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[Skin Care - Part 4] [Skin Care - Part 5]
( Originally Published 1963 )
Although oily skin needs more washing than lubricating, it requires some added moisturizing-if only for protection from the elements and for smoothing. But oily-skinned people don't need a rich cream: A much thinner lotion, the kind that disappears quickly (actually it is dried by the air), is rich enough. You lucky oily-skinned people needn't worry about too much sunning or bathing or premature aging. You never have to put greasy creams on your face when you go to bed-though you too ought to have tiny dabs of it under your eyes. There are drawbacks to oily skin though: a perpetually shiny nose, a skin surface that holds makeup badly, worst of all a tendency to large pores.
Large pores are not only natural nests for blackheads, but, at close range, a large-pored skin is not beautiful. This is why poreshrinking techniques are so old they may pre-date history. It's almost certain they were used by the ladies of Pharaoh's court, and what is most intriguing, probably some of the best methods we have today are identical with theirs.
Put the white of one (or two) eggs on your skin after having washing and rinsed your face. Then, after twenty or thirty minutes be sure you rinse your face again, first with lukewarm water, then with very cold water. Your skin will feel dry. If the dryness is uncomfortable, cream it. This treatment will tighten and have a closing effect on your pores.
MILK OF MAGNESIA
Apply the thickest globs of milk of magnesia to your skin and follow instructions for egg white, above.
Here's another good and very old method of correcting enlarged pores. Wash your face with warm water and pure soap, dash it with very cold water, dry it with coarse towel. When your skin is dry, very gently but very thoroughly rub pure lemon juice, a marvelous astringent, over your entire face, then let it dry. Cleans the pores as well as shrinks.
Very ancient and very effective are meal treatments which not only shrink the pores but peel off that top layer of skin neatly and beautifully. This process ought not to be used by women who have good complexions to begin with but are curious to know if they could be better. Leave well enough alone. Nature has her own schedule and you shouldn't get into the habit of trying to change it. However, women suffering with a bad complexion have had amazing results from the meal treatments.
There's nothing difficult about this treatment, which you do by yourself at home. Buy one of the standard complexion scrubs from your druggist. They come in powder form and are close relatives of oatmeal or almond meal. Don't buy any grainier substances; they are much too rough. Mix a little water with the meal until you have a smooth paste which you rub onto your justwashed and rinsed face and neck. Never touch the area near your eyes. When this mixture has dried (it takes about twenty minutes), rinse your skin with lukewarm water, and dry it carefully. Your skin will feel puffy, dry, and drawn together. Don't worry, it's supposed to feel that way. Drink liquids to counteract the drying process you've started. You can do this treatment about once a week (or more, if your skin is oily). After several weeks you'll be getting compliments on your smooth pink baby-new complexion. But don't be too smug. The trick is to keep it that way. And yes, that still means proper diet, enough sleep, and lots of exercise.
For more serious skin problems, there are more drastic treatments, but not the kind you can or should do at home, and, even more important, not the kind you should let anyone talk you into having done. See a dermatologist. There are oil peels, ultraviolet ray treatments, surgical peels, light peels, deep peels. They're highly effective, very expensive, and can be quite dangerous unless professionally done.
WHY SKIN GROWS OLD
Finally, there's that most inevitable and common "problem" of all. We get older and so do our skins. They line, they puff, they grow less firm. And, at this point, most women panic. They buy whatever lotions and creams are promised in poetic advertisements to "rejuvenate" them. They fall prey to fads, to quacks, to time-consuming, expensive, and often useless skin treatments. They try to cover up their "defects" with far too much make-up and the result almost always is a glaringly artificial one.
As a woman gets older, she ought to become more sure of herself-of what she wants, of who she is. Wrinkle-watching is an occupation that no woman should have time for. She should be too busy, too involved in life. And she should know that a woman's true attractiveness can never be measured in the mirrornot at forty, not at twenty. The men you appeal to will never see or notice those smile lines that seem so enormous and ugly to you. They will become apparent to everyone if you are thinking and worrying about them. And the freshness that goes with early youth is so often replaced with a much deeper and more memorable charm. Greer Garson, Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford-almost every truly good-looking Hollywood star established her own face after she was thirty.
