The Bottom Line
Question: This substance was used as a cosmetic to give skin a fashionable, artificial pallor. What was it? (Don't try this at home, either.)
Answer: Powdered white lead was mixed into any number of other ingredients. Women AND men would put this on their faces. It was used to hide smallpox scars. It was also used to make it clear that those who wore it were rich, and didn't go outdoors, into the sun, to make a living. Sadly, some of these rich people died of lead poisoning.
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