7 Gruesome Beauty Treatments from Around the World

By Prea Mittal on Nov 12, 2018
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We all pay a high price for beauty, but if you think waxing was the ultimate torture, think again! Here are some of the bizarre and sometimes, lethal things people did in the name of beauty treatment.

1. Eating Arsenic in Austria

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It was discovered in 1851 that a part of the population of Styria, a region of Austria were consuming arsenic on a regular basis and even developed immunity to lethal doses. They did this because it supposedly gave them an healthy looking and fair complexion. Once addicted, they could not give up the practice, as the withdrawal symptoms were severe and sometimes even lead to death. The practice soon spread to the rest of the world and arsenic was a common ingredient in several beauty products in the early 1900s.

2. Eating Worms for Weight Loss in the West

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the early 1900s fad diets gained popularity and one that was advertised extensively was the Tapeworm Diet! Tapeworm larvae were swallowed in pill form and they would hatch and attach themselves to the intestines. This helped keep the dieter thin as the parasitic nature of the worm resulted in it absorbing all the nourishment. This obviously caused a series of violent stomach and renal illnesses but was nonetheless a very popular diet method.

3. Belladonna Drops in Italy

Image Source: Pixabay.com

A practice that is said to have originated during the Italian Renaissance and obviously caught on and lasted long after was to squeeze drops of Belladonna into your eyes. Belladonna is also known as uo;deadly nightshade” and is highly poisonous and causes blindness. So why did people do this? Well a few drops of this stuff cause the pupils to dilate and give women the innocent doe-eyed look, which was considered very sensual. Apparently blindness was considered a small price to pay for sexual appeal!

4. X-ray Laser Hair Removal in the United States of America

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Well, unwanted hair is a daily struggle even today for most women. Mercifully technology has advanced enough to make the hair removal process safe and ladies can flaunt their smooth skin as they please. But our predecessors decided to improvise and use X-rays lasers for hair removal, which admittedly was effective. What it also did was cause ulcers and cancers!

5. Lead-based Foundation in England

Image Source: James St. John/flickr.com

Perhaps the most famous advocate of this was British royalty. In the 1500s Queen Elizabeth I of England was known to paint her face with a lead mixture that formed what was known as the "Mask of Youth”. The downside was obviously lead poisoning, brain damage and in severe cases even paralysis!

6. Feet Binding in China

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Up until 1911 the Chinese thought small feet made women more attractive. Now this would be fine if you were born with naturally small feet, but that wasn’t always the case. What ensued was the bizarre practice of Foot Binding where young girls has their feet wrapped tightly in long bandages to stunt their growth. But that’s not all, the bones in the feet had to be broken first and then bound to produce the desirable effect!

7. Wearing Corsets in the West

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the 19th century corsets were all the rage and why not, it made women look so shapely that they could put an hourglass to shame! Of course no one cared that it could lead to suffocation, internal bleeding or damage to vital organs!

Hey we’re all for a beauty treatments and very grateful to the scientific minds of our age to have found safe and successful procedures. Just don’t revisit any of these methods even in the most drastic circumstances. Also remember beauty is also what’s on the inside!

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