A History of Health
Discover Lifebuoy’s role in the evolution of infections, vaccines and germ protection.
Pioneers Of Health (1796-1896)
Lifebuoy Royal Disinfectant Soap
Lever discovered carbolic acid as he sought the perfect formula for soap that could combat germs and still be affordable to everyone.
Edward Jenner pioneered vaccination
Edward Jenner, an English doctor, tested his theory that milkmaids who suffered minor cowpox never contracted smallpox by inserting pus from a cowpox pustule into a young boy. He was later proven to be immune and this became the first recorded vaccination.
Humphry Davy discovered laughing gas for pain relief
Humphry Davy recognized the analgesic (pain-relieving) properties of nitrous oxide when he inhaled it while he had a toothache. He coined the term "laughing gas."
Ignaz Semmelweis realised the importance of handwashing
Semmelweis noticed student doctors would often attend autopsies where fatal viruses prevailed before entering his maternity ward. After introducing handwashing standards fatalities dropped from 10% to 1%.
Emil von Behring discovered antitoxins, which he used to develop diphtheria and tetanus vaccines
Bacteriologist, von Behring, showed it was possible to make animals immune against tetanus by injecting them with blood serum from another infected animal. Using this insight he created a vaccine against diphtheria.
William Hesketh Lever launched Lifebuoy in the UK as the Royal Disinfectant Soap
Lever discovered carbolic acid as he sought the perfect formula for soap that could combat germs and still be affordable to everyone. He was bestowed the title Lord Leverhulme in recognition of his contribution to health and hygiene education.
A Time Of War (1897-1949)
Lifebuoy Lever's Health Soap
During WWI the brand encouraged those not fighting on the front to send Lifebuoy soap to soldiers to help keep them healthy, hygienic and best able to serve.
Felix Hoffman invented Aspirin
Hoffmann was researching something to relieve his father's arthritis. He studied French chemist Charles Gergardt's experiments and created what we now know as aspirin.
Lifebuoy soap sent to soldiers during WWI
During WWI the brand encouraged those not fighting on the front to send Lifebuoy soap to soldiers to help keep them healthy, hygienic and best able to serve. Through the role it played in safeguarding the health of soldiers Lifebuoy became something of a national hero.
Mother, the Health Doctor
US campaign launches new character for Lifebuoy; Mother, the Health Doctor. Appealing to the increasing female audience she became Lifebuoy’s role model concentrating on care, health and future happiness of her children. The idea of the mother as the protector of family health continues to be a timeless theme for Lifebuoy.
Campaign to fight B.O. (body odour) launches
People became increasingly interested in products to boost self-confidence so Lifebuoy developed a campaign which focused not just on fighting germs and keeping clean, but on preventing ‘body odour’ – first coining the phrase “B.O.”.
Teaching the Lifebuoy Way
Lifebuoy kicks off exciting educational programmes in schools showing children the importance of handwashing at key occasions including before mealtimes.
Lifebuoy provides emergency washing facilities in Britain during WWII
When World War II broke out, Lifebuoy despatched Lifebuoy-branded vans to some of the most badly ‘blitzed’ areas in Britain equipped with hot showers, towels and soap for the inhabitants who no longer had access to basic amenities.
First vaccine for influenza discovered
After decades of study, the first flu vaccine was tested in a mass immunisation of the US army. The vaccine was a proven success. Army personnel remained largely immune compared with unvaccinated Navy personnel who suffered regular bouts of infection.
A Period Of Discovery (1950-1999)
Lifebuoy Red Toilet Soap
The Red Lifebuoy soap (85), which we sell, passed through the many varieties since it was first introduced in 1933.
Looking good – smelling sweet
By the late 1950s new perfumed soaps had entered the market, targeting consumers seeking protection from Body Odour. To attract the female audience, who were put off by Lifebuoy’s carbolic smell, Lifebuoy introduced a new ingredient, Puralin, and changed the soap to a softer, more feminine coral colour.
Treatment discovered to prevent millions of deaths from diarrhoea
Biochemist Kellogg Crane discovered how salt and sugar are absorbed by the body which lead to the development of oral rehydration therapy (ORT). ORT counters the loss of water and salts caused by diarrhoea and has saved millions of lives since its invention.
MRSA discovered in the United Kingdom
MRSA was the first discovered ‘superbug’ – that has evolved a resistance to antibiotics making it very difficult to treat. Many antibiotics against MRSA are in testing however handwashing remains central to prevention.
Lifebuoy gets minty
Lifebuoy Mint Refresher was introduced to help modernise the brand and explore new product sensorials such as cooling freshness.
Invention of hand sanitizer
Trainee nurse, Hernandez discovered alcohol carried in a gel was a quick cleanser to kill germs and bacteria. Originally invented for use in hospitals, it is now a life-saver for mums everywhere.
WHO proclaimed smallpox to be eradicated
The earliest evidence of smallpox is from the mummified body of Rameses V. The disease claimed over 300 million lives in the last century, but following vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the disease was completely eradicated.
Celebrating Good health (2000-Present)
Lifebuoy Total 10 Bar Soap
Lifebuoy Total 10 Bar Soap contains and Lifebuoy patented ingredient, Active5. The rich, creamy lather of Lifebuoy Bar soap leaves you clean and fresh while the advanced formulation cares for your skin.
Millennium Development Goals
In 2000, 189 nations promised to reduce poverty and improve the lives of millions by 2015. Lifebuoy’s ‘Clean Hands’ campaign has made a significant contribution to the goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds and prevent disease.
Lifebuoy awarded ‘Citizen Brand’ accolade
In 2005 Lifebuoy was awarded a ‘Citizen Brand’ accolade in Indonesia in recognition of the work it has undertaken in hygiene education over the years, including community health projects with UNICEF and the Indonesia Doctor Association (IDA).
Lifebuoy starts real-life clinical trial
Lifebuoy worked with 2000 Mumbai families in Unilever’s biggest real-life clinical trial to improve hygiene and family health. Half were provided with Lifebuoy soap along with regular education about the ‘Lifebuoy Way’ of hygiene and handwashing. At the end of the trial, five year old children suffered 25% fewer incidences of diarrhoea.
First Global Handwashing Day held in over 75 countries and 23 Lifebuoy markets
Lifebuoy was one of the driving forces behind the first ever Global Handwashing Day, uniting with partners to educate and inspire children to adopt a healthy hand hygiene habit.
India celebrates one year without Polio
More than a million volunteers assisted in a mass vaccination campaign and reduced the number of reported cases of polio from 741 in 2009 to the final reported case in early 2011. This astounding feat meant India was removed from the Polio Endemic Countries list.