1951 – Tartan Suntan Lotion

A mid-century look at skin protection before sunscreen.

A look at a mid-century summer wouldn’t be complete without a look at suntan lotion. The culture was much different in 1951 when this ad for Tartan Suntan Lotion appeared in the July issue of Today’s Woman magazine. The effects on skin from the sun was not as clearly known as it is today. Air conditioning was not yet a reasonable alternative to excessive heat, and the beach was a welcome treat for a hot summer. Summer meant a suntan and a great suntan was a sign of health and status.

Tartan Suntan Lotion Ad – Today’s Woman July 1951

Tartan Suntan Lotion was a product of the established McKesson & Robbins pharmaceutical company which added a bit of credibility to the brand.

Eliminates about 90% of the sun’s injurious burining rays. Gives you an even, beautiful tan.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that it was a healthier alternative to other brands. It was in no way a sunscreen and the fine print pointed out that this was a “when used as directed” situation.

I was able to find an original bottle for sale on a resale site. Take a look.

Vintage Bathing Beauty on

1 comment on “1951 – Tartan Suntan Lotion

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