Techically, a wrinkle is a looseness of the skin, caused by the failure or attenuation of the under structure. This definition, however, applies only to such of the lines in the human face as are formed in extreme age by the degeneration of the muscle as well as by impairment of the fatty tissue. It is a mistake to suppose that all wrinkles indicate old or advanced age. It is a fallacy to suggest that wrinkles and lines are not indications of temperament and character. We are each one accountable for the lines and crow’s-feet on our faces, for they are the most faithful and unerring record of our past.
The muscular contractions of the brow or cheek cause the lines, and it is fortunate that there are among them those that indicate good and beautiful attributes.
When you see a man or a woman with a wrinkled face, you may be very sure that every line is a telltale. The lines that indicate a sense of humor are easily enough recognized, even in early youth. They are never unpleasant. They are not the lines of a silly simpering girl, who, unless she mends her ways and ceases to giggle, will develop into a woman who is accompanied through life by an idiotic grin.
It is absolutely impossible for a woman of charity, benevolence, and humanity to look like an avaricious or spiteful woman. When you see a woman with a spiteful face, you may be certain her countenance but reflects her character.
The lines that indicate a love of gossip are very readily recognized. There is a certain droop to the mouth which a woman’s face will always take on just after she has asked if you have heard the latest about Mrs. So and So. It does not need any explanation from me to describe the lines that tell the story of an irritable, fretful nature. They are always drooping, just as mirthful, happy lines are upward curves.
The lines in the face that indicate revenge are also always drooping and malicious looking. In such cases, there is usually a line from the nose to the lower corner of the mouth, and several fine oblique lines upon the broad part of the nose.
A cynical face is marked by an upward sneering line at the mouth corners, and usually by the network of small lines which indicate a general contempt for persons and things.
The talker’s wrinkles commence in and near the lower cheek, and run down under the chin from side to side. The straight up and down lines furrowed in the brow denote sternness and sharpness.
Horizontal lines across the forehead are an indication of a conscientious struggle to do right.
Diagonal lines, crisscrossed in the middle of the brow, mean small frets and worries. After sixty, one should expect wrinkles. Up to that time they may properly be considered premature. I do not hesitate, to say, however, that the treatment necessary for their obliteration is largely a moral one. For example, I do not believe it possible by any external agency to eradicate malicious wrinkles until after the subject has reformed her ways, nor do I think revengeful lines will yield to massage.
In other words, it comes to this-that an ill-tempered woman cannot have the lines provoked by her lack of amiability taken away until she ceases to exercise the muscles that reflect her thoughts and have caused these lines.
A good woman cannot possibly look like a bad one, and a bad one, over thirty-five years of age, in my opinion has never looked like a saint.
The general treatment for wrinkles which have been induced by illness and care or anxiety, is great cleanliness, nutritious food, out-of-door exercise, and the internal cultivation of an equable temper and a happy spirit.
Whatever tends to promote the general health and to increase the deposit of fat in the skin tissues of the face, tends to obliterate lines and wrinkles, and to restore the firmness and beauty of the skin. Attention to the diet is of the utmost importance, and massage is of great benefit.
Properly administered, there is no agent so successful in obliterating lines and wrinkles, as massage. There have been a number of mechanical appliances invented and manufactured to take the place of manual massage. I advise the manual treatment whenever it is possible to secure it. Electricity is a great skin stimulant and therefore an important adjunct to massage.
Where the skin is dry and wrinkled as well, it requires a tissue builder. For this purpose the skin food is better than any other emollient I know of. The skin food should be applied during the massage. Formula as follows:
White wax . . . . . 1 ounce. Spermaceti . . . , . 1 ounce. Lanolin . . . . . . 2 ounces. Sweet almond oil . . . 4 ounces. Cocoanut oil . . . . 2 ounces. Benzoin (tincture) . . 3 drops. Orange flower water . . 2 ounces.
Melt the first five ingredients together, take off the fire, and beat until nearly cold, adding, little by little, the benzoin, and lastly the orange flower water.
A NEW CURE FOR WRINKLES
A so-called new method for obliterating wrinkles and furrows, which as usual turns out to be a revival and modification of an old one, is termed the bandeaux system.
As the name implies, the treatment is performed by the aid of bandages.
According to a famous French authority the marks of age noticeable in the shrinking of the fatty tissues under the chin and that are such a source of misery to each woman, as well as the creases in the brow and the droop of the mouth, may be indefinitely warded off if the subject will each night wear during her sleeping hours a set of bands especially devised for obliterating the ravages of time from the forehead and throat.
These bands resemble very much those that form the under part of the headdress of the Sisters of Mercy or Charity.
In Paris, where the new system is flourishing, they may be bought readily, and I have seen several sets that have been imported to this country, although I do not think they are yet for sale in America.
They are made of firm white linen and are about three and a half inches broad after they are folded several times and ready for adjusting.
A set of beauty bands consists of three strips each for chin and brow.
