Sublimate (1552)

This sublimate is one of the most excellent lotions in the world for whitening the complexion, for it makes the skin white as snow, without any kind of harmful after-effect. Moreover, it does not cause wrinkles, nor does it harm the teeth in any way, but imparts to the face a sheen which looks as natural as if it had been inborn. Its effect is such that, were a member of the fairer sex with blonde or raven hair to have spots on her face and were she to be as much as fifty-five years old, if she were to use this lotion, her forehead and cheeks would look as if she were just twelve years old. It is indeed such an excellent lotion that even if a man were to come very close to the face, he would not be aware of anything unusual, but would believe it was naturally that whit... Furthermore, if a member of the fairer sex were to begin to use this lotion at the age of fifteen, twenty or twenty-five, for the rest of her life her complexion would remain exceptionally beautiful, so that even in her sixtieth year she would have the appearance of being only twenty..."

The first ingredient in this well-lauded lotion is mercuric chloride, and it pretty much goes downhill from there. It includes lead, tin, and mercury, plus the spittle of a young man. And you know it's a bad sign when "it should be put in a mortar which is made entirely from wood, because neither copper nor iron must be allowed to come into contact with it."

Source: The Elixars of Nostradamus, 1552