AHA Moments in Beauty
Many of the groundbreaking beauty products and treatments we know and love today had humble beginnings in medicine. Check it out.
Before they plumped up our fine lines…
Circa 1934: Scientists at Columbia University in New York discovered hyaluronic acid in 1934 in a cow’s eye. Hyaluronic acid is produced naturally in the body and is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints; it acts as a cushion and lubricant and also adds volume to the skin’s surface. Before cosmetic use, it was used in eye surgeries and injected into arthritic joints. It was FDA-approved for use as a cosmetic filler on the face in 2003. Today Restylane is a firm filler used to add volume in the lips, as well as, filling in deep wrinkles in male skin which tends to be thicker than female skin. Restylane is also used to restore stretched earring holes, a problem caused from years of wearing long heavy earrings.
Circa 2005: Doctors dealing with ear, nose, and throat therapies were presented with a study, at the annual Otolaryngology Spring Meeting, that showed how this gel and calcium-based volumizing filler improved the voice of patients suffering from Vocal Fold Insufficiency – a serious form of voice loss in which one or both vocal folds (and cords) lack the physical capacity to vibrate properly. Many of the world’s famous singers receive Radiesse Voice treatment to perfect their voice. How it works cosmetically: When injected, it stimulates the body to produce scar tissue to “fill” deep wrinkles such as smile lines. Unlike Restylane, Radiesse is a non-hyaluronic acid filler that typically lasts for a year or longer.
Before they relaxed our wrinkles…
Circa 1987: Over dinner, Vancouver ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers told her dermatologist husband, Alastair Carruthers, that she suspected the botulinum toxin she was using in her practice to calm spastic eye muscles could also erase wrinkles. Fifteen years later, Botox was FDA approved to treat frown lines.
Circa 2005: Used in Europe to treat various movement disorders such as excessive eyelid spasm and twitching, twisted neck or uncontrollable muscle stiffness and/or muscle tone after a stroke. Approved in 2009 for cosmetic use in Canada, this neurotoxin is the new alternative to Botox.
Before they gave us more lashes and hair …
Circa 1990: The drug company Allergan was testing its Lumigan eye drops for treating glaucoma when they noticed that patients were growing longer, thicker lashes. The company began development on a cosmetic product that contained smaller amounts of the same active ingredient. Latisse became available in the U.S. in 2009 and then a year later in Canada.
Circa 1980: Hypertension patients taking minoxidil pills to dilate their blood vessels began sprouting extra hair on their heads, arms, chests, and backs. Studies conducted over the next few years showed that a topical mioxidil solution applied to the scalp reversed baldness. In 1998, minoxidil was launched as a prescription hair-growth treatment under the name Rogaine, and became available over the counter in 1996.
Before Jersey Shore made it a beauty staple…
Circa 1955: The active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, was being given orally at the University of Cincinnait Children’s Hospital to kids with glycogen storage disease. The researchers noticed that if the children spilled or threw up the liquid, the areas where it touched their skin darkened.