Monday, October 8, 2012

Curious History: The Deadly Affects of Makeup

  For thousands of years women slowly poisoned themselves by wearing face makeup called Venetian Ceruse. Venetian Ceruse was a 16th century cosmetic used as a skin whitener. It was in great demand and considered the best available at that time. Ceruse had the effect of making a woman’s skin look ghastly white. The women who wore it usually kept adding more to the old layer rather than washing it off. But the pigment of white lead was extremely poisonous. It rotted teeth and turned skin color to horrible shades. It made hair fall out and caused eyes to swell. Usage of Venetian Ceruse over an extended period of time could cause death.

   The most notable user of Venetian Ceruse was Queen Elizabeth I of England seen above. It is believed that the Queen’s constant use of ceruse, which created her trade-mark look of snow white skin, led to her extreme hair loss. She wore a large variety of wigs during her reign. There were many rumors that Queen Elizabeth I was bald by the age of 30 due to her extremely high hair line, but there is no historical proof to verify this fact.

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