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The History of Lotion

Words By Martina

I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t use some form of lotion - whether it’s for the face, the body or the hands. Lotion has just become a staple in most of our lives and something we wouldn’t want to live without. But what were the days like when lotion wasn’t such a common commodity? What is the history of lotion and how did it turn into the multi-billion dollar industry that it is today?

Who Made the First Lotion?

The earliest evidence of the use of lotion-type salves can be traced as far back as 3000 B.C to the Ancient Sumerians and the Ancient Egyptians.¹Of course, back then everything was made of natural ingredients such as animal fats, oils and honey. The Sumerians used pulverized plants and tree oils while the Egyptians used ingredients such as castor oil, herbs, milk and honey.

Skin care and skin protection was vital for civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians who lived in harsh climates, exposed to extreme heat and wind. They knew the importance of taking care of their skin.

History has it that one of the earliest lotion bottles belonged to Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut who was rumored to have suffered from skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.² The lotion contained traces of nutmeg oil, palm oil, fats and benzopyrene.  Benzopyrene is one of the world’s most dangerous carcinogenic substances and is highly toxic. As it turns out, Queen Hatshepsut’s skin care regime might have contributed to (or been the cause of) her death.²

The Ancient Greeks used olive oil and beeswax and even lathered mashed up bread and milk on their faces to help keep their skin moisturized. 

Over time, different cultures added herbs and fragrances from flowers and fruits to the lotions and skin care salves to make them smell pleasant and add tinting abilities.

Why Do We Use So Much Lotion Today?

Lotions and skin care creams were made in people’s houses and stored in home-made containers with a much shorter shelf-life than we know today’s products have.

It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the modern commercially manufactured lotions were invented which contained preservatives to help them last longer.¹ Then throughout the early 1900’s, big brand names like Estee Lauder and Clinique started to emerge and skin care became a much more accessible thing.

The reason lotions have become such an important element of today’s world is that our skin has to put up with so many more irritants. One major difference is that in modern life, we shower and bathe in hot water much more regularly and even though it keeps us clean, it is not doing our skin any favors. All the hot water strips our skin of its natural oils and moisture, leaving it quite dry. The pollution in the air is also a major cause of damage to our skin and dries it out, not to mention the harsh chemicals that we come in contact with in our day to day lives such as household cleaners, aerosol sprays and insect repellents.

It’s because of modern-day living that it’s so important to have a good lotion that not only moisturizes the skin but also protects it. Gloves In A Bottle and Skin MD Natural are two perfect choices if you want your skin to stay protected and healthy.

While we’ve come a long way from smearing mashed up bread and milk all over our faces, if the history of lotion has taught us anything it is that we should continue to make our skin a priority because it plays such a vital role in our overall health. That is why it is always a good idea to find a skin care brand you can trust, such as Gloves In A Bottle, because they use ingredients that are good for your skin and safe for you.

Don’t worry about the effects of modern day living on your skin. Let your shielding lotion take care of that.




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