In ancient Rome, the poet Ovid mentioned in his Medicamina Faciei that Pharian fish and crocodile intestines and dung were used as cosmetics to brighten the complexion and remove freckles. In the late 1800s, an extract from the white lily-of-the-valley flower, common throughout England, was prescribed to rid the skin of the unsightly spots. Early do-it-yourself recipes from the 18th century were toners, cleansers, and other homemade apothecary cures to diminish the presence of freckles. Honey and rose, which are skin-softening agents common in many lotions, were used in combination with cream of tartar. The latter ingredient is an acidic substance, as is the citrus wash suggested to finish the treatment.

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