Tuesday, 18 October 2016 05:01

Infinite Treasures: Highlights in Aesthetic History

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The topic of aesthetics and skin in general is well chronicled throughout industry textbooks, blogs, fashion magazines, videos, and more. The history surrounding beauty dates back to 10,000 B.C.E.; some of the original components from ancient formulas, such as olive oil, lavender, and chamomile, are still popular today.

The skin has been researched by professionals, historians, and academics and is often a topic of interest.


The connection between beauty and healthy skin remains a commonality amongst everyone. As human behavior demonstrates, healthy skin and beauty are deeply rooted in image consciousness and self-esteem; it has, ultimately, become the pathway as to how the world sees people. Even National Geographic has featured highly informative skin articles, such as "Unmasking Skin" and "Dark Skin May Have Evolved to Protect Against Cancer."1, 2

Within aesthetic training, skin care professionals seek to acquire the latest information about product knowledge, aesthetic techniques, and more. For most, the quest for higher learning is the perpetual norm. Through the information highway, professionals can enrich both their knowledge and skill sets to meet the needs of a diverse and ever-changing industry. It could be stated that at no other time in the history of the skin care industry have professionals had the opportunity to acquire the breadth and level of training that is available today. Because professionals are often impressionable regarding information, it is important to recognize fact from fiction and to observe science and history as an important path of reasoning. In addition, a person's learning potential is greatly enhanced through the processes of interpretation, consideration, contemplation, and discovery. While striving to achieve career goals, professionals should take a moment to explore history and observe and learn from those who paved the way.

Contemporary times permit professionals to have the technology and means to easily explore the many facets of the industry, including how history tells the story of where it all began. The skin care industry has had an abundance of major contributors and masterful pioneers, to which their efforts and influence have transformed the industry to what it is today. This article will explore some of the revolutionary contributions, alternative themes, and sound bites from impressive pieces of aesthetic history.

Steaming Up
One of the first archived facial steamers was fashioned by Jeanette Scale, who was also known as Mrs. Pomeroy. Scale invented the "Russian Steam Bath – the most perfect steamerapparatus for cleansing the face" in 1903. This product was a tabletop version of the modern day steamer.3 Scale was also an avid product manufacturer and distributor whose preparations included "skin foods." Scale's skin foods were touted as "nourishing when massaged into the skin because animal and plant oils were readily absorbed into the skin and petrolatum products were not."3 Some formulas contained coconut, orange flower water, sweet almond oil, and lanolin. Other versions of tabletop steamers included the popular 1967 home beauty device: Lady Schick® Facial Steamer, which featured multiple settings for emitting various vapor intensities.

Homegrown American Beauty
Dorothy Gray grew up on a farm in Maine and, after moving to New York and working for Elizabeth Arden® as a treatment girl, opened her own salon on 57th Street in New York City in 1916. One of the earliest aestheticians archived, she eventually established salons in Atlantic City and San Francisco. Gray billed herself as "a daughter of a doctor, scientist, and chemist of genius."4 She opened her own laboratory to manufacture her products in 1922 and, until Revlon appeared, her line was one of the three most successful cosmetic companies in the United States. Her forte was mature clients who had the finances and the time post-World War II to receive facial treatments. An archived advertisement brings the cost of her facial treatment to a mere $3.50 and a blackhead treatment for the same price. One of her signature treatments, indicated for circulation, involved a metal implement called the patter. The patter was a disc shape pad attached to a steel handle; the professional would tap the face with the patter and count in succession – one, two, three – with a flicking movement and repeat the process again and again to obtain a rosy glow. She was an avid enthusiast and proponent of "cleansing, stimulation,
and lubrication."4

Old World Ingenuity and Modern Concepts
One of the oldest skin care lines in history, Shiseido®, originated in Japan in 1872 by Yushin Fukuhara. Arinobu Fukuhara was a pharmacist to the Japanese Imperial Navy and introduced Japan to its first western style pharmacy in Ginza, Tokyo after traveling throughout Europe and the United States. Shiseido introduced its first cold cream in 1918. In 1937, the company designed and released the "New Shiseido Style Facial Treatment," maintaining that facial treatments should be based on the Japanese woman's facial skin type and, thereby, introducing the skin type beauty method. This philosophy embraced concepts from dermatology and fashioned treatments designed for the use of facial cosmetics along with skin types such as inflamed and acneic. They also had lightening skin treatments.

