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Good Health and Bad Medicine:
 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 1

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 2

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 3

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 4

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 5

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 6

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 7

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 8

 Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 9

 Feminine Hygiene

 Read More Articles About: Good Health and Bad Medicine

Care Of The Skin And Its Disorders - Part 3

( Originally Published 1940 )

Hair Dyes

There is at present no known way to restore the natural color to hair which has become gray. Products advertised to do this are usually dyes which impart the same color to all hair, regardless of the original shade.

Unfortunately, none of the really effective hair dyes is completely safe, and the safe ones are not effective. If a hair dye must be used, the aniline ones described below are considered the most satisfactory, provided a skin test is per-formed before each application, to see whether the individual is sensitive to the dye to be applied. A skin test to determine sensitivity is usually performed in the better beauty shops. In some cities or states there is a law compelling the use of skin tests before application of aniline dyes.

The skin test is performed as follows: A small area of skin behind the ear is washed, painted with the dye to be tested (mixed exactly as for use) and allowed to dry without being touched. After 24 hours the spot is washed and examined. If the slightest inflammation or irritation has developed, the dye must not be used. If there is no inflammation, the dye may be used.

Several general types of hair, coloring are in common use. They are:

1. Metallic dyes (containing compounds of lead, silver, bismuth or other metals)—fairly effective for some shades, but not usually as satisfactory in color as the aniline dyes. But these metal salts are, in theory at least, potentially dangerous. However, little is known about the comparative danger of metallic hair dyes and aniline dyes.

2. Aniline dyes—effective, and harmful to comparatively few people. However, to those people sensitive to this type of dye, the consequences of use can be disastrous. A severe inflammation of the scalp may occur, resulting in loss of hair and permanent skin blemishes. Since sensitivity to a dye may develop even after it has been used for some time without noticeable harmful results, it is essential to have a skin test made before each application. Never use the dye while there is any cut or eruption on the scalp.

3. Vegetable dyes, with the exception of pyrogallol (pyrogallic acid)—generally safe. However, they are in general much less effective and less permanent than aniline or metallic dyes. Henna is the only vegetable dye which has achieved great popularity, and it is able to produce only auburn shades. Many of the hair "tints" on the market are made with vegetable base, but their effectiveness is limited by their lack of covering ability, and they wash out with water.

4. Bleaches—able to remove color from the hair, thus producing various blond shades. The continued use of bleaches, of which the most widely used is hydrogen peroxide, may make the hair dry and brittle. The ordinary 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide which is sold in drug stores is the best available for home bleaching. The beauty parlors usually use a 5% solution because it acts more rapidly.

To obtain more uniform bleaching action, peroxide is often mixed with magnesium carbonate, an inert powder, to form a paste—the so-called "white henna." It may give better results than liquid peroxide, and is probably equally harm-less.

Powder-type bleaches often contain sodium perborate, which is alkaline and harmful to the hair.


The following amine-type dyes (tested by CU in 1938) may be used without harm by most people. But they are "Acceptable" only if a preliminary skin test is made before each use, and if the person tested is found not to be sensitive.

Eau Sublime (The Guilmard Co., NYC).

Inecto (Sales Affiliates, Inc., NYC).

Instant Clairol (Clairol, Inc., NYC).

Paragon Hair Coloring (Paragon Distributing Corp., NYC).

Rap-I-Doi (Rap-I-Dol Distributing Corp., NYC).

Simplex (Dr. W. G. Korony, Louisville, Ky.).

Eternol Tint Oil Shampoo (Paragon Corp.).

Loxol Oil Shampoo Tint (Sales Affiliates, Inc.).

Henna dyes which produce reddish tints only, are harmless to most people. But they are often adulterated with copper or other metallic salts, possibly harmful. The following were pure powdered henna:

Henna San (Lehn 8c Fink, NYC). Egyptian Henna (V. Vivadou, NYC).

The following dye was reported by the American Medical Association to be essentially harmless, but of only temporary effect:

Progressive Clairol. Note that Instant Clairol listed above is of different composition, and may be harmful to some people.


Dyes containing metallic salts, or pyrogallol, or any dye of unknown composition.

The following dyes contained lead:

Barbo Compound
Coffelt's Hair Coloring
Hay's Hair Health
Hess Hair Milk
La Creole Hair Dressing
Lea's Hair Preparation
O'Dell's Hair Color Restorer
Parker's Hair Balsam
Q-Ban Hair Color Restorer
Van's Mexican Hair Restoro
Westphal's Hair Renewer Aid
Wyeth's Sage and Sulphur Compound

The following dyes contained silver:

Buckingham's Dye for Whiskers
Mary T. Goldman's Gray Hair Color Restorer
Canute Water
Hill's Hair and Whisker Dye
Mary T. Goldman's Quick
La Creole Hair Color Restorer
Hair Color
Royal Hair Restorer

The following dyes contained pyrogallol:

B. Paul's Henna
C. Damschinsky's Liquid
B. Paul's Liquid Mixture
Hair Dye
Wallutta Hair Stain
Grayban Mrs. Potter's Walnut Tint Hair

Hair Bleaches


Hydrogen Peroxide. Ordinary 3% solution will do; a small amount of ammonia improves the action.

Marchand's Golden Hair Wash (Charles Marchand Co., NYC). Essentially a 5% peroxide solution.

"White Henna."


Lechler's 569 Instantaneous Hair Lightener (Lechler Laboratories). Manufacturer was ordered to cease representing that this peroxide bleach (s) does not contain peroxide; (2) is superior to peroxide; (3) is harmless and beneficial.

Sodium Perborate. Powder-type bleaches are apt to consist of sodium perborate.

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