TreatNOW looks back: 4 Unique Beauty Treatments From the Past

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As we’ve seen before on the TreatNOW blog, in today’s beauty and health obsessed world there are a myriad of odd cosmetic treatments available. Whether you’re looking to relax, or give your skin a health glow, there is often a spa or salon offering the perfect treatment for you. Every year there’s a new product, procedure or crazy treatment being release onto the beauty market but what about the beauty fads of yesteryear? What treatment did the forerunners of today’s beauty centres offer their discerning clients? We thought we’d take a quick look at some of health and beauty treatments of the past…

Copyright of  Tambako The Jaguar  on Flickr, 2012

Copyright of Tambako The Jaguar
on Flickr, 2012

Crocodile Dung Baths– Many people today will think nothing of booking themselves in for a relaxing and rejuvenating mud bath but would you be willing to bath in animal excrement for a youthful complexion? In ancient Rome beauty conscious women were more than happy to cover themselves in dung to fight off the aging process. In ancient times Crocodile faeces was believed to have medicinal properties and was used in a variety of treatments. It was also believed to have anti-aging effects and so, according to the Greek Physician Galen, wealthy women would use the dung as a sort of face mask. I guess it’s really no worse than a Nightingale poop facial.

Tapeworm Diet– Staying thin isn’t just a modern obsession; people have been dieting for centuries. However one diet fad from the late 19th and early 20th century is bound to turn your stomach; tapeworms. That’s right in the past people were so desperate to lose weight that they willing ingested tapeworms. The idea was that hosting the tapeworms for a short amount of time would help you lose weight and the little critters could then be easily removed by swallowing an anti-parasitic pill. It is worth mentioning that as well as causing weight loss tapeworms also cause diarrhoea and vomiting; suffice to say this particular diet was probably even crazier than today’s fads.

Copyright of  Cheryl Harvey on Flickr, 2010

Copyright of Cheryl Harvey on Flickr, 2010

The Vienna Youth Mask– Not all historic beauty treatments are bizarre or life-threatening; some even laid the foundations for today’s treatments. Take for example The Vienna Youth Mask. Introduced to the beauty world by cosmetics titan Elizabeth Arden the Vienna mask used a well know medical procedure of the time to supposedly give women youthful looking skin. The mask used high frequency electromagnetic currents to cause tissues within the body to heat up; this is called Diathermy and is still used today. The idea was that the mask would stimulate the client’s blood circulation and, according to Arden, rejuvenate dead cells giving the skin a health but natural glow. Diathermy does help stimulate blood circulation but doesn’t quite posses the youth-giving qualities that Arden claimed. Still this treatment doesn’t sound a million miles away from something a modern salon would offer…

Copyright of Roman Soto on Flickr, 2008

Copyright of Roman Soto on Flickr, 2008

Vacuum Suction– Increasing blood circulation was, apparently, the goal of many an early 20th century beauty treatment and, fortunately, the beauty therapists of Edwardian era had a new weapon in their arsenal; the vacuum. In the early years of the 20th century vacuum suction was offered at beauty salons everywhere and devices were even developed for home use. Vacuums were used to treat pimples, wrinkles and even to increase women’s busts. Whilst vacuum suction machine are still used today for lymphatic drainage they are no longer believed to be a magical cure-all. That being said the mania vacuum suction has left us with some very funny vintage images.







TreatNOW is recruiting a range of health therapists, stylists and beauticians for a Spring launch. No fee, no booking system, just bookings!

Get in touch to find out more.


TreatNOW is a new way to find and book really good last minute health, hair and beauty appointments - launching in London Spring 2015
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