The Real Facts About Good Complexions
( Originally Published Early 1925 )
"No woman can have a good complexion or be physically at her best in attractiveness who is an habitual sufferer from intestinal stasis. Her complexion will not be good, the odors of her body frequently offensive, while her physical and mental reactions will be sluggish. It is strange that the feminine desire to please should not take into account this simple fact so well understood by medical men."
In carefully scrutinizing conditions that make for good complexions, it is pertinent to. observe that the toilet-preparations market is in a flourishing condition. The steady expansion of this trade has not been appreciably affected either by hard times or the wide publicity given by the medical and lay press to the poisonous ingredients frequently used, particularly in cosmetics.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, probably the leading medical association of the world, having a membership of 80,000 of the reputable physicians of the country, and commanding the confidence of all who are informed, has from time to time published the principal ingredients of various cosmetics offered on the market and the results are generally conceded to be alarming.
The Government has also put out a pamphlet on this subject 3 which says:
"Of the many and varied abuses of drug products there is none in which fraud, deception and a wanton disregard of health and even life are so clearly in evidence as in the sale of so called cosmetics. . . . The Iowa Pharmaceutical Association found that out of 66 hair tonics, samples of bay rum, witch-hazel, toilet waters, Florida water and perfumes, 20 contained wood alcohol. . . . The beauty washes and face enamels contain an even more impressive array of dangerously potent drugs, including flake white (lead) ; diachylon (lead plaster) ; corrosive sublimate (mercury) ; calomel (mercury) ; white precipitate (ammoniated mercury) ; pearl white (bismuth subnitrate) zinc white, Chinese white (commercialized zinc oxide), and zinc soap.. .
Tuttle found that 3 of 8 face enamels examined by him contained lead, 1 contained mercury, 2 zinc oxide and 2 zinc oxide and calcium carbonate. . . . Many of the so-called beauty lotions are primarily fraudulent. Street, of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, re-ports 5 preparations for the removal of wrinkles which were found to consist principally of Epsom salt. Cosmetics as ordinarily used tend to clog the pores of or irritate the skin and are thus likely to interfere with its normal, healthy action" (that is in addition to being actually dangerous, as in the above list, excepting the Epsom salt, which is worthless.
In its pamphlet, already alluded to, the American Medical Association under the title Cosmetic Nostrums gives publicity to a long list of toilet preparations, each one of which is supposed to belong to one of three classes: openly fraudulent, dangerous, or worthless.
Under the title Nostrum and Quackery the above Association has also published a book on "The Great American Fraud." Its last edition * (1921) contains over 800 octavo pages of closely printed, illustrated matter, much of it new, covering the following titles: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Habit Cures, Consumption Cures, Cosmetics Nostrums, Epilepsy Cures, Female Weakness Cures, Kidney Disease and Diabetes, Medical Institutes, Medical Mail Order Concerns, Men's Specialists, Mineral Waters, Miscellaneous Nostrums, Miscellaneous Specialists, Obesity Cures, Quackery of the Drugless Type, Rheumatism Cures, etc., Tonic Bitters, etc., Miscellaneous. The closely-printed small type index covers eighteen double column pages of approximately 2,700 items.
This evil trade has been built up on the theory that skin blemishes and other physical defects can be treated by incompetent people as effects instead of locating their causes; and often that the best way to mend bad complexions is to cover them up. This of course is wholly wrong and rests entirely on the commendable desire of those who buy to make themselves as attractive as possible. Through lack of knowledge they go about it in the wrong way. A "made-up" woman, like the man who dyes his whiskers, deceives no one but herself. When the poor imitation is quickly discovered a leaf from her private life is read by the public and her reputation for common sense suffers.
Bad complexions are uniformly due to a specific cause and it is the part of wisdom to discover and remove that cause.
