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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 5

( Originally Published 1940 )

Baldness and Dandruff

There are many varieties of baldness, and there are many causes for each variety. In all cases of baldness or incipient baldness, whether or not accompanied by a disorder of the scalp such as an eczema or severe dandruff, the sensible thing to do is to consult a skin specialist. In most instances of baldness, there is usually no noticeable disorder of the skin, or at the most some dandruff. In most cases, also, there is no internal disorder that can be found to account for the ordinary type of male baldness. A hereditary or constitutional factor is usually responsible. As a rule, nothing can be done to cure this most prevalent variety. The patient must resign himself to baldness or a toupee.

Baldness has been attributed to dandruff, and it is true that in some cases cure of the dandruff has apparently halted the spreading baldness. This is probably due to the fact that both the dandruff and the baldness are due to an underlying unknown condition. If the dandruff is severe it is imperative to visit a skin specialist, since the dandruff itself may be a symptom of disease. Contrary to the "scientific" full-page announcements of Listerine, the cause of dandruff is not a germ by the name of Pityrosporum Ovale, and dandruff is not cured by Listerine.

Dandruff may be due to what usually looks like excessive dryness of the scalp. It may also occur with very oily scalps. Dry scalps should be shampooed about once a week and a lotion of one part of castor oil in three parts of pure alcohol may be rubbed in after the shampoo. The scalp should be massaged with the fingertips for five minutes every morning and evening, and brushed vigorously after the massage. Brushing is more important than massage. If the hair is oily, shampoo the hair with Tincture of Green Soap, U.S.P., about twice weekly. If the tincture irritates the scalp, a blander shampoo or a soapless shampoo should be used. A bland tar soap such as Almay's Tar Shampoo or Packer's Tar Shampoo may be very helpful for the control of mild cases of dandruff, especially those associated with oily scalps.

If the dandruff does not diminish with better shampoo habits, the following formula, which can be prepared by any pharmacist, may be tried:

Resorcinol, 2 drams (If hair is blond, resorcinol mono-acetate should be substituted to avoid discoloration, but even this may produce some darkening.)

Betanaphthol, 10 grains

Olive oil, 3 drams

Ethyl alcohol (70%), 8 ounces (Rubbing alcohol will do.)

Apply each morning and night for at least one month, thoroughly moistening the scalp and rubbing in with finger-tips. (Take care not to get the lotion in the eyes.) Do not be alarmed if a temporary increase in falling hair results. If the treatment proves too drying to the hair, or irritating to the scalp, add more olive oil to the lotion.

As already stated, there are many types and many causes of baldness, and a specialist should be consulted to make certain that the falling of the hair is not due to some disease. The following list is based on ratings made by CU in 1939.


Xervac (Crosley Radio Corp.). Operates on the theory that continued application of alternate vacuum and pressure will so stimulate the blood vessels of the scalp that new hair will grow. In a recent report, the American Medical Association states that this machine is "Not Acceptable," since the claims made for it have not been substantiated by experimental evidence.

Cel-O-Ray (Cel-O-Ray Institute). Infra-red headgear, operating on the theory that heat waves will cure baldness. Worthless.

The Thomas'. Grossly overpriced "system" with "scientific" pre-tensions. Worthless.

Ultrasol (Post Institute). Said to contain pituitary gland extract. Worthless.

Tarola (Paula). Cited by Federal Trade Commission for false advertising.

Harper Method Tonique (Martha Matilda Harper). Unjustified advertising claims.

Pro-Ker (Pro-Ker Laboratories). Cited by Federal Trade Commission for false advertising claims.

Japanese Oil (National Remedy Co.). Unjustified advertising claims.

Vitalis (Bristol Myers Co.). Cited by FTC for false advertising. Glover's Imperial Sareoptic Mange Medicine (H. Clay Glover Co.). Cited by FTC for false advertising.

Danderine. Dandruff-dissolving claims unwarranted.

Dander-Off. Contained arsenic.

Glover's Imperial Mange Medicine. Contained creosote. Herpicide. Contained carbolic and salicylic acids.

Kreml Hair Tonic (R. B. Semler). Mainly alcohol, oil and water.

Liquid Arvon (R. L. Watkins Co.). Contained arsenic, which was no doubt responsible for the many cases of dermatitis (skin inflammation) resulting from its use.

Wildroot Hair Tonic (Wildroot Co.). Contained arsenic. Listerine (Lambert Pharmacal Co.). Claims to cure dandruff unwarranted.

Fitch's (F. W. Fitch). Claims to cure dandruff unwarranted. Formula 37. Misleading and unwarranted claims.

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