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HomeBeautyBeauty requires sacrifice: the most terrifying beauty treatments from the past

Beauty requires sacrifice: the most terrifying beauty treatments from the past

No matter how unpleasant hair removal in the bikini zone may seem, modern beauty treatments fade compared to beauty rituals from the past. Poisonous cosmetics, radioactive creams and painful procedures. In order to meet the standards of beauty accepted in society, our ancestors had to literally risk their lives. Today talk about the most terrible historical beauty procedures.

Secret ingredient

Recently, healthy, tanned skin is in fashion. Prior to this, almost throughout its history, mankind has sought to look as pale as possible. To lighten the skin of the face, the ancient Egyptians used crocodile droppings, which were mixed with honey. But the ancient Greeks came up with an even more terrible way to look paler and began to use lead in creams.

The revolutionary new ingredient was toxic and often caused serious problems like abdominal pain, fainting, and bone destruction, but it effectively lightened the skin.

Women mixed it with vinegar. And already in the eighteenth century, the first commercially produced masks with lead appeared on the shelves of pharmacies. Lovers of such products quickly turned grey and lost weight, but persistently continued to use toxic drugs.

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When researchers finally proved the dangers of lead, it was quickly replaced by another magical ingredient – no less toxic arsenic.

Plants and radiation

During the Renaissance, Italian women began to drip belladonna juice in their eyes. It dilated the pupils, but led to headaches, dizziness, loss of concentration, blurred vision, and sometimes even painful death. The trend for belladonna drops lasted quite a while. They were also used by the British during the reign of Queen Victoria.

When the Curie spouses discovered radiation in the early twentieth century, radium immediately gained fame as a miraculous drug that could rejuvenate the skin. Doctors advised the girls to apply pieces of radioactive metal to the areas of the face where the first wrinkles appeared, since “energy flows stimulate skin regeneration”. In the first half of the twentieth century, radium was added to almost all cosmetic products.

Some manufacturers of cosmetics specialized exclusively in radium products. The French brand Tho-radia became famous for its miracle cream, which promised to remove age spots and redness, reduce wrinkles, treat warts and acne, and lighten the skin.

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The ancient Egyptians shaved their heads and wore horsehair wigs, the beauties of antiquity pasted themselves a monobrow of wool and glue, and medieval ladies shaved their eyebrows and plucked their eyelashes.

Sometimes it came to more extreme measures. Some medieval girls, who by nature did not have a high forehead, plucked their hair, imitating a perfect oval of the face.

The most daring type of hair removal appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century when William Roentgen discovered his famous rays. To save their patients from unwanted hair on the body, doctors advised women to undergo prolonged x-ray sessions. In some cases, the girls had to be irradiated for twenty hours, after which their skin was rough and burns appeared on their bodies (and, over time, oncological problems).

Exotic beauty

Strange opinion about aesthetics was not only among Europeans. Everyone remembers the monstrous Chinese practice of bandaging the legs. Also, during the reign of the Japanese Meiji Dynasty, staining teeth with black varnish trend appeared. The procedure was carried out not only for beauty but also had a practical function. Varnished teeth were less likely to hurt, rot and fall out.

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The ancient Romans also had curious rituals for dental care: aristocrats of antiquity rinsed their mouths with the urine of the Portuguese. It is still not known exactly why the Portuguese. 

The ancient Mayans also had specific standards of beauty. Their ideal for a long time was the god of maize, who was usually depicted with an elongated skull and multi-coloured teeth. To flaunt with an exquisite oval-shaped head, one had to suffer even in infancy. Boards that squeezed the skull were wound around the heads of children. The teeth of adults were ground (the form depended on the social situation) and encrusted with precious stones.

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