Skin creams and salves

Friday, July 1, 2016

Iodine Tanning Lotion

McCall's Magazine, 1949

A very popular suntan lotion recipe in the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s was a simple mixture of iodine and baby oil. Iodine(for the staining), and baby oil for the moisturizing.

This was back in the day when people worshipped the sun and a tan was desirable. I'm not going to break down the supposed dangers of the sun or tell you that sunscreens cause cancer in this post(although, I suppose I just did:-). I'm also not going to tell you that the dangers of vitamin D deficiency far outweigh skin cancer risks....or that most melanomas occur on non sun-exposed areas....

Just reporting the facts. Can you imagine how much iodine is absorbed using this mixture?

I actually found a REAL recipe for Iodine Tanning lotion. The following recipe is taken from the "Westmore Beauty Book", a 1950s guide to all things beauty. 

Cover~ 1949 McCalls
"'s one that we make at home and personally recommend...the proportions are as follows:

1/4 oz apple cider vinegar(for the tannic acid it contains).
oz of caron oil(this is the basic ingredient of all burn healing salves).
1 1/2 oz iodine(for color, if you have an allergy to iodine, you will have to omit this).
1/2 oz of baby oil.
4 oz of your favorite cologne.(Never put cologne or perfume directly on your face when going out in the sun. It can result in a permanent burn).

Suffice it to say that a lotion, or a sun-screening preparation of some sort, is not your best protection against a painfully burned face. Untanned skin will not brown unless some sunburn occurs first. Without the aid of a suntan preparation the skin will set up it's own defense against the harmful rays and this results in a coarsened texture.

A suntan cannot be acquired all of a sudden. It should be acquired very gradually if it is to be painless and attractive....."

Interesting recipe, they've incorporated a burn remedy into the formula! My advice would be to limit your exposure so that a burn remedy would not be necessary :-)

~tannic acid is used to treat burns:

I'm not sure what caron oil is. Old literature tells me that it's a mixture of linseed(flaxseed) oil and lime water(calcium hydroxide and water). Whatever it is, it seems to have fallen out of favor.

Mineral oil has been getting a bad rap for a while now but it has proven benefits, such as holding moisture in. Pure mineral oil has nothing in common with gasoline, I've made my husband very effective hand creams with it although I'm wary of marketing them because of the "impure" reputation.

Happy Summer and enjoy the Sun!

1949 McCall's Magazine

1 comment:

Barry Burns said...

Thanks Laura, I feel your power!* I am a disabled war veteran and you have inspired me. I am on an organic food, supplement and iodine protocol detoxing halogens and uranium.