, the Romans favored pale skin and applied everything from crocodile dung to beeswax to almond oil in an attempt to achieve a white, blemish-free appearance. They were also the first to use razors to remove unwanted hair. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 9: Ancient Rome: The Empire, 31 BC-400

As the Roman Empire expanded, it spread Roman bathing customs across Europe and the Middle East. Even today, authentic Roman baths can be found as far away as Germany, England and Turkey. >>>> Read Article




History of Skincare Part 10: The Early Middle Ages, 500-999

While early European Medieval society may not be known for its cleanliness, both the upper and lower classes bathed frequently. Pale, unmarked skin was seen as a sign of wealth and women would bathe in wine and would mix their own facial applications of herbs and oils. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 11: The High Middle Ages, 1000-1399

Throughout the High Middle Ages, skin care became increasingly refined. Middle Eastern herbs and spices, such as alum, anise and walnut bark, were brought back to Europe by crusaders and used in cosmetics. Herbs, cosmetics and facial applications could be bought from a local apothecary and many women made their own treatments from roots, wines and distillations. Gem stones were also used in various blemish treatments. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 12: The Late Middle Ages and Italian Renaissance, 1400-1499

Pale skin continued to be the ideal into the Late Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance. Women would go to great lengths to keep their skin white by applying whiteners such as chalk, lead and even arsenic. >>>> Read Article




History of Skincare Part 13: The Elizabethan Era, 1500-1599

With outbreaks of smallpox and the bubonic plague leaving many with scarred skin, caking the face with make-up began to take on new meaning and new importance. Women would apply layers of a white paste made from lead, hydroxide and carbonate, as well a number of other cosmetic products that often had damaging side effects. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 14: The Baroque Era, 1600-1699

The 17th century saw the rise of beauty and fashion magazines which gave advice on cosmetics and skin care as well as clothing. Make-up reflected the drama and ornamentation found in the music, art and architecture of the time. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 15: The Age of Enlightenment, 1700-1799

In the 18th century, milk saw a huge increase in popularity. It was both consumed and applied to the skin in order to increase health and appearance. Heavy make-ups began to fall out of fashion. Rouge was associated with the lowest class of society, which consisted of prostitutes and actors. >>>> Read Article




History of Skincare Part 16: The Industrial Revolution, 1800-1849

The beginning of the 19th century showed a continuation of the trend toward clean faces and little make-up. Crocheted wash clothes were introduced as a form of exfoliation. Due to industrial advances, cosmetics were mass produced for the first time. Because they were frowned upon, however, they were usually sold under the counter >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 17: Queen Victoria and the Romantic Era, 1850-1899

Although it is unclear exactly how long the Chinese have been practicing skin care, by the time of the Shang Dynasty they had already developed a word for the practice. Beauty was seen as connected to nature and medicine. Skin care was seen as part of a holistic balance between nutrition, circulation and herbal medication. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 18: The Rise of Hollywood, 1900-1929

The rise of cinema changed the way that people saw themselves. Women began to apply the dramatic make-up worn by their favorite movie stars. As clothing became more revealing, they began to shave their legs and under their arms. All visible skin was expected to be smooth and soft. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 19: The Great Depression, 1930-1939

The Great Depression came as a shock to many people, especially after the excesses of the 1920's. Women cleaned their skin with cold cream and applied homemade tonics made from household ingredients when they could not afford the expensive, manufactured versions. Hollywood's favorite make-up by Max Factor was highly sought after by those who could afford it. >>>> Read Article


History of Skincare Part 20: The War Years, 1940-1949

Manufactured skin care items became difficult to find once World War II began. Europe was preoccupied by falling bombs and invasion, and American factories were taken over the by war effort. Cold cream continued to be a staple, however, as did homemade tonics. >>>> Read Article



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