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THE perfect skin goes far to make a woman look beautiful. The late Lillian Russell, who had a perfect complexion, declared that “soap and water” was its secret. But even when there are blackheads, blotches, pimples, a sallow, mothy or greasy skin, and this simple specific fails, there is a cure. There art different types of skin beauty. We have the baby pink and white, transparent skin; there is the “peaches and cream” complexion; or the creamy brunette skin, and many variants. Your business is to make your own particular type of skin and complexion look their best.
FIRST ESSENTIALS In Skin Care
Health again comes first as a good skin requisite, health born of exercise, wholesome food, plenty of soap and water. The hygiene of the skin reflects the general hygiene of the body. Take care of the skin locally. Avoid the direct rays of the sun; avoid exposure to wind, and dirt, lest your skin turn coarse and rough. Water does not injure the skin, nor dry out its natural oils. Use soft water for cleaning face and hands. (If the water you have available is hard, soften with salt, borax or baking soda.) Add bran or a quarter cup of almond meal to make water more soothing to a tender skin.
If chapping results from too warm a bath, tepid water, a soft soap, plus olive oil massage or toilet powder will remedy it. Cold water in the morning (it stimulates) and warm water at night is a good washing rule. Never use a cheap, but always a good soap, Castile preferably. Green soap (potash soap) is meant for oily scalps and only irritates dry skins.
Though medicated soaps are useful for some skin diseases, they should be used only on a doctor’s orders. Thorough, careful drying lends color to the cheeks and increases circulation, and cream and powder are good skin protectors if rightly used and removed. If the skin has been exposed to sun or wind, rub cold cream well into it. Then remove with a damp cloth, and follow by washing in cold water. Vanishing cream, greaseless, is a good face powder foundation, and a skin protector.
Always remove cream from the face before going to bed, and in general use it only every alternate day. No complexion stands cream day in, day out, nor does cream take the place of soap and water. Cream, if not removed, clogs the skin pores. Clogged pores mean blackheads, and black-heads cause other skin affections. Clogged pores, too, are responsible for yellow, sallow complexions.
SKIN FOODS AND POWDER
In general avoid cosmetics. They block up the pores and tend to enlarge them. Of cold creams there are numerous good sorts — vaseline cold cream, olive oil, rose ointment, lemon cream—these all come under the same head. Do not try to make your own skin food; buy a standard preparation. Oily skins shine unless cold cream be used on them under powder. Cologne may be used after a coldcream cleaning to do away with the greasy condition. Skin foods are applied in facial massage to cleanse and tone up the skin, do away with deposits of fat and wrinkles, and beautify skin quality.
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Powder protects the skin from the sun, is cooling and absorbs surplus oil. Cosmetic powders are not supposed to act in the guise of plaster-of-Paris masks, to completely hide the features. That many girls entertain this notion, however, is clear to anyone who has walked on the thoroughfares of New York or other large American cities. Powder should always be lightly applied and removed at night. Talcum (French chalk) and starch are the base of all good cosmetic powders. Never use powders containing lead or bismuth. Scent or its absence is a matter of taste. Do not forget that ordinary toilet powder is meant for the skin of the body and is too coarse for facial use. When it comes to using face powder remember that moderation means charm.
SKIN DISEASES AND THEIR CURE
Chapping we have already touched upon. Oily skin, often accompanied by enlarged pores, blackheads and pimples, should be treated before worse ensues. Use a soap made of a cup of oatmeal or boiled oats, a pinch of sulphur, a pinch of powdered benzoin, and a teaspoonful of Castile soap, shaved fine, mixed, in a small cheesecloth bag. An application in warm water twice a day, should correct the oily tendency.
Sunburn and Freckles.
Four lotions: 1. Two teaspoonfuls of benzoin in pint of cold water. Bathe face night and morning. 2. Mix flour of sulphur with milk, and rub into skin when the mixture has settled a couple of hours. To be applied in small quantities daily. 3. One drachm muriatic acid, to which half-teaspoon of spirits of lavender has been added. 4. Three drachms carbonate of potassium, two drachms common salt, eight ounces rosewater, a little orange or lavender flower water. Mix and make frequent applications.
Two lotions: 1. One ounce lemon juice, one pint rosewater. Apply to skin four, five or six times a day. 2. One drachm muriatic acid, half teaspoonful spirits of lavender, one pint rainwater. Apply carefully to freckles, using camel’s-hair brush.
It is not well to steam out blackheads. It does cleanse the skin and the blackheads have to go. But it also relaxes the skin, and brings forth a crop of early wrinkles. Better is the use of one of the following lotions. 1. One and one-quarter ounces of Green soap, two and one-half drachms alcohol, two and one-half drachms glycerine, one and one-half drachms borax. 2. Two and a half drachms rosewater, two and a half drachms spirits of lavender, two and a half ounces alcohol. After they have been rubbed in, the blackheads may be removed with a watch key. Never risk infection by squeezing out blackheads with the fingers. Once they are removed, close the pores with alcohol.
Pimples and Blotches.
An absolutely clean skin has no pimples. Hence the cleaner your skin, the less likely pimples are to appear. Women are more apt to have pimples than men, but are also more skilled in removing them. “Acne” is a spread of pimples due to improper blood conditions. It usually occurs during puberty, and calls for medical treatment. The use of salves is not recommended and though carbolated vaseline tends to dry pimples up, it increases oily skin conditions. A purely surface pimple, after an alcohol wipe, may have its head (the little yellow point) pricked. After the pus has been squeezed out, clean with a bit of cotton soaked in alcohol. The use of warm water and Ivory soap with a flesh brush, rinsing with cold water (and after drying, steaming the face every fourth day), should cause pimples to disappear. A grateful and healing lotion, too, may be made by mixing an ounce of tincture of haxnamelis with an equal amount of warm water, and applying frequently.
Tan and Moth Spots.
Too many coats of tan. Nature’s skin protection against sunburn — coarsen the skin. The so-called “moth spots,” brown spots or patches which appear after middle life, are due to this tan pigment. Any lotion which is efficacious for freckles is good for tan. A teaspoonful of milk, to which a little common salt has been added, may be applied at night and washed off in the morning. Another good lotion is made up of two ounces of lemon juice, a half drachm of borax, powdered, one drachm of powdered white sugar. It should stand for several days before using, then be applied as in the preceding case. A mixture of lemon juice and carbonate of magnesia is also valuable in correcting skin discolorations. It should be allowed to remain some time after it has been applied to the skin.
Warts and Moles.—Moth spots are only “bleached” by these lotions, and usually have to be removed by the specialist. A good dermatologist can easily remove the small, brown moles which are often encountered. An old-fashioned remedy, yet one which “works,” is: when the mole protrudes enough, to wind a hair tightly around it. If the hair is allowed to remain, the mole gradually detaches itself and falls off. Small moles should be at once removed, lest they grow larger. The same applies to raised, colorless moles. Red moles should never be touched. Cancer often results if an attempt be made to remove them. Warts are usually harmless. They are apt to disappear of their own accord. In general, your family physician or a skin specialist of standing should be consulted for any serious skin disorder. Avoid the common run of beauty doctors, and the “home treatment” salves and ointments, for all troubles that go beyond tan, sunburn, freckles, pimples, blackheads and chapping.