Skin, the largest organ in the human body can determine a lot in life. Skin indicates health, divides us, protects us, and can kill us if we're careless.
Skin suffocation, an urban myth further spread by the fictional death of the female beauty "Jill Masterson" in James Bond Goldfinger when painted gold. A person could perhaps die from dangerous chemicals mixed in the paint, but other than that... not likely.
People go to great lengths to change their appearance. From Tanning salons to skin bleaching, a "healthy complexion" plays an important role in a person's confidence and identity. The days of using lead in face powder and creams are not over. In America, tanning is a sign of wealth but in countries such as Africa, Latin America and Asia fair skin is highly sought after. Many fraudulent "Skin Clinics" and dangerous bleaching creams containing carcinogenic compounds such as hydroquinone (banned in EU, Japan, Canada) sold both on the internet and the black market can result in permanent scars.
Weird facts about cosmetics...
In Ancient Egypt high society women such as Queen Cleopatra would use exotic ingredients such as crocodile excrements.
Ancient Rome used a mixture of crushed chalk and lead.
Japan has continually used rice flour which would eventually spread to Europe during the reign of Louis the XV.
In 1923 the English Company Laughton & Sons began manufacturing compact powder cases with sponges.