Production Of A Youthful Appearance By Means Of The Ultra-violet Rays
( Originally Published 1923 )
IF we consider the faces of the young girls and women of ancient Egypt, painted on the sarcophagi which contain their bodies, the nicely bronzed color of the faces of these daughters of sunny Egypt is likely to make a favorable appeal to us. Indeed, at the present time there is a craze among the young ladies of several countries of northern Europe to expose their faces for hours to the direct action of the sun's rays in order to obtain such a color, and in Paris I have seen in the windows of the perfumery shops powders of a similar bronze color, intended for the artificial imitation of this facial appearance.
A bronze color of the face very often imparts a more youthful aspect, and indeed, it is at the same time an expression of excellent health, advertising this condition and from this fact alone producing a favorable impression on the observer.
But there exist also facts which prove that it is more than a popular belief that a sunburnt, bronze-like color is an evidence of good health, for it has been observed by quite a number of medical authorities that patients, e.g., tuberculous subjects, who are sent to countries rich in ultra violet rays these being the most effective owing to their bactericidal action show the best therapeutic results if they acquire a pigmentation of their faces from the effects of the sun's rays. Now such a pigmentation can be best and most rapidly acquired in the presence of sunlight rich in ultra-violet rays. That this is true is best proved by the fact that the quartz light, which is extraordinarily rich in such rays, can produce such pigmentation in the shortest time. It first produces a hyperemic condition of the skin, and afterwards there remains a pigmentation. I know quite a number of ladies who have used the quartz light merely to produce such a condition.
The pigmentation is best obtained when the skin has been gradually exposed to the sunlight. If the face is abruptly exposed for too long a time to sunlight rich in ultra-violet rays or to the quartz light, then after the hyperemic condition, its higher degree, an erythema, and even an actual inflamed condition of the skin may result. A few days later, however, the skin will scale off (desquamate) and a healthy new skin with fine complexion will appear. The same thing will hap-pen as in cases of erysipelas that have healed. Young girls previously distressed on account of their swollen and inflamed faces then see appearing by way of compensation a much finer skin and fresher complexion than they had ever had before ; indeed, they often look much younger.
Such treatment also gives excellent results in the case of various blemishes of the skin of the face such as pimples, redness of the face and especially the nose, exaggerated sebaceous secretion, etc.
Since at the same time, as the hyperemia shows, the skin is being better nourished with blood, sunken features are benefited by this treatment, and the cheeks, better supplied with blood, look fuller and rounder, such a condition frequently resulting as if arsenic had been taken for beautifying purposes.
Rejuvenation by the ultra-violet rays can thus be produced both by the internal and the external, i.e., cosmetic, action of these rays.
But their internal action also has marked cosmetic results. Acting like treatment through the thyroid and sex glands, or better, through stimulation of these glands, which govern the processes of general nutrition and organic combustion, the appetite is much increased, and through the consentaneous improvement of digestion and assimilation, the muscles become better developed and a full, round face and round limbs will result, constituting a picture of youth and health similar to that presented by the young girls and boys who had been admitted several months before as cachectic skeletons, with prematurely old faces, for sunlight treatment at the sanatoriums of the high mountain stations in Switzerland or on the Riviera.
As in the case of treatment with thyroid and and sex glands, the fat is better burned under the influence of the ultra-violet rays. Thus, we observe both after treatment by natural sunlight in regions with an abundance of ultra-violet rays, and after treatment by the quartz light, a considerable loss of weight, stout women and men becoming transformed into persons with a more youthful appearance. On the other hand, under such treatment thin, skinny bodies develop rounder forms.
After natural or artificial sun treatment (by the ultra-violet rays, which do not contain the enervating heat rays), the muscular agility likewise being greater, the patient enjoys a better appetite, and in consequence of the better feeding development of the muscles and an increase of weight take place.
I would like to recall here the fact that Steinach observed like results after the operation on his old rats, which, while quite lacking in appetite before the operation, developed a voracious appetite after It, with such effect that at their autopsy he found a striking development of the muscles and a marked increase of the fatty layers.
