Women's Wild Skin Care Evolution
While we're still celebrating Women's History Month, I wanted to applaud how women throughout history have contributed to beauty and the importance of self-care. Today, especially now, there's not one reason to be ashamed or to shame anyone for doing so. Who doesn't love caring for their skin and bodies?
Skin care origins date back to ancient times in Egypt, Africa, China, and Greece. Cleopatra's milk and honey baths, dead sea salt, serums, castor oil, aloe vera, and the infamous "cat-eye" are eternal beauty rituals. Kushite women in Northeast Africa used kohl as eyeliner, drew body art, and stained their nails with henna. China's first dynasty, the Qin dynasty, is credited with developing skin care in China, from practicing good hygiene to herbal plants for health and skin wellness. Greek women used several natural resources to create honey and olive oil masks. We can't forget their famous yogurt face masks, all of which are still used. Even the word cosmetics comes from the Greek word, kosmetikē.
Credit: Dr. Mackenzie's Arsenical Soap. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Women have sacrificed themselves to reach the heights of skin wellness we now enjoy. Double cleansing faces became a big hit in the 50s, but there was an abundance of deadly trends, too. A few worth mentioning were taking arsenic baths and eating arsenic wafers (sold in Sears) to lighten skin. Women believed the pale, sickly look was beautiful.
Credit: Modern Mechanix
In 1936, Isabella Gilbert invented the Dimple Machine Maker. Other fads were putting lead on pimples, opium night masks, and ammonium face wash. I am screaming! One of the most bizarre crazes was using belladonna to create large pupils! This use usually caused blindness. I'd love to share more, but I don't want to scare you off. Let's be glad that the unibrow trend is over.
Credit: Modern Mechanix
Most makeup in the past had poisonous ingredients, such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. Guess what? Many products still do! That's why the clean skincare movement is on the rise. We live in the 21st century and have all the facts only a Google search away. There are insane chemicals in many skincare and cosmetics. For that reason, Rescue Skin was formed and transparent about every clean ingredient; no toxins.
However, views on beauty have become a bit concerning in our day. Living in an anti-aging, body dysmorphic, materialistic, looks-driven world, are we more obsessed with outer beauty? These obsessions have always existed but not with such an intense fixation and vast tools.
We spotlight wealthy celebrities who have unlimited access to any beauty device, procedure, or product. Maybe women felt the same when seeing Cleopatra. This thought is not to disregard celebrities' hard work or stress but to emphasize the danger of comparisons. I know that it's easy to do but remember, comparisons steal your joy, that thunder inside.
Self-care has been confused with striving to try to appear 20 years old. That's an unhealthy goal. Like the everyday women in ancient times, it's worth some effort to preserve our natural beauty. Beauty is a $500 billion industry thanks to women trying to look and feel their best—there's nothing wrong with that.
Self-care awareness has increased, including the importance of inner beauty, such as mental health, has finally been embraced. Let's continue reaching for our shiny inner beauty and refuse to allow people to define how all women should be.
From Our Skin Care to Yours,