1. Foot Binding
Think that walking in heels is painful? Then this beauty trick is right out of your worst nightmare. In the time of Imperial China (10th-11th century), small feet were a sign of high status and beauty. Rich women who did not need to labour at hard work would pay to have their feet bound at a young age to stop them from growing. As a result of the treatment, these commonly suffered from debilitating physical disabilities and growth deformities.
Often resulting in infection, gangrene or septic shock, it is assumed that upwards of 10% of all women who had their feet bound died as a result. To further shrink the size of the feet, infection was purposefully introduced to the toes so that they would fall off and the bondage could be made tighter to make the feet appear even smaller. It took until the 20th century for this practice to be abolished.