If you spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunny spring and summer months, you’re gonna tan and even get a sunburn. In the past, when sunscreen wasn’t around yet, royal and noble women would use parasols to shield their faces from the sun’s rays and keep their complexions as fair and natural as possible. Fair skin was, in fact, at the time a sign of nobility and status as it showed that you didn’t have to work for long hours in the fields.
But not every woman cared about that. Some just wanted to enjoy the outdoor life and spent hours riding or walking outside. One such woman was the Grand Duchess Catherine of Russia, the future Catherine The Great. After a spring spent this way, her face had become pretty sunburned. What could she do about it? Luckily the Empress Elizabeth I of Russia came to the rescue with a special elixir.
Here’s how Catherine recalled the episode:
I rode constantly all day; no one stopped me and I could break my neck if I wished. But because I had spent the spring and part of the summer constantly outdoors, I had become very tanned. The empress, seeing me, was shocked by my cracked, red face and told me that she would send me a rinse to get rid of my sunburn and make my face soft again. She sent me a bottle with a liquid composed of lemon juice, egg white and French brandy. In a few days my sunburn disappeared and since then I have always used this mixture.
Aren’t you glad that now, thanks to sunscreen, we can enjoy the sun safely?