Today’s Fun Face Fact/Top Tip from Topsell is a recipe for a combined lip gloss and sunscreen from his The historie of foure-footed beastes (1607); an open access scan of the 1658 edition is available here. I’ve written before about some early modern references to sun protection in the form of hats, but since I’m facing a few weeks of Australian Summer heat ahead it’s a top priority for me at the moment.
Edward Topsell provides any number of animal-derived remedies for the face (and rest of the body), but this particular recipe involves the fat of a wild goat:
“With the fatte there is an ointment made with rosewater, to heale the fissures of the lippes and nose, which is much desired of women, not only for the before rehearsed virtue, but also because by annointing they keepe by it their face from Sunne-burning.” (p.260)
Today, according to this post from the University of California, Santa Barbara, chapsticks generally include: Lanolin Oil, Hydroylated Lanolin, Polybutene, Microcrystalline Wax, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, Ceresin, Isopropyl Lanolate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Propylparaben, Fragrance. As they explain, the primary function is to form a protective layer that will stop moisture evaporating and the skin drying out. And since lanolin is derived from the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals (now usually sheep)… Topsell wasn’t very far off the mark!