"Find out the cause of this effect,
In youth, when there is energy in excess of the needs of the body, sins against the organs of digestion and elimination can be committed with impunity by the careless or ignorant and a good complexion still be temporarily maintained. Nature always puts up a good, hard fight against the encroachments of disease. But after a few years the body begins to yield its defenses one by one against intestinal intoxication. After this process has progressed far enough Nature then reverses her first attitude. She is now as hard to coax back to a state of health as she was slow in the first place to yield it. There is no truth in this book that carries weightier consequence to the young than this.
A good text for the remainder of this chapter is a remarkably clear marshalling of a few important facts by Hurst, who says the chief defense against intestinal intoxication occurs in the liver, as all substances absorbed from the alimentary canal must pass through it before reaching the general circulation and one of its most important functions, when kept in health, is to diminish the toxicity of all sorts of poisons. Other organs, the chief of which is probably the thyroid gland, possess a similar but smaller power of neutralizing and destroying poisons. Even after a considerable quantity of intestinal poisons have reached the blood no great harm need be done, if the excretory organs are efficient. But when the kidneys become diseased these poisons may be a factor in the production of uremia (toxic elements in the blood resulting in headache, shortness of breath, insomnia, delirium, convulsions, coma—profound unconsciousness) especially if increased absorption occurs as a result of colitis (inflamed membrane of the colon), and constipation. When the intestinal delay is in the colon, especially in the cecum and ascending colon, where the contents are fluid and bacteria abundant, an excessive number may reach the blood. Those which escape destruction in the liver and spleen are excreted by the kidneys and pyelitis (inflammation of the pelvis or cup of the kidneys) may result'. (See Chapter XXVI.)
As the nutrition of the skin comes from the blood first attention of those who would have a healthy skin must be directed to the source of the skin's nutrition. If a putrefactive or poisonous condition of the colon is permitted the resulting blood will register without fail such a condition in the skin.
A familiar form_ of bad complexion is acne, a papular eruption with accumulation of secretion of the underlying sebaceous gland. These pimples are really minute abscesses, involving the sebaceous or fat glands of the skin. The cause of every acne, says Pusey, is the formation of blackheads (comedos). These blackheads are masses of semi-solidified fat and capped by a blackened mass of dirt and debris of the skin which have clogged up the glands. Very often blackheads may be abundant without the presence of many pimples; at other times the acne eruption will obscure the black-heads. They are generally located wherever the fat glands are most numerous and largest—on the face, back of the neck, upper part of the back and chest. They are most frequently confined to the face and often persist after 30. They are most numerous during adolescence (the later years of youth, up to the age of about 25) because the fat glands and hair follicles at puberty take on a new activity. The coarser the skin the more common the affliction).
The treatment in obstinate cases taxes all the skill of the physician. The condition of the general health becomes a factor. Most frequently we see digestive disturbances and anemia (deficiency in red blood cells) associated with acne. In treatment, if the skin is thin and relatively dry, the face should be thoroughly washed with a good toilet soap and warm water, care being taken not to leave the skin unduly dry or chapped. In a greasy, thick skin there is little danger of doing too thorough a job with a rough wash cloth kept scrupulously clean. Application of alcohol will still further continue the cleansing process. The object is to not only remove the dirt but all infectious material and micro-organisms and get rid of some of the horny skin obstruction to a free opening of the sebaceous glands. If a moderate effect is needed a bland soap should be used; if the case is a bad one a stronger soap. If the abscesses are superficial, showing a yellow point, they should be wiped with alcohol or peroxide of hydrogen and opened with a needle which must also be dipped in alcohol or tincture of iodine each time it is used. Finally the whole face should be wiped with alcohol or peroxide of hydrogen. Deep-seated acne abscesses without a pus point cannot well be opened by the patient. Steaming the face as a preliminary step to removing the blackheads is a valuable measure. If the mass does not come out with moderate pressure or with the use of the circular opening of a small key pressed around it, postpone the attempt for a day or two.
