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cosmetics, preparations externally applied to change or enhance the beauty of skin, hair, nails, lips, and eyes. The use of body paint for ornamental and religious purposes has been common among primitive peoples from prehistoric times (see body-marking). Ointments, balms, powders, and hair dyes have also been used from ancient times. Many cosmetics originated in Asia, but their ingredients and use are first recorded in Egypt; ancient tombs have yielded cosmetic jars (called kohl pots) and applicators (called cosmetic spoons). The Egyptians used kohl to darken their eyes; a crude paint was used on the face, and fingers were often dyed with henna. Greek women used charcoal pencils and rouge sticks of alkanet and coated their faces with powder, which often contained dangerous lead compounds. Beauty aids reached a peak in imperial Rome—especially chalk for the face and a rouge called fucus—and ladies required the services of slaves adept in their use.
Many cosmetics survived the Middle Ages, and Crusaders brought back rare Eastern oils and perfumes. In the Renaissance, cosmetics, usually white-lead powder and vermilion, were used extravagantly. From the 17th cent. recipes and books on the toilette abounded. Professional cosmetologists began to appear, and luxurious prescriptions often included a bath in wine or milk. Reaching its height in 1760, the use of cosmetics virtually disappeared with the advent of the French Revolution.
The year 1900 saw a revival of their use, accompanied by the manufacture of beauty aids on a scientific basis in France. Since then the industry has grown to tremendous proportions with products manufactured for every conceivable use. In the United States, cosmetics intended for interstate commerce are controlled under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Spearheaded by companies founded by Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder, and other women and by their male counterparts, e.g., Charles Revson, the cosmetics business flourished throughout the later 20th cent. By the beginning of the 21st cent. the cosmetics industry was mostly run by large corporations and had become a multibillion dollar enterprise.
See L. Woodhead, War Paint (2004).
the study of the means and methods used to enhance the physical appearance of man. The use of cosmetics dates back to ancient times. The Egyptians, Romans, and Arabs colored their cheeks, eyelashes, and eyelids, curled their hair, and used fragrant oils as perfumes. Galen prepared a cooling ointment that was a prototype of cold cream. The scientific development of cosmetics, however, began in the 19th century. The concept of cosmetics subsequently included the treatment of many skin diseases and the prevention and elimination of skin defects on the face, neck, scalp, arms, and legs. This dual role led to the division of cosmetics into two branches, medical and beautifying.
Medical cosmetics is the science of methods for the prevention and treatment of diseases and defects in the skin and hair and for the care of the nails and the oral cavity; these methods correspond with advances in modern medicine. This branch is divided into preservative (hygienic, or preventive), therapeutic, and surgical cosmetics. With the aid of cleansing agents (water, soap, lotions, creams, powders, toothpaste, and cosmetic treatments), preventive cosmetics strives to prevent aging symptoms from becoming manifest (wrinkles and withering of skin). Cosmetic treatments include facial masks, facial cleansing, massages, steam baths, paraffin applications, steam facials, high-frequency treatment (D’Arsonval current). One of the aims of therapeutic cosmetics is the treatment of various skin conditions of the face and scalp: seborrhea, acne, hair loss, baldness, pigmentation disorders, hypertrichosis, benign skin neoplasms (birthmarks, warts, papilloma), freckles, and wrinkles. Furthermore, physical methods of treatment are widely used, for example, diathermic coagulation, dermabrasion, and cryotherapy. The basis of cosmetic surgery is the surgical removal of birthmarks, tattoos, excess facial skin (wrinkles on the forehead, upper and lower eyelids, chin, neck), and deformations on the nose, lips, and ears. Cosmetic surgery includes operations for elimination of excess fat on the stomach and hips and for alterations in the shape of breasts.
The aim of beautifying cosmetics is to touch up or conceal certain physical defects or to emphasize particular facial features. This branch of cosmetics includes hair styling and special care of the nails (manicures and pedicures). Depending on the intended purpose, cosmetics are classified as cleansing, therapeutic, preventive, and beautifying preparations. Cleansing, therapeutic, and preventive cosmetics include deodorants (talcs, skin fresheners) ) and products designed for care of the teeth (toothpastes, tooth powders), the mouth (mouthwashes), the face, scalp, and body (creams, lotions, soaps). Beautifying cosmetics, or makeup, include powders, lipsticks, foundations, eyebrow pencils, eyeliners, mascara, rouge, nail polish, brilliantines, and hair spray, colors, and conditioners. Cosmetic creams and lotions, which are prepared for various skin types (normal, oily, and dry), differ in composition and purpose (nourishing, softening, cleansing, protecting). Many creams and lotions contain biologically active substances (vitamins, hormones, amino acids, herbal extracts) that stimulate the metabolic processes in skin cells. Furthermore, other special-purpose additives are used in the preparation of cosmetics, such as disinfecting and deodorizing substances. Toilet soap is the most widely used hygienic cosmetic preparaton. The fatty additives in soap (lanolin, spermaceti wax, glycerin) reduce its drying action; they soften and protect the skin from irritations.
Cosmetic preparations are harmless. They undergo thorough testing in laboratories and clinics and then, only upon approval by the State Health Bureau of the USSR, are put on the market.
In 1937 the Institute of Cosmetics and Hygiene was established in Moscow. Renamed the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Cosmetology in 1966, it has become a scientific center for the solution of cosmetological problems.
International and national associations of cosmetologists organize congresses and symposia on cosmetics. A department of medical cosmetologists has been established in the USSR under the auspices of the Moscow Association of Dermatologists and Venereologists. All-Union scientific conferences on current cosmetological problems are held regularly. Collections of scholarly works by the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Cosmetology and by the Moscow and Leningrad city cosmetology centers are being published. Cosmetological advancements and problems are discussed in various journals, including Vestnik dermatologii i venerologii (Bulletin of Dermatology and Venereology), Stomatologiia (Stomatology), and Sovetskaia meditsina (Soviet Medicine).
A vast network of cosmetology centers, under the direction of the Ministry of Public Health, offers cosmetological assistance to residents of large cities in the USSR. These centers include cosmetological clinics, the beauty parlors of the Moscow Scientific Research Institute of Cosmetology, cosmetological salons, and beauty parlors at public service centers (specializing in beautifying cosmetics).
REFERENCESAstvatsaturov, K. R., and I. I. Kol’gunenko. Kosmetika dlia vsekh. Moscow, 1965.
Kartamyshev, A. I., and V. A. Arnold. Kosmeticheskii ukhod za kozhei, 3rd ed. Kiev, 1967.
Kosmeticheskie operatsn litsa. Moscow, 1965.
Spravochnik po kosmetike. Edited by M. A. Rozentul. Moscow, 1964.
Tomaškova, J. Krasota i zdorov’e. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from Czechoslovakian.)
A. F. AKHABADZE