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[Skin Care - Part 4] [Skin Care - Part 5]
( Originally Published 1963 )
Of the several home-methods for getting rid of excess hair, the wax treatment is probably best. Its results last longer (from four to six weeks) than do the effects of depilatories (creams and pastes with chemical contents) and many skins respond badly to the depilatories. Abrasives (stones or mitts which erase hair by friction) are relatively harmless, but the hair may grow back almost as quickly as if you had used a razor.
The wax treatment is not only good to use on your legs, but is fine for getting rid of any condition of facial hair (known professionally as lanuga). Lanuga is a not uncommon problem and it can be a source of self-consciousness.
If you're going to use the wax treatment on your face, here's the way it is done by top professional make-up men in Hollywood and for TV.
To begin with, take a piece of clean cotton and swab the area where you're going to remove the hair with a good gentle astringent; this will clean and dry the skin and prevent infection.
With a second piece of sterile cotton, apply a coat of talcum powder. This acts as a protective shield against the wax. Next, lay the warm melted wax over the area in the direction in which your hair grows. (You can buy a good depilatory wax at any drugstore). If you are trying to remove hair that grows over your upper lip, lay the wax on one side of your mouth at a time. It's easier to do, and less painful. Now let the wax cool and set till it gets hard. When it is completely hardened get a fingernail grip on the wax at the edge of the corner of your mouth and try to peel the wax off quickly in one motion, which should hurt no more than when you strip an adhesive off your arm or some other place where hair grows. When you've taken the wax off both sides of your mouth, press these areas with a clean washed finger and hold your finger there for a minute or two, but don't apply too much pressure. Now swab the whole thing again with an astringent.
If you're using the wax treatment to de-hair your legs you do more or less the same thing, except that I suggest for comfort's sake that you do your legs in sections rather than all at once.
EL SOL-FRIEND OR ENEMY
The sun can be a woman's best friend or her worst enemy. A golden glow, a rich tawny skin that lights up a woman's loveliness like technicolor-fine. But too much sun is simply disastrous for every woman over fifteen. Beautiful skin is traditional among women of rainy lands, while the dry desert regions of the world have women who blossom young under the hot rays of the sun but fade before twenty-five because of them.
I'm not sure why so many women today seem to think a black black tan is good looking. Most over-burned skins look like old leather and then as the tan begins to fade they get to look like old, muddy leather. Personally I can't take much sun. My skin is light and I freckle. After five minutes in the sun I turn a light purple and my skin has a tendency to dryness which makes it catastrophic if I get too much. And even with all the lotions on the market today I mourn over the natural body oils lost when sunning, because I don't believe there's any way to replace them.
HOW MUCH SUN FOR YOUR SKIN?
How much sun you can take without hurting your skin depends on how much melanin there is in it. Melanin is the substance the body produces to protect skin from burning and brown-eyed, brown-haired people invariably have much more of it in their systems than do naturally blonde-haired, blue-eyed individuals. The darker your skin tones are (before sun-tanning) the more sun you can stand without doing downright painful damage. But be careful! That sun is powerful-and you know how much a bad sunburn can hurt.
HOW TO TREAT SUNBURN
The greatest treatment for sunburn I know of is called prevention. Don't get sunburned. Don't think that because there are clouds in the sky that the sun can't burn. Don't fall asleep on the beach. Don't set out to fry yourself in one afternoon so you'll be a knockout that evening in a white strapless. (Lobsterred does not go well with anything.)
But should, despite your best intentions, the worst befall you, there are many quick-acting salves that will help. Vitamin D ointment is excellent. So are peanut oil, olive oil, mineral oil and lanolin. And I've heard of one off-beat treatment you can't buy in a drugstore which is rumored to be near-incredible.
Mash a few tomatoes into about a cup of buttermilk and spread it on your damaged skin like a paste. There'll be no sign of relief for an hour or two and you may feel a bit strange with all that goo on, but then not only will the pain vanish, the burn should turn to tan-and no peeling!
Cucumbers are supposed to be an acceptable substitute for the tomatoes-squeeze the cucumbers and spread the juice and seeds over the burn.
If your skin is very light, chances are sunburning will not only be harmful to you, but will not add very much to your looks. Southern belles avoided the sun at any cost as a definite threat to their beauty. I suggest you make like Scarlett O'Hara. Wear sun hats, light little gloves to protect your hands, and, if necessary, carry one of those pretty little sun parasols, which by the way, are back in fashion. That delicate pink flush which is becoming to everyone will be yours anyway even if you spend the day under an awning, or cross the street at high noon.
If you are truly enamoured of the sun, and you are not a downright white-skinned type, you still dare not abandon yourself to Apollo without caution. He can be a most dangerous lover, unless you develop the great art of patience. On your first day of sunning, even fifteen minutes of direct sunlight on your unprotected skin is too much. Be sure you are well provided with a protective lotion or oil and then time your exposure carefully. On the second day, a half hour of sun is plenty and remember to reapply your cream or whatever you're using as soon as it drys.
PROMOTE TAN PREVENT BURN
Despite all the new products on the market meant to promote tan and protect you from burn, many of which are very effective, I'm still quite fond of two time-tried and well-tested standbys: A) a mixture of mineral oil and iodine; B) perhaps even better, a half cup of olive oil and a half cup of vinegar. The vinegar keeps you from burning, the oil keeps your skin from drying but tans you evenly and quickly at the same time.
Consistent exposure to that hot summer sun will do more to dry the skin and consequently age it than three months of going to bed without creaming. Yet there are women who take meticulous care of their skins during the winter and in one happy blazing hour undo all their efforts. All those little lines around the eyes-the ones they've creamed and massaged so diligently-suddenly seem inches deeper when they appear in bas-relief-like a photo negative-white and clear against the dark surface of the skin.
I don't use sunlamps either and I think those women who do should be aware of the more serious damage that doctors say can come from intensive sunning or prolonged or careless use of sun-lamps. Several skin cancers are now pretty definitely traced to this cause; most cases occur, according to dermatologists, in "sandy-haired, light-skinned, freckle-faced persons."