Pusey's view of the cause of acne is not shared by a majority of the most eminent investigators. Among those who believe that a bacillus is the cause are Engman, Hodara, Gilchrist (of Johns Hopkins), Fleming, Western, Molesworth, Lovejoy, Hastings, Hartwell, Streeter, Sudmerson, Thompson, Morris and Dove. Of the above Engman has been working on the problem since 1893 when he was an associate of Unna, of Ham-burg, Germany, and has continued on it since emigratting to this country.
Kellogg makes short shrift of the subject by saying that the principal cause of some twenty skin affections and deranged skin functions is to be found in intestinal poisons. Among the former he mentions wrinkles; thin, inelastic, starchy skin; yellow brown, slate-black, blue skin, including so-called liver blotches; muddy complex-ions; offensive secretions in the region of the flexures (see diagram of the colon) ; irritability of the skin; sweating of palms and soles of feet; eruptions, including sores and boils; acne rosacea (red nose and cheeks) ; deranged sweat glands including dandruff (seborrhea) leading to baldness; dry Letter (psoriasis;) reddish papules accompanied by intense itching (lichen planus) ; jaundice; cold and clammy extremities; pinkish discolorations with yellowish centers on the thighs and trunk (pityriasis) ; red patches with grayish or yellowish scales (lupus) ; eczema; vegetable parasitic scale patches (herpes circinatus) ; localized itching (pruritus) ; blebs, watery pustules (pemphigus). Lane, as we have seen else-where, says the armpits, abdomen, adjacent aspects of the thighs and the covering process of the spine become darker and darker.
Soap.—Normally in soaps there is not a complete union of the caustic potash or soda (the alkalis) with the fatty acid and a certain amount of free alkali re-mains in the soap. If there is much free alkali, the soap is irritating to the skin. In good toilet soap the free alkali should not exceed one-fourth of one per cent. Floating soaps are made by incorporating air while the soap is being manufactured. The natural color of the best quality of toilet soap is creamy white, but whiteness in itself is no sign of superiority. Medicated soaps are of little or no value. Medicated soaps, cheap soaps and freak soaps should be avoided. The more extravagant the claims for extra virtues made for a soap the more skeptical the buyer should be. Resin is an undesirable element and if present can sometimes be detected by its odor or stickiness. The manufacturer should be chosen who has a long-established reputation to preserve rather than select a soap on account of its high price.
Face Powders. Used with discretion are an agreeable adjunct to the toilet. Three good formulas are the following: (1) Boric acid, 1 part, talcum 9 parts. (2) Boric acid 2 parts, starch 8 parts. (3) Boric acid 1 part, starch 4 parts, talcum 5 parts. Perfumed to suit).
Ointments and Creams have no value as so-called skin food. Their only value is to soften a dry skin. The occasional anointing of the face (even the naturally oily face) with a bland fat, like olive oil, cold cream, rose ointment or vaseline (which has the advantage of not becoming rancid) and its immediate removal by rubbing, is an excellent measure for thoroughly cleansing the skin and can be profitably indulged in occasionally with benefit to the appearance and preservation of the complexion. All excess should be wiped off. If the skin is naturally oily the wiping should be followed by a good washing with soap and water. Cold cream varies greatly in quality. Here as in soaps choose the name of a responsible producer.
In place of fats for cleansing and softening the skin there are fat-free creams or lotions which are less well known, but which furnish excellent substitutes. A good one is as follows:
Gum tragacanth 80 grains
This is a type of the hand lotion used in hospitals. There is no objection to its daily use. It cleanses and softens the skin, is not greasy and can be wiped off easily, with a soft towel. Its use, however, should not take the place of soap and water?