The favorable influence of these rays upon the osseous system may, in common with thyroid treatment, lead to a better growth of the bony skeleton. But it also exerts a favorable influence upon the condition of the teeth. A youthful appearance depends to a marked extent upon a good condition of these structures. The greatest cause of loss of the teeth is pyorrhea. Now I have found that by exposing the gums daily for a certain period to the quartz light or to the direct rays of a pure, intense sunshine, this condition can be very much improved or at least checked. A very efficacious treatment against this condition is also the application of fluids containing the emanations of radio-active substances.
Thus, not alone the ultra-violet rays, but also other kinds of rays are capable of yielding cosmetic results.
The condition of the hair can be improved not only with the ultra-violet rays but also with the Roentgen rays. These must, however, be used with extreme caution, only the very soft rays, which are less penetrating, being employed. In cases where the ultra-violet rays exert no effect, such rays may yield results. But great caution is then necessary, for not only might the hair that has fallen out never grow again, but even the hair that still remains might be destroyed, never to return.
The radiations from radio-active substances may also yield very good results for falling out of the hair and for the growth of new hair.
Under their influences, it has been found, the thickness of each individual hair becomes greater, and the hair gets stronger and longer, and generally grows better.
The rays cause a kind of inflammatory hyperemia of the root of the hair, thus producing better growth a fact demonstrated by Werner.
Thus we see that each of these three kinds of rays may give good results in the production of rejuvenation. Indeed, these rays, in respect to their more intimate constitution, are closely related as to wave length, though their powers of penetration present certain differences. After the luminous rays of the solar spectrum follow the ultra violet rays, which especially the extreme ultra violet rays have the shortest wave lengths, i.e., 0.02 y. The spectrum of the x-rays could be united to these extreme ultra-violet rays if by some means the wave length of the very soft x-rays (rays of lesser penetrating power, the wave length Shortening Habits of which is 0.0175 ,u) could be prolonged and a missing link thus discovered.
The ultra-violet rays have no great penetrating power, as is generally maintained. They are supposed not to get much farther than into the skin, but according to Rollier they are transformed after their penetration into the body into long rays, which are able to penetrate further. At any rate, these rays certainly exert a marked action in the interior of the body, as is shown by the pronounced effects they produce.
The radiations from radio-active substances possess the greatest power of penetration. Thus, the x-rays have such enormous penetrating power that they can pass through lead plates nine inches thick.
We have already mentioned the extraordinary number of vibrations of the ultra-violet rays. But these are far surpassed in frequency and rapidity by the x-rays and the radiations from radio-active substances. The particles of which these consist the electrons travelling at an incredible speed, carry out a veritable bombardment upon our body, and we are thus led to understand the marked effects they may produce.
The ultra-violet rays may produce only a reddening of the skin, but if they act from only a short distance for a certain period of time, a mild inflammation results.
In order to study the effects of these rays, I have subjected myself to a number of sittings, and upon exposing my head very close to the glowing column of mercury vapor in the quartz light for about ten to twelve minutes I experienced a burn of the scalp, followed by crust formation. After a few days, however, these crusts fell off and not the least scar remained.
As a rule burns from the ultra-violet rays cause no scarring, but the same certainly cannot be said of the after effects of the x-rays or radium and its derivatives, for these are capable of producing serious burns and inflammatory conditions even ulcerations of the skin, with subsequent formation of disfiguring scars, unless the greatest precautions are taken and treatment given only by specialists.
It seems, at least in the case of radium, that the skin of women, and especially of fair haired ones, is far more sensitive to these rays than that of others. At any rate, for cosmetic purposes, for producing a youthful appearance of the face and in general for the purposes of rejuvenation, I prefer the ultra-violet rays to the other rays.
Radium may likewise give good results, however, if it is employed not in substance, as pure radium or its salts, but in the form of a gaseous product or emanation, such as is contained in certain markedly radio-active mineral waters.