Dr. Isaac Lifschütz

(1852 – 1938)

In 1852, Dr. Isaac Lifschütz was born in what today is the Belarusian city of Pinsk. At the age of 18, he first studied in Switzerland and then at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, where he received his doctorate in chemistry in 1884. In the years that followed, Lifschütz dedicated himself to among other things the study of lanolin, extracted from sheep’s wool, a composition of which he made public in 1896. Two years later, he had a breakthrough: Lifschütz isolated the emulsifier Eucerit from the raw material. In 1900, he registered this manufacturing process with the patent office. The dermatologist Prof. Dr. Paul Gerson Unna recognized the importance of Eucerit for dermatology and made the salve basis Eucerin extracted out of it a central theme of his dermatology periodical. Despite all this scientific recognition, the big success of Lifschütz’s discovery only came when he arrived at Beiersdorf as a chemist in 1911. So that production of Eucerin could begin quickly, Beiersdorf purchased a large number of machines and manufacture processing rights from his former employer. Eucerin became the basis of the skin cream NIVEA and thereby, essential for the economic rise of Beiersdorf. Lifschütz retired in 1931 and died in Hamburg in 1938.