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This nightmarish mask is how wealthy, 16th century women protected themselves from the sun (and kept them quiet)

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There are plenty of ways to simultaneously achieve the goals of looking fre$h, and protecting yourself from the sun:

Yep, it’s easier than ever to be sun-safe and fashion-forward – but it certainly wasn’t always this way. Behold the following example, which will give you ALL the style tips you need for summer 2017/18.

Exhibit A: Beyonce slaying on-stage with a sturdy, broad-brimmed hat. 10/10 fashion, 10/10 sun safety. (Image: Beyonce Knowles, Formation World Tour)

It turns out that in 16th-century Europe, aristocrats had an absolutely bonkers way of protecting themselves from the ravages of UV light that manages to be both wildly impractical and insanely offensive.

I present to you, the visard:

A 16th century visard found in Northamptonshire, England.

A 16th century visard found in Northamptonshire, England.

The visard was a terrifying, nightmarish mask worn by upper-class women to ensure their skin stayed as pale as possible (because, god forbid someone thought they were poor and actually had to work outside for a living).

The top layer was made from velvet, underneath were layers of pressed paper and the inside was lined with silk.

Not only did they have to walk around with a heavy, cumbersome mask that looks like it came straight out of a low-budget horror film, they also had to hold it in place WITH THEIR MOUTHS!

There was a small glass bead just behind the mouth hole which they’d hold between their teeth.

Not only did this hold the mask in place, it ensured that women would stay as silent as possible – not bothering men with their pesky “opinions” and “beliefs”.

*Commence slow, exaggerated eye roll*

Thankfully, these monstrosities went out of vogue around the turn of the 18th century, and now in 2017 we have plenty of practical protective clothing to choose from.

This will haunt your dreams forever.

However, while they certainly missed the mark with the visard, they were right about one thing.

Sun damage is really bad for you.

Not only does the damage seriously age your skin, it also puts you in grave danger of getting skin cancer (the most deadly of all the cancers).

A whopping 95 per cent of melanomas can be prevented by simply protecting your skin. So make sure you cover up – you’ll be looking after yourself, and looking great in the process.

You too should cover up this summer. Wearing hats, sunglasses, protective clothing, using SPF30+ sunscreen and finding shade when UV radiation is at its peak are all smart ways to avoid sunburn. And seriously, who wants to be lobster red while everyone else is outside having fun? As our friends at Pretty Shady say: ‘Be part of the generation that stops skin cancer, one summer at a time’.