Sunscreen has become an integral part of our lives, despite its relatively short history. It all started with the marketing of the word sunburn in order to increase sales, and from there the popularity spread from beachgoers to skiers and snowboarders and then finally to everyday people who just want to protect their skin from the sun. Read on for the history of sunscreen,

There is no doubt that someone, somewhere in history has used some form of natural sunscreen. We don’t know who they were or what they used, but we do know that ancient cultures covered themselves up and avoided direct sunlight. The first documented use of sunscreen dates back to Ancient Egypt around 1500 B.C. where sun worshippers slathered on white pastes made from a variety of natural ingredients including chalk, white clay, lead oxide, and vinegar.

The first sunscreen was developed in 1882 as well, but it wasn’t for widespread use—just for shipping grapes. It didn’t filter UV rays at all, and it melted when applied to human skin. In the early 20century, early 20century: To protect their skin from sunburns while they basked in Caribbean waters, wealthy Europeans created suntan oil. It also contained an ingredient called red dye that gave users a healthy glow.

The early 1900s: Scientists began looking into other ingredients that could possibly protect against sun damage as concern over skin cancer grew. Around 1912 scientists discovered a certain chemical (which they dubbed coal tar) that protected lab animals from radiation. But any excitement about using these chemicals on humans quickly died down after World War I soldiers returned home with severe burns and rashes.

The 1970s–1980s: People became increasingly aware of how dangerous ultraviolet light can be if not filtered out. The 1990s–present day: Newer materials like titanium dioxide have improved upon old formulas without causing severe allergic reactions.

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