The presence of pus should be treated with vigorous washing with soap and water to wash out the infective organisms and prevent the smearing of them over the face. A good solution in presence of pus (pimples, acne, etc.) is hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. They are the two best antiseptics (germ destroyers) for use on the skin. Along with these a good wash is a saturated solution of boric acid in water (as much boric acid as the water will absorb). Boric acid finely powdered is also the best antiseptic powder for general use. If 10 per cent boric acid is added to vaseline the product is an excellent antiseptic ointment. Tincture of iodine is an efficient antiseptic? If it has become thickened by evaporation care should be taken to restore the alcohol.
Of wrinkles Bennett says muscles increase in size, strength and elasticity when properly exercised. In youth these muscles support the tissue and skin over-lying them, but as years advance if they are not exercised like any other muscles they will shrink. Then the skin, not being properly supported, falls into those creases we call wrinkles. For these deep wrinkles, sagging skin and sunken cheeks there can be but one cure—to increase the size of the supporting muscles and the circulation of the blood in the skin and connecting tissue. This is done by thoroughly massaging the neck with the palm of the hand from the center under the jaw towards the left ear and simultaneously towards the right ear until the skin becomes red and warm. This massaging is then transferred to the side of the face, commencing at the point of the chin and applying the friction with the palm upward over the cheek past the lower point of the eye and on over the ear. Follow by massage of the skin of the forehead by upward friction and the surrounding tissue and muscles of the eyes by gentler circular motion (not the eyeball).
A pair of deep wrinkles frequently run from each side of the nose down to a point near the ends of the lips. If the fingers are placed on each cheek bone and moved towards the top of the ear these wrinkles disappear. The proper massage to permanently eradicate them is to lay the index and second fingers close on each side of the nose and move them with considerable friction in a curved line towards the top of each ear, thus exactly reversing the downward sag. The fundamental idea under all these face and neck exercises is muscle and circulation development.
A second exercise for the neck muscles should follow. Lying prone on the side move the head as far back as possible, thus thoroughly stretching the muscles of the front of the neck but not to the point of fatigue. Then bring the head forward until the chin if possible is touching the chest. This will exercise all the muscles of the neck. Commencing with ten movements each morning they can be increased as the strength warrants to fifty. An additional exercise that is very valuable is to lie on the back with both hands in contact under the head. Raise the head against the resistance of the neck muscles and put the head back into position against the resistance of the arm muscles. Commence with not more than five movements and gradually and slowly increase to twenty-five.
To also develop the upper chest, back and neck muscles see exercise 7, page 189.
A valuable adjunct and preliminary to face massage is to apply a cloth wrung out of hot water to the skin for a minute or two and follow it with a cloth wrung out of water at a temperature of about 50° or 55°. The tonic effect to the skin is an important result.
The skin should. be washed with warm water and a bland soap, followed by cold water for its reaction, and that followed by a brisk rub with a coarse bath towel or a gentler rub with a skin brush?. The face should now show a good circulation, the skin tingling and the pores open for the discharge of the natural oil needed for a healthy skin texture. At night a good cold cream or fat-free lotion can be rubbed in and thoroughly wiped off with a soft cloth, leaving the skin clean.
The sallow skin is easily accounted for by the student who digests the facts presented in this book. It is in practically all cases, where disease is not present, caused by a long offending in unhygienic practices within the digestive tract. If it has a special cause, like jaundice, this disease is also caused by the deterioration of one of the great digestive organs, the liver.
Blood drawn from the abdomen of a pasting animal before entering the liver and also after it has gone through the liver shows that the blood before entering the liver is sugar free but upon emerging from the liver always contains sugar. As there is no duct for such transfer of liver sugar to the blood it has been found to soak through the thin walls of the blood vessels into the blood currents The liver stores sugar in the form of glycogen. Any disturbance of this sugar storage process in the liver leads to the presence of sugar in the urine. These disturbances may extend from the mere presence of sugar in the urine after a hearty meal when the absorbing power of the liver cannot keep pace with the sugar eating up to the dread disease diabetes.
Roger from a series of experiments reported that large doses of candy weaken the protective power of the liver and are the cause of so-called biliousness in many people.