Shiseido advocated the holistic approach to healthy skin, along with encouraging exercise and diet, as opposed to just using cosmetics.5

Arinobu Fukuhara once said, "Let the product speak for itself," a statement that later became one of the most popular and positioned viewpoints regarding product use in the skin care world!6 Other products and rituals developed by Shiseido include the application of "feather weight veils and sensational textures" and the layering of as many as 11 steps and products for the daily complexion care.7 The practice of layering products has recently re-gained immense popularity and can be viewed in dozens of fashion magazines, beauty blogs, and product websites.

Getting in Shape
Rose Laird was an aesthetician that was born in Philadelphia. As a student nurse in the early 1900s, Laird aspired to be a dermatologist, which was almost unheard of during that time period. Laird was listed in a New York business directory in 1912 as a dermatologist and later as a massage therapist; she was finally listed as a hair dresser. During that time period, beauty culture services were interchangeably performed without specific licensing. She married a British businessman who worked for a homeopathic pharmacy and the two formed the Rose H. Laird Company, which operated several salons and promoted her products throughout New York and later expanded into Canada, Britain, andTools
South Africa.

Laird was one of the earliest beauty marketers and promoters, tirelessly lecturing to women's groups, making appearances in department stores and even having a radio show – all in the 1920s! A visionary ahead of her time, she believed that the cause of wrinkles and loss of facial contours was due to muscle weakness and that improving circulation would be the best option for beautification. In 1921, she created a facial exercise routine based on nine specific massage movements and patterns, utilizing these massage movements with the intent of stimulation exercise.

Laird had many great products in her line, including Liquid Pore Cleanser, Cleansing Oil, Nutrient Skin Cream, Bleach and Freckle Cream, Toilette Astringent, and Blemish Banisho. Her products were featured in departments stores, such as Macy's®, and she was one of the earliest producers of youth-geared products. She created a product line called "Young Skin," which made its debut in Bonwit Teller department store in New York in 1938. Throughout the years, her product line was repositioned and reformulated after her death in 1966. In 1981, Rose Laird Ltd. (United Kingdom) was sold to Innoxa Ltd. England and, in 1986, sold to Silhouette International, where the line was repackaged in 1990.8

vitaminCVitamin C
Famous scientist, Albert Szent-Györgi, adeptly coined the phrase, "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." His innovative outlook and research was of great significance and, as a result, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937 for the discovery of vitamin C and the component of the citric acid cycle.9 One of the most important and sought-after ingredients in the management of sun damaged and aging skin is topical vitamin C. Multiple research abstracts have touted vitamin C as a potent antioxidant drug, implicating the ingredient for antioxidant protection; as an active for collagen enhancement; and as an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C can also act as a cytokine inhibitor, aiding in the reduction of acne and rosacea inflammation.10

One of the most influential contributors advocating the use of topical vitamin C was Sheldon Pinnell, M.D. Pinnell was a dermatologist who served as the J. Lamar Callaway Professor of Dermatology at Duke University and the founding scientist at SkinCeuticals®.11 He is most famous for his research involving sun protection, photoaging, and topical percutaneous absorption of antioxidants, namely vitamin C.12 Pinnell was also responsible for several notable patents that were extremely progressive and served as significant contributions to both the aesthetic and dermatology professions. His willingness and contributions to bridging dermatological science and the aesthetic industry were clinical aesthetics milestones.

Some of Pinnell's patents include Method for the Prevention of Scars with Enzymes (1985), Stable Ascorbic Acid Compositions (1992), Use of Milk Thistle Extract in Skin Care Compositions (2003), Topical Composition Comprising Olive Leaf Extract (2004), and Stabilized Ascorbic Acid Compositions and Methods (2007).

