Pain is Pretty: 13 Shocking Beauty Trends Throughout History

By Suzanne in History On 10th October 2015

#1 Arsenic eaters

In the mid-1800s, people would dose themselves with arsenic as a way to freshen their complexion. It's also an extremely dangerous poison that people would often overdose on.

#2 X-Ray hair removal

After 1915, x-rays became a fairly popular as a means of hair removal. The only downside was that it also caused skin lesion, ulcers, and cancer.

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#3 Rat infested wigs

In order to keep their large, elaborate wigs held upright, people in the 1800s would smear their wigs with lard. The lard would attract lice, which attracted rats. Ladies would keep their wigs in cages at night to keep them away.

#4 Tapeworms for weight loss

In the early 1900s, advertisers marketed pills with tapeworms inside as a weight loss solution. The only problem was that tapeworms can also lay eggs and while one tapeworm may not be a problem, a bunch of eggs definitely are.

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#5 Lead foundation

In the 1500's, a very popular cosmetic was a lead and vinegar foundation which created an illusion of white skin. Although this look was very sought after, it caused lead poisoning, which lead to weight loss, brain damage, and paralysis.

#6 Belladonna Drops

Belladonna drops are actually Atropa Belladonna, also known as "deadly nightshade," a highly toxic substance. It would dilate pupils however, creating a look that people couldn't get enough of, especially women during the Italian Renaissance. In some cases, people using the drops went blind.

#7 Chinese foot binding

Until 1911, the practice of foot binding was legal in China and served as a sign of wealth and marriageability in high-class Chinese culture. In order to attain the look, young girls, around the age of 5 and 6, would have their toes broken until they folded inward.

#8 Corsets

Corsets were a common device used by women to take inches off their waist while keeping other curves in order to create a desirable silhouette. Corsets caused constipation, organ damage, and fainting spells.

#9 "Toebesity" surgery

A fairly new surgical option, this is supposed to beautify "fat feet." Most surgeries of this type are usually out of necessity. Dangers of this surgery include infection and unexpected need for additional surgeries.

#10 Breast augmentation

Silicone breasts were invented in 1962 and have become the second-most popular elective surgery in the United States. Along with the usual risks that come with surgery, there's also the risk of the silicon implant rupturing.

#11 Lead based kohl

Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic composed of dark lead. The first non-toxic mascara wasn't created until 1920.

#12 Rib removal

The procedure goes exactly how it sounds: the lower ribs are removed through cuts made to the back. It's highly dangerous, as removing ribs can leave organs unprotected.

#13 Butt injections

Queens of this trend are Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian. People just love big butts, and they can't lie. But bad injections and surgery are also known to cause problems, such as infection, bruising, and silicon collsapse.