Queen Cleopatra, probably the world’s first beauty icon, is well know for her signature eye makeup.
However, it has been reported that the heavy eye make-up she’s become famous for actually had medical benefits.
Lead salts in the make-up mixture protected against eye disease according to research published by French scientists.
Philippe Walter,who lead a team from the Louvre museum and the CNRS national research institute, said: ‘We knew ancient Greeks and Romans, too, had noted the make-up had medicinal properties, but wanted to determine exactly how.’
The team, using analytical chemistry, found that, despite popular belief that it is harmful, ‘in very low doses lead does not kill cells’
Instead, it produces a molecule-nitric oxide-which activates the immune defence system that beats back bacteria in case of eye infection.