Healthspan October 30, 2017

Creams, oils and cosmetics aren’t new; Ancient Sumerian men and women are believed to have invented lipstick 5000 years ago, while creams made of beeswax, oil and rose water were described by the Romans.

Other beauty practices, with considerably more gruesome ingredients, have thankfully been abandoned, but it is interesting to see how many ingredients continue to reign today, thanks to the women who made them famous…

Cleopatra

REIGNED 51-30BC
The earliest mention of aloe vera dates back to Ancient Egypt and is particularly associated with Cleopatra, who is known to have used the plant to care for her skin and as a lotion around her eyes. Queen Nefertiti, meanwhile, is said to have bathed in Aloe vera pulp to enhance her beauty too.

The Aloe vera plant even earned the name ‘the plant of immortality’ and was the traditional offering at the funeral of Pharaohs as a symbol of new life. Aloe vera is still used today for its soothing and revitalising properties.

Queen Elizabeth I

REIGNED 1558-1603
While we certainly wouldn’t recommend the manner with which she went about it, Queen Elizabeth I’s era is certainly a landmark in the history of our quest for an even complexion. After a battle with small pox early on in her life, Queen Elizabeth used a thick mixture of white lead and vinegar to cover what she considered to be ‘unsightly’ scars. Her ghostly complexion remains iconic - but underneath her make-up, as the lead eroded her skin, it was a different story.

Thankfully an even-toned complexion can now be achieved without damaging skin health (and with much nicer fragrances than vinegar!).

Marie Antoinette

REIGNED 1774-1791
The use of almond derivatives is thought to have begun with the ancient Hindus, primarily for the purpose of cleansing, but the use of sweet almond oil was made most famous by Marie Antoinette who knew the importance of protecting our hands from the first signs of ageing. She’s famous for one particularly innovative trick: wearing gloves lined with rose water and sweet almond oil overnight.

We now know that the high level of fatty acids found in almond oil serve as natural moisturisers for skin, forming a protective barrier to lock-in hydration.

TOP TIP! For an intensive treatment, take a leaf out of Marie Antoinette’s book and generously apply a hand cream before putting on some gloves on overnight. You’ll wake up with softer and smoother hands!

Be a trendsetter

With new research into skin happening all the time, we now know more than ever about looking after our skin inside and outside to keep it supple, radiant and healthy. Thankfully, we can now care for our skin safely and effectively with both topical creams on the outside and vitamin-enriched supplements to feed skin from the inside.

TOP TIP! Avoid taking your supplements with tea or coffee as they can interfere with absorption.

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