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April 2016

The Quest for the Ultimate Skin-Lightening Agent

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(4):372. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4243

Vulgar. Improper. Such was the prevailing view of makeup during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. Makeup was meant only for actors and prostitutes. Women who openly dared to “paint” their faces were vilified. Natural remedies, including water and inner purity, were touted as the keys to achieving the Victorian archetype of beauty: pale skin devoid of blemishes.1 Pale skin signified social status and distinguished the tanned working class who worked outside in the fields from the pale upper class who did not need to work.2