People from the past had various ways of protecting their skin from the sun without the use of modern sunscreen. The history of sunscreen dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used a mixture of rice bran, jasmine, and lupine to protect their skin from the sun. The ancient Greeks and Romans used olive oil to moisturize their skin and protect it from the sun.
Before the discovery of sunscreen, people used a variety of techniques to avoid sunburn and other skin damage caused by the sun. Here are some of the ways people in the past protected themselves from the sun:
1. Clothing and Hats
One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect the skin from the sun is by wearing clothing that covers the skin. In hot and sunny climates, people often wore loose, light-colored clothing that covered their arms and legs. They also wore wide-brimmed hats to protect their face and neck from the sun.
2. Natural Oils and Herbs
People in ancient times used a variety of natural oils and herbs to protect their skin from the sun. For example, ancient Greeks used olive oil to moisturize their skin and protect it from the sun. The Egyptians used a mixture of rice bran, jasmine, and lupine to protect their skin from the sun.
3. Avoiding the Sun
People in the past also avoided the sun as much as possible. In ancient Egypt, people worked and socialized in shaded areas during the hottest parts of the day. They also used umbrellas to provide shade while they were outside. In ancient Rome, people took afternoon naps during the hottest parts of the day to avoid the sun.
4. Seeking Shade
Seeking shade was another common way people protected themselves from the sun. In ancient Egypt, people built shaded areas in their homes and public spaces where they could rest during the hottest parts of the day. In ancient Rome, people built public baths and gardens with shaded areas.
5. DIY Sunscreen
Some cultures also developed their own DIY sunscreen. For example, the Maasai people of East Africa used a mixture of cow urine and ash to protect their skin from the sun. The Ainu people of Japan used a mixture of rice bran, water, and herbs to protect their skin from the sun.
6. Traditional Medicine
Traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine also had remedies to treat sunburn and other skin damage caused by the sun. In Ayurveda, for example, a mixture of aloe vera, sandalwood, and turmeric was used to soothe sunburned skin.
It’s important to note that despite these measures, people in the past still suffered from sunburn and other skin damage caused by the sun. The incidence of skin cancer was also lower in the past, but this was likely due to shorter life expectancies and lower exposure to industrial pollutants and artificial sources of radiation.
In conclusion, people in the past used a variety of techniques to protect their skin from the sun, including clothing, natural oils and herbs, avoiding the sun, seeking shade, DIY sunscreen, and traditional medicine. While these measures were effective to a certain extent, they were not as reliable as modern sunscreen.