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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 6

( Originally Published 1940 )

Sunburn Preventives

Except for albinos and many redheads, most of us can acquire a tan. The sensible way to do it is to start with short exposures to sunlight and gradually increase their duration. This, however, is easier said than done, especially in the case of city dwellers whose opportunities for sun-bathing are usually limited to occasional week-ends and. who like to make the most of any chance to be outdoors. Preparations which have come on the market in the past few years as sunburn preventives are a boon to such people.

There are many creams and lotions on the market which should provide good protection for the average skin and prevent the sensitive skin from blistering. However, discretion in limiting first exposures to strong sunlight is absolutely essential, even when the most effective sunburn preventives on the market are being used.

The danger of a bad burn is greater around the water than elsewhere because of the reflection of ultra-violet rays from sand and water. Even beach umbrellas do not provide complete protection against such reflection. If you don't want to put on your clothing after the first fifteen minutes of your first visit to the beach, use a highly absorptive sunburn preventive and keep yourself covered with it. Notice the directions on the container; many preparations are water soluble and must be reapplied after each swim or after profuse perspiration. Don't let a murky or foggy day deceive you into abandoning your precautions. It is quite possible to get badly burned on such days, despite the apparent absence of sunshine.

Remember that the same preparations can give different results on different skins. The effectiveness of any preparation is influenced by the amount and kind of chemical filter used, the sensitivity of the individual skin, the length of exposure, the time of day, and the atmospheric conditions.

The best preparation for maximum protection, especially for those with exceedingly sensitive skins, is a Salol ointment. It can be prepared by a druggist by dissolving 10 grams of Salol in the least possible amount of liquid petrolatum and made up to 100 grams of ointment in anhydrous lanolin. But it is greasy and the odor may be objectionable.

A list of acceptable creams and lotions, based on tests made by CU in 1939, follows:


(In approximate order of merit)

Quinlan Sunburn Lotion (Kathleen Mary Quinlan, NYC). Daggett & Ramsdell Perfect Sun Lotion (Daggett & Ramsdell, NYC).

Xpose Sun Tan Cream (Walgreen Co., Chicago).

Ardena Sun-Proof Cream (Elizabeth Arden, NYC).

Ritztone Sun Oil (Charles of the Ritz, NYC).

Daggett & Ramsdell Perfect Sun Brown Oil (Daggett 8c Ramsdell). Herbal Sun-Oil (Frances Denney, Philadelphia).

Elmo Sunburn Cream (Elmo Sales Corp., Philadelphia). Dorothy Gray Beach Oil (Dorothy Gray Salons, NYC).

Harriet Hubbard Ayer Sun Cream (Harriet Hubbard Ayer, NYC).

Richard Hudnut Sun Tan Oil (Richard Hudnut, NYC).

Noil Liquid Sun Shade (Norwich Pharmacal Co., Norwich, N.Y.). Coty Sunburn Lotion (Coty, NYC).


(In approximate order of merit)

Noxzema Greaseless Suntan Cream (Noxzema Chemical Co., Baltimore).

Tussy Emulsified Sun-Tan Lotion (Lehn & Fink Products Corp., NYC).

Sunfoe Lotion (Schieffelin & Co., NYC).

Lentheric Huile Sun Oil (Lentheric, NYC).

Barbara Gould Sun Beauty Lotion (Barbara Gould, NYC).

CD Anti-Sun Lotion (Cooperative Distributors, NYC).

Dorothy Gray Sunburn Cream (Dorothy Gray Salons).

Jergens Sunburn Cream (Andrew Jergens Co., Cincinnati).

Gaby Greaseless Suntan Lotion (Gaby, Philadelphia).

Mulsitan (R. L. Watkins Co., NYC);

Noxzema Suntan Oil (Noxzema Chemical Co.).

Valaze Sunburn Oil (Helena Rubinstein, NYC).

Sunplexion Lotion, Lotion Soleil (Lentherie).


The following brands are "Not Acceptable" because they were found ineffective:

Conti Beach-Tan Oil (Conti, NYC).

Gypsy Tan (United Drug Co., Boston).

Barbara Gould Sun Beauty Oil (Barbara Gould).

Miami Tan Sun Oil (Hampden Sales Corp., NYC).

Norwich Sun Tan Oil (Norwich Pharmacal Co.).

Charles of the Ritz Sunburn Cream (Charles of the Ritz).

Helena Rubinstein Sun-Tonic (Helena Rubinstein).

Squibb Sun Tan Lotion (E. R. Squibb & Sons, NYC).

Skol (Skol Co., NYC).

Yin-A-Balm (Vivaudou, NYC).

Sunburn Treatment and Remedies

When redness appears, dust fine, unscented talcum powder on the affected parts every i to 3 hours. The powder will do little to alter the condition itself, but it will have a soothing effect, and in the milder stages of sunburn—for which this treatment is indicated—the skin changes are so transitory that relief of symptoms is the main purpose of treatment.

If the redness is accompanied by swelling or blisters apply wet dressings to the skin. These should consist of closely meshed material such as soft cotton or linen (not gauze) folded to make several layers and should be thoroughly wet in one of these solutions:

1. Boric Acid Solution: one teaspoon of boric acid dissolved in a tumbler of tap water.

2. Solution of Aluminum Acetate N.F. (Burow's Solution): diluted in 20 parts of cool tap water.

3. Potassium Permanganate Solution: a one-grain tablet of potassium permanganate dissolved in a quart of water.

4. Plain Water: boiled for 20 minutes and allowed to cool. To be used if none of the above is available.

Apply the wet dressing for several hours and keep it constantly wet.

Calamine Lotion N.F. or Calamine Emulsion N.F. is also useful in treating extensive areas.

When the inflammation has subsided and the skin continues to peel, it may be "smoothed" by massaging it with olive oil or mineral oil.

For severe sunburn over large areas and for cases in which general symptoms appear, consult a physician immediately. Severe and extensive sunburn, like any other burn, may have serious results.

Many of the advertised sunburn remedies are either potentially harmful, or useful only for certain stages of sunburn. For example, preparations containing so-called "local anesthetics" (i.e., chemicals designed to stop pain or itching by deadening the skin-nerves) such as Nupercaine, Butesin, Benzocaine, etc., sometimes cause severe reactions in allergic patients—reactions which a layman would often be unable to differentiate from a sunburn. In these instances the sufferers usually continue the medication, which, because of its anesthetic action, may cause temporary relief, but is nevertheless the actual cause of the persistance and severity of the "burn." There is also a possibility that the anesthetic agent itself may be absorbed through the skin and cause toxic effects.

"Cod-liver oil" ointments, while possibly useful for certain skin disorders, are of no value in the treatment of sunburn, Jellies containing tannic acid (Amertan, Metanic Jelly and Tannafax) are of value for severe burns in which skin is destroyed and there is danger of infection. Under those circumstances a physician must prescribe the treatment.

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