Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research (2004): Supplement 2:
2nd International Congress on Traditional Medicine and Materia Medica
Tracks of ancient cosmetics in the modern era of cosmetics
Tabandeh H., Ghochehbikloo F.
School of Pharmacy, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Cosmetics is as old as the history of human being. It has been present in human life since the times of the most ancient civilizations.
Perfumery is one of the oldest branches of cosmetics. Valerian perfumes found from the Pharaohs’ pyramids, had maintained their aroma. Coriander, Mace oil, cardamom, cinnamon, and juniper were also the favorite materials used for perfumery in ancient Egyptian civilization. Perfumes were very popular in ancient Persian civilization (from more than 2500 years ago). Some animal-origin perfumes such as amber and musk, and also perfumes made from flowers such as rose, jasmine, and narcissus were favorites of those people. Various flower perfumes were among their exported materials in that era. Perfumes were also very popular in other ancient civilizations such as the ancient Greek, Rome, and Indian civilizations. From 1900 onwards, analysis of the natural perfumes found the fragrant components, and some synthetic fragrances were discovered and used in perfumery industry. At present, many old fragrances are still used at least as imitation synthetic fragrances.
Even fighting the face wrinkles dates back to the ancient times. In ancient Egypt, there was a facemask made from Nile-mud and Alum, which was used for diminishing the wrinkles. A combination of wax, olive oil, and fresh milk was also used against wrinkles. Ancient Greeks used an ointment made of bread, milk, baked beans, and butter for diminishing the wrinkles. Today, discovering the mechanisms involved in skin aging has helped making modern anti-wrinkle products (some with herbal extracts) with a deep and real effect in fighting wrinkles.
Today's modernized cosmetics is the natural progression of the ancient cosmetics throughout the years. It has made innovations by introducing new active materials, as well as novel cosmetic delivery systems (e.g. liposomal forms) for the new and traditional raw materials.