The cleansing of the skin with warm water and soap and its invigoration by cold water are not the only requirements for maintaining the health of the skin. The skin must be looked upon as a living part of the human body, and as such, its health may be influenced by diseases of many of the other organs of the body.
Abuses of diet and improper digestion are probably most capable of injuring the skin, for two of the most common diseases of the skin (eczema and acne), are at least partly due to the above-mentioned causes. It therefore becomes very clear that in order to have a normal skin, it is necessary and indeed urgent to follow common-sense laws with regard to eating. There is no special diet for the preservation of its health, but a few general rules will prove of service. Eating between meals, or late at night is harmful. The indulgence in excessive amounts of sweets, starchy, fried or delicatessen foods may hurt the skin, but the partaking of small amounts of these articles of diet is not apt to harm the skin of the average person.
Various forms of indigestion, especially constipation, should be corrected. While the eating of fruits, especially stewed, also of figs and dates, and the drinking of large amounts of water are helpful, it is best in such cases to consult a physician, especially if the digestive disturbance is of long standing.
The improvement in general health which usually follows the taking of the proper amount of rest and of exercise, especially outdoors, is bound to leave its imprint upon the health of the skin.
It is very apparent from the above statements that the requisites for a healthy skin are not only its cleanliness and stimulation, but also the maintenance of the entire body in a state of good health. The smooth working of the “human ma-chine” will be ably assisted by proper eating, by normal digestion and by sufficient rest and exercise.
SPECIAL MEASURES FOR THE SKIN
Massage.Cosmetical preparations are not the only aids for the preservation of the health, beauty, and vigor of the skin. Other measures are employed, some of which are beneficial while others are of doubtful value. Among these are massage, steaming, and cupping.
Facial massage, because of its frequent and common use, will be considered first. Massage is sup-posed to tone up a relaxed skin and coax away wrinkles. It is believed that massage removes such deposits of fat on the face as double chin, and improves the texture in various ways. Massage with creams, followed by soap and water, is believed to preserve the attractiveness of the face. It is very doubtful whether massage alone really accomplishes a great deal of good. Weighing impartially all that massage is supposed to accomplish, one may honestly conclude that it is of value, as an accessory measure, assisting in the stimulation and improvement of the circulation of the skin. It is true that in certain types of bad complexion (sluggish, greasy skin or blackheads), massage is useful, but where pus collections are also present, massage should not be used, as there is danger of spreading the pus.
Varieties of Massage.The plastic massage of Jacquet is a violent form of massage and must be given by a physician.
The manual massage can be done at home in the evening before retiring. The thumb and one or two fingers are used, lightly pressing while gliding and rubbing. The normal folds of the skin should be followed when applying this form of massage. A treatment should last from five to ten minutes.
Vibratory massage can be accomplished by a special apparatus called a vibrator, operated either by hand or by electricity. If properly applied, this method should produce no pain. It must not be used for too long a period in any one treatment.
In all facial massage, the instruments and the hands of the operator must be previously cleansed. After a massage, always give the skin the required cosmetical care.
Steaming.Steaming cleanses the pores by in-creasing the perspiration. Following this treatment, the face should be protected by the application of cold cream or powder. This measure can be used once or twice a week.
Cupping.By many, cupping is thought to be capable of stimulating the circulation of the skin and preserving the youthful complexion.
The technic of cupping is as follows: the cups are boiled and the rims cleansed frequently, with alcohol, during the application. The suction is usually produced by a rubber bulb attached to the cup. The cup is moistened on its inner surface with alcohol, is lighted and applied to the skin. The skin is then sucked up in the cup in such a manner as not to cause pain. Each application should last from three to five minutes, and two to three minutes should elapse before the cup is re-applied to the same area. Cupping of the face and adjacent parts should consume one hour, and should be done daily.