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How cosmetic advancements have literally saved lives

Dangerous historical anti-ageing beauty trends through the ages and how scientific cosmetic advancements have literally saved lives!

In the quest for everlasting youth and beauty over the centuries people have come up with all sorts of crazy concepts and potions that they believe would help them stay more youthful looking for longer and even make them more appealing to the opposite sex. Some of the most famous women in history were known for poisoning themselves by using dangerous chemicals to enhance their skin. We take a look through the ages at just some of the crazy beauty trends that were used in the past and how scientific advancements have not only made it possible to look younger for longer, but most importantly, safer.

Young model dressed as Cleopatra

No other culture has been so influenced by the concept of beautification and body care as the Egyptians. Cleopatra, the famed Egyptian beauty, even wrote a book on beauty secrets and the art of makeup. Ancient Egyptians had discovered what they thought were the secrets to eternal youth and treating conditions such as wrinkles, stretch marks and scarring.

Cleopatra would bathe for hours in milk and rose petals and create facemasks from Crocodile dung.

Cleopatra is famous for bathing in milk and rose petals, but she was also fond of making face masks out of crocodile dung mixed with donkey’s milk. By far the most dangerous and life threatening trend by Ancient Egyptians was making eyeliners from lead based khol. A chemical that is thankfully banned from being used in today’s cosmetics.

Young woman sitting in bath of rose petals

Even though the Ancient Egyptians believed that their beauty concoctions were the cure to lines and wrinkles it wasn’t in fact until the modern day that scientists discovered more effective ways to help treat them with the use of Anti-wrinkle injections and Dermal fillers and although a cure for ageing has not yet been discovered, with modern scientific advancements women are able to stay looking younger for longer.

Our Surgeons and Aesthetic nurses are highly experienced in administering anti-ageing injectables to ensure you achieve the look you want safely.

Young Japanese woman dressed as Geisha

When you think of Japanese women, historically your mind automatically pictures the beautiful Geisha’s with their distinguished make-up routine of white ghostly faces, painted brows and bee stung red lips. Their strict, enforced and uniformed look meant that they would spend hours preparing their hair and make-up. Their elaborate hairstyle took so much time to prepare that they would sleep with their necks in wooden blocks to ensure it stayed immaculate overnight.

Geishas would completely remove their own eyebrows with tweezers and use paint to draw in thick, false eyebrows.

To achieve their pale painted faces they used a rice flour based paste foundation. They would completely remove their own eyebrows and paint them back on and would remove their make-up at night using nightingale poop which did wonders for their skin. The active chemical found in the bird poop is guanine which cleansed the skin and helped to rejuvenate it. During the Heian era Geishas would dangerously blacken their teeth using a mixture of oxidised iron fillings steeped in an acidic solution.

Young woman with thick eyebrows having tattoo makeup

If you were born before the 90’s then like the Geisha’s you probably succumbed to the trend of over plucking your eyebrows into a thin line that never grew back. Fast forward to modern day and the new trend for the ‘bushier the better’ brows leaves us desperately pencilling extra brows on a daily basis.

Semi-permanent tattoo makeup and micro blading can give the appearance of having more hair in the eyebrow area and has saved time when it comes to daily pencilling them in, but with modern scientific advancements you can now transplant hair from another part of your body to your eyebrow area and restore them permanently to their former glory. Bella Vou are one of a few clinics in the UK that specialise in eyebrow and eyelash hair transplant treatments.

Queen Elizabeth I wax figure

Queen Elizabeth was the epitome of beauty and style for the women in Elizabethan era. English women went to great heights to emulate their monarch. Although cosmetics were considered a hazard because they were considered to block energy from the skins surface, women still strived for the pale and porcelain complexion thanks to their queen. To achieve this look, women not only used lead in makeup but also consumed arsenic which gave a white glow to the skin but also shortened their lifespan. Some women even used leeches placed on their faces which would bleed them out to achieve the naturally pale look.

With the fashion of the era being a pale pallor, women would not only use lead in makeup but they also consumed arsenic which gave a white glow to the skin, but also shortened their lifespan.

A high forehead was considered the sign of aristocracy and women plucked their hairlines to make theirs appear even higher. To achieve a smooth and glazed looking complexion they would rub raw egg whites into their faces and the most shocking trend of this era, other than the arsenic of course, was that they would gladly swallow tapeworms in order for them to digest most of their food for them and keep them slim and trim.

Bottles of Arsenic poison

A chemical peel involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. Chemical peel treatment effectively combats wrinkles, lines, acne scars and rough skin and reveals refreshed and regenerated skin after treatment which is smoother and more radiant. At Bella Vou we have two different types of chemical peel to choose from and a course may be recommended depending on your skins individual needs which will be assessed by our Aesthetic nurse.

Superficial Chemical Peel

A superficial peel, sometimes known as a lunchtime peel involves the use of an Alpha-hydroxy acid or another mild acid to penetrate only the outer layer of the skin to gently exfoliate it. At Bella Vou we use a superficial peel called Obagi Blue Peel Radiance, which has little or no downtime and can be used on all skin types. It provides an immediate improvement and can demonstrate continued improvement with a series of peels.

The treatment is used to improve the appearance of wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, improves mild discolouration and rough skin as well as to refresh the appearance of the face, neck, chest or hands.

Full Chemical Peel

A full Chemical Peel involves the application of Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid which penetrates the outer to middle layers of the skin. As a result of the intensive skin reparation treatment being performed, it has more down time than compared with the Obagi Blue radiance peel and other facial treatments such as Anti-Wrinkle Injections or Dermal Fillers, as a Full chemical peel addresses the deeper skin layers/structures. The results can be stunning though.

A chemical peel can address similar concerns as Anti-Wrinkle Injections and fillers, for example thinning out lines and wrinkles, aside from a Peel usually providing significantly longer lasting results than fillers and Anti-Wrinkle Injections, a Full Chemical Peel is more versatile than just dealing with wrinkles, it is also effective treatment for the following:

  • Age spots
  • Fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth, lips and eyes
  • Skin discolouration / pigmentation
  • Rough or bumpy skin
  • Acne scars
Obagi Blue Peel

Medically reviewed by

Amir Nakhdjevan Profile

Amir Nakhdjevani

Last Updated: January 19, 2018

Published On: January 19, 2018

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