Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A historian's take on sunscreen

Who knew that hippos were so
sun savvy? Image: Wildlife Photos
Did you know that hippos produce a natural "sweat" that protects them from the sun? Or that on an episode of Man vs. Wild, my man Bear Grylls uses mushroom coral mucus as a sunscreen? Thank goodness for Sarah Angleton, a writer/historian/blogger who I met at a conference earlier this summer. Sarah recently wrote a post on the history of sunscreen that's loaded with interesting facts like these. Here's a snippet:
"Historians think the Ancient Greeks used sand and oil to protect their skin from sun damage as early as 400 BC and quite a few years later, sun block gets another blurb when Christopher Columbus journals about the paint the natives use to protect their skin from the sun.
The first widely used chemical sunscreen was invented by Benjamin Green, whose 'Red Vet Pet' was worn by soldiers in the Pacific during WWII. Green’s early attempt would later become a Coppertone product. A handful of others invented basic sunscreens around the same time and they all had one thing in common: They didn’t work particularly well."
Read the full article

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