Miracle face creams have been in the news a lot recently, with the Boots face cream selling out almost instantly, but what did women do in the Regency era in order to preserve their beauty? Surprisingly, their beauty treatments were much the same as ours, in style if not in composition.
In Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot encouraged Mrs Clay to use Gowland's lotion. Gowlands lotion was a commercial preparation that contained mercuric chloride, so in fact it acted as a chemical peel. No wonder Sir Walter thought the ladies' complexions were 'fresher' after they'd used it!
Information courtesy of The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret Sullivan, editrix of Austenblog