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The history of skincare

Discover NIVEA’s never-ending success story of skincare

Some products come and go while others are favorites across generations. Explore skincare through the ages and see how NIVEA Creme became a synonym for protection and care.

Explore the history of skincare

How much have our skincare routines changed over time? Discover the origins of skincare and find out how it developed around the world.

Exploring skincare

Women have been using skincare for centuries. But skincare routines have changed greatly over the years and are different across continents. The 20th century heralded the golden era of skincare products — a time when they became available to all women, not just the wealthy.

As in today’s world of skincare, fashions came and went. For example, the 1920s was all about products that would provide a youthful complexion. This was part of the vibrant feeling of the time brought about by flappers.

The 1960s saw the introduction of multi-step skincare — the cleanser, toner and moisturiser routine we know today. By the 1990s, vitamins were being introduced in formulas to help reduce the signs of aging.

Skincare through the ages

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In the 16th and 17th century, natural products were used for skincare and cosmetics. For example, herbs, alcohol and plants were used to make toners, salves and ointments to treat skin complaints. At that time, castile soap was reserved for the upper classes.

Skincare around the world

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Women’s interest in skincare can be traced around the world through the centuries. For example, the Egyptians used essential oils to create their own anti-wrinkle creams. In Roman times, face scrubs with natural ingredients such as seeds and honey were very popular for smoothing the skin.

The NIVEA story - a history of skincare

NIVEA has been a familiar friend to families for over 100 years, supporting them with purity, simplicity and carefully selected ingredients.

Introducing NIVEA Creme

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Everyone knows the blue tin, white cream and inimitable scent. In fact, this cream is loved by generations around the world for its moisturization properties and its truly unique fragrance, which is synonymous with protection, care, trust and happiness.

The story of NIVEA skincare

NIVEA started out in 1890 when pharmacist Dr Troplowitz acquired a laboratory for dermatotherapeutic preparations in Hamburg. It was here that Troplowitz worked together with scientific consultant and dermatologist Professor Unna to create the first water-in-oil emulsion.

They discovered a new ointment base called Eucerit ®.  This is a wax found in sheep’s wool, which acts as an emulsifier. With this ointment, oil and water could be bound in a stable, snow-white cream base for the first time. Before, emulsions would react to changes in temperature and separate into independent water and oil parts. 

The resulting cream formulated with lipids, oils and its unique scent launched in 1911. This marked the beginning of an unparalleled brand history.

The impact of NIVEA Creme

When it was first released, NIVEA Creme made waves — not only in terms of the innovative product but also the packaging that was involved.

Using a special machine to package the cream into aluminum tins was a historic moment, which marked a turning point for modern cosmetics. 

It was no surprise the snow-white cream was an instant hit. The formula was used as a body lotion, face cream and for the hands, but also to care for children’s skin, as it was so gentle. Before NIVEA Creme was launched in 1911, the only alternative was water, soap and powder.

Three years later, NIVEA Creme was sold in 34 countries. Today, it is still NIVEA’s bestselling product, with more than 15 billion tins being sold since its launch.

Did you know…?

  • No other cream from NIVEA is more universal and versatile than NIVEA Creme.
  • NIVEA Creme protects against the effects of cold weather conditions by providing a protective layer for the skin.
  • NIVEA Creme is suitable for skin of all types.
  • NIVEA Creme works as a hand cream, face care product and a body lotion.
  • NIVEA Creme is more than a cream — it is your skin’s best friend and guardian.