European Elegance
Georgette Klinger was one of the early high society aestheticians and a former beauty queen from the Czech Republic who was famous for her facial treatments and, later, her product line. Her products were based on components from "home fashioned" ingredients made from herbs and fruits. "I don't want to be the biggest, only the best," was a quote that Klinger expressed to Time Magazine in 1981. After leaving Europe at the end of World War II, she opened her first United States salon on Madison Avenue in Manhattan in 1941. Her European training was evident in the professional grooming of her aestheticians. Fellow aestheticians and clients were introduced and addressed as "Miss" and the traditional white dress uniform was worn by her staff. Klinger had experienced acne as a teenager and observed and learned a great deal from dermatologists both in Europe and the United States.facial

One of the most important things she learned about skin care was the importance of avoiding the sun and proper cleansing. The Klinger Spa was a mecca of elegance, pristine cleanliness, and classic style. One of the 1970s signature treatments included facial steaming with chamomile (bowl method), a facial massage with honey, customized facial mask, luxurious ivory linens, and all things natural. Georgette Klinger salons migrated to California and eventually evolved to eight locations across the country. Her concept was one of quality, classic elegance, and forward-thinking ideas. She established one of the earlier models of satellite locations for skin care services.13

One of the greatest contributions to modern skin exfoliation and refinement was the invention in 1969 of Retin-A® (tretinoin) by Drs. Albert Montgomery Kligman and James Fulton. Kligman also positioned acne grading into a step-by-step assessment method by illustrating various stages of acne, allowing professionals to distinguish its severity. This assessment tool was groundbreaking for both the dermatological and aesthetic industries. Kligman also debunked the myth that chocolate worsens acne.14 Fulton, aside from being the co-inventor of Retin-A, was considered to be the first dermatologist to have an aesthetician on staff. He was beloved by many aestheticians for his willingness to support the industry through educational videos and books about acne. One of his most popular books, "Acne RX," was written in 2001.15quote

The more professionals learn, the more they grow. History unfolds the stories of memories, discoveries, hopes, and dreams. There is a big world of aesthetic history, knowledge, and experience out there to discover.

1 Swerdlow, J. (n.d.). Skin Article, Epidermis Information, Dermis Facts -- National Geographic
2 Brink, S. (2014, March 7). Dark Skin May Have Evolved to Protect Against Skin Cancer
3 Wordpress.com. (n.d.). Asian Layering: The Shiseido Dynasty | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
4 Rourke, M. (2004, January 15). G. Klinger, 88; Skin Care Expert – latimes
5 Bennett, J. (2016). Retrieved from cosmeticsandskin.com/companies/rose-laird.php
6 Bennett, J. (2016). Retrieved from www.cosmeticsandskin.com/companies/dorothy-gray.php
7 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, April 28). Sheldon Pinnell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
8 SkinCeuticals. (2016). SkinCeuticals | Dr. Sheldon R. Pinnell
9 Shiseido Company. (1995). History | History of Shiseido | About Us | Shiseido group website
10 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, July 11). Arinobu Fukuhara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
11 Bennett, J. (2016). Retrieved from www.cosmeticsandskin.com/ded/vapourisers.php
12 Telang, P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online Journal, 4(2), 143-146
13 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, August 18). Albert Szent-Györgyi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
14 GELLENE, D. (2010, February 22). Dr. Albert Kligman Dies at 93; Invented Popular Acne Medicine - The New York Times
15 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2016, June 2). James Fulton (dermatologist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Erin-Madigan-FleckErin Madigan-Fleck N.M.D., L.E.I., L.M.C. is a licensed aesthetic instructor and aesthetician with over 30 years of experience in the aesthetic and wellness industries. She is a nationally certified natural health professional and holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. She is the co-owner of Intellective Aesthetics – Advanced Esthetic training and holds a private practice in Atlanta, Naturophoria. Madigan-Fleck can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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