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The History of Acne Treatments

You might think acne treatments are a modern invention, but they’ve actually been around since ancient times! TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners recommended cooling foods and a topical skin remedy made of peach blossoms to help treat breakouts all the way back in 1776 B.C.! Around 1332 B.C., the ancient Egyptians treated breakouts by applying patchouli or sour milk to the skin. In 753 B.C., the ancient Romans took sulfur baths to help combat the condition. During the Heian period, Koreans introduced the Japanese to nightingale feces as an acne treatment. In 1902, X-rays were used to treat acne. Dermatologists in the 1920s used benzoyl peroxide. The 1930s saw the use of laxatives as an acne treatment while the 1950s introduced antibiotics as a way of combatting the condition. The 1970s saw the discovery of Vitamin A acid (Retin-A) and the 1980s saw the debut of Accutane. Lasers were first used to treat acne in the 1990s. Today, there are many acne treatments available, and interestingly, some of the strange-sounding remedies of the past have a basis in science and are still used today, such as sulfur, lactic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids. Unlike in the past, however, modern acne treatments are tailored to the individual by practitioners, who no longer rely on one-size-fits-all solutions.

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