Aging itself is a slow, natural process. By observing fundamental laws of health, people today can continue not only to look and feel young, but to be young, far longer than anyone a hundred years ago ever dreamed of. Still we see far too much premature aging, a condition which is simply not necessary, considering the knowledge we have today about ourselves and our bodies.
The health rules I've been talking about must become more and more rigorously followed as a woman gets older. Your skin cells have miraculous capacities for rebuilding themselves, if you help them. You can indulge in a sweet and starch heavy diet and expect to look good (or at least moderately good) at twenty-five. You can't as well at thirty-five, and certainly not at forty-five and after. Air, sun, and exercise have to become part of a daily routine, not an occasional activity.
Proper skin care becomes much more imperative, too, as we get older, and massage should take a prominent place. Facial skin sags, I am told, for the same reasons a rubber band used continually loses its resiliency. We upright, two-legged creatures are bravely defying gravity from the first moment we learn to walk. We have to pay the price for it as time goes on. The facial muscles can take only so much pull; they eventually lose some of their elasticity. Massage helps keep the blood flowing to these muscles and increases that elasticity. Massage can also help take care of the discoloration that sometimes comes with a lack of proper pigmentation, by stimulating circulation.
THE PROPER TOUCH
Of course, you want to massage your skin in a direction that will counteract the downward pull and the lines that have been formed through the years by your facial expressions. But no matter how strong your determination to repair the damage, to wipe out those creases, remember: whenever you put hand to face it must be with the greatest gentleness and care. You must learn to have "a butterfly touch." When massaging your face always be gentle, use plenty of cream, and be sure you are moving your fingers in the right direction. Don't try to do all the areas of your face described in this or any other book, all the time. Concentrate on what you think you need most (the laugh lines, the under-eye) and get to be utterly proficient in massaging those places. Remember, its better only to cream-rub your face, which has a stimulating effect on the skin anyway, than to massage the fragile skin of your face the wrong way. The effects of massage, which can be quite amazing, come with faithful repetition of your efforts. You can not expect to obliterate years of neglect in a week. And you can, by not being light enough in your massaging, do damage to the delicate tissues. Warning: beware of energetic masseuses, and never use a massage machine on your face.
WHERE TO MASSAGE
The three areas of a woman's face that most need massaging: around the eyes, around the bottom of the nose and the mouth, the jaw and chin line. The principal rule to remember when massaging the entire face is that all movements should go outwards and upwards, and from front to back. Whenever massaging your face, use plenty of lubricating cream. This helps prevent you bruising the tissues. To begin!
THE JAW AND CHIN LINE
From the center of your chin and just under the jawbone, work upwards to the bottom of the ear lightly with your index finger. Your other fingers may, just as lightly, trace the area from your center chin to your earlobe. Now cover the same area but move further under the jawbone with the backs of your hands always going up towards the ears, never downwards.
THE "LAUGH LINES"
It's a shame that something as delightful as smiling should make lines, but it does. And those two little valleys that run down from your nose to your mouth are known as "laugh lines"; (I think the technical name for them is nasal labials). And most women don't find them very funny. Then, to add to the trouble, there are those two smaller lines that sometimes form at the corners of the mouth. To begin getting rid of the mouth lines, work up from the chin in a small circle that should end just above the mouth and under the bottom of the nose. Don't work backwards towards the chin. Do repeat this small semi-circle over and over again on both sides and work in the cream with light deft little strokes.
For the "laugh lines" begin at the corners of the mouth and move upwards, till your fingers meet on the bridge of the nose. Use common sense. Adapt these movements to your own face and use them most continuously where your lines are heaviest.
THE EYE SOCKETS
The area around your eyes is the most sensitive and the most important. Old eyes can age any face, young eyes can brighten it like fireworks at night. Artists know that they can make a young face look twenty to thirty years older simply by adding lines and depth to the under-eye. Actors and actresses use the same technique in making up when they want to age themselves for a role. There's not too much that can be done about your natural eye hollows. Some women have them at twenty, others develop them much later in life. Deep-set eyes are often the enviable mark of great beauty, adding an expression of profundity to the face. It is largely the condition of the delicate under-eye skin that determines whether or not the eye looks less young than it might.