WARTS AND MOLES
These blemishes are sometimes merely pigmentary, sometimes both. pigmentary and hairy. They may be elevated above the skin, or level with it. Usually they are congenital, and are then known as naevi or birthmarks, but, in some circumstances, they develop in childhood or even later. The coloring matter which constitutes them is deposited in the deeper portion of the subcuticle, so that a scar usually results if they are removed either by the knife or by the actual cautery-hot iron. Ligature by means of a silk or silver thread tightly wound round the root of the excrescence is a method applicable to large pendent warts, which, thus treated, shrivel and drop off, when the base can be cauterized with a nitrate of silver stick. Common warts without a pedicle, may be removed by repeated applications of strong acetic acid, nitric acid, caustic potash, lunar caustic in pencil, tincture of chloride of iron and hydrochloric acid. In applying any of these remedies, care must be taken not to touch with them the surrounding skin, else a stain or scar may result. It is best to isolate the wart or mole before putting on the caustic, by spreading a thin layer of soft was or spermaceti over the adjacent surface. All the agents enumerated are liable, it must be borne in mind, to leave permanent marks behind them, and, in case of moles on the face, these marks may after all prove to be more disfiguring than the original blemish.
Children and young people who suffer from abnormally moist hands sometimes have multiple warts of various sizes on the fingers or hands. In the treatment of these the internal administration of arsenic and other medicines is often advisable, combined with the local application of a paste made of precipitated sulphur, glacial acetic acid, and glycerine in equal parts. This paste must be freshly made at the tine of using, and spread over the warts. But the best of all treatment of moles, warts, and other pigmentary or excrescent blemishes is electrolysis. The mode of operation is the same as that just described in the case of superfluous hairs, only that when applied to solid growths of skin more than one sitting is invariably necessary, and the duration of the galvanic action should be continued as long at a time as it is found bearable.
“Port wine” marks, which usually are amenable to no other treatment, may be removed in a similar manner, so also may naevi of other kinds, liver stains, obstinate freckles, and even local skin disease, when independent of general ill health. Affections of the cuticle characterized by thickening or infiltration are those which best lend themselves to the influence of the galvanic current. The powerful modification thus produced on the circulation, absorption, and nutrition of the tissue may even, Dr. de Watteville thinks (” Practical Introduction to Medical Electricity”), be brought to bear successfully on such forms of dermal affection as acne, eczema, neurotic baldness, chilblains, and herpes.
Electrolysis is especially valuable as a cure for cutaneous vascular formations, whether congenital or acquired. This kind of skin complaint is not uncommon, often ap pearing in mature life and in connection with acne or some other generalized affection of the kind. It consists of patches of dilated blood vessels situated in the subcutaneous tissues, irregular in shape, and varying in color from dark purple to bright pink. These patches may appear singly or in numbers on any part of the face or person, but they are most commonly seen on the nose or cheek. Their aspect is that of a fine network of distended veins, tortuous and serpentine in appearance, and more or less distinctly outlined. The affected part often burns and assumes a shiny look. Vascular marks of this character, whether recent or congenital, can be entirely eradicated by the galvanic battery, after all other known methods have been vainly tried. Moreover, the use of caustics, blisters, heated irons, and knives often causes suppuration, is always more or less painful, sometimes, indeed, violently so, and is liable, after cicatrization, to leave disfiguring scars. The pain caused by electrolysis is, as already stated, slight, and with some patients amounts merely to a disagreeable sensation; in every case it ceases immediately after the removal of the needle, and scarcely ever scars. Sometimes the cuticle which has been the seat of the naevus or of the mole assumes a thick, white, coagulate appearance, but this is not conspicuous, and is wholly unattended by contraction of the skin. The eradication of small and superficial formations, whether protuberances or vascular patches, by electrolysis, is never followed by permanent marks when the operation is ably performed. Considering, therefore, the manifest advantage of this method of cure, its rapidity, simplicity, safety, efficacy, and superior results, as well as the absence of all hemorrhage, and the insignificance of the pain caused by it, I think it the one to be advised.
A scar left by a wound or ulcer is generally more or less permanent, but usually it becomes much slighter by age, and in case of a young person by increased development of the surfacial muscles and perhaps even more by the deposit of fat in the cellular tissue. Massage is very efficacious if properly performed and I have certainly seen some scars removed by massage and the application of almond oil very slightly ioduretted.
Glycerinated lotions of bichloride of mercury are sometimes advantageously substituted for the oil. If the scar is not a very deep one it may almost be banished by gentle daily friction, no attempt should be made to treat the scar until the tone of the part is thoroughly reestablished, and friction should always be preceded by warm ablutions with bland soap and soft water.
The removal of smallpox marks, particularly of old ones, is disputed as a possibility by some authorities. Personally I have not yet seen pox marks absolutely removed; I have seen them greatly lightened. In the ordinary cases the continued use of a tepid, glycerinated, ioduretted lotion twice a day, or daily, gentle friction with warm oils, slightly ioduretted, will produce a manifest improvement and ultimately will at least in part remove them. The more active treatment should be pursued with great caution, and no one should attempt self-treatment.
This treatment consists of painting the surface of the skin by means of a soft camel’s-hair brush, with tincture of iodine (simple or compound). The ioduretted lotion being used daily as before during the interval. Or the scar may be wetted once a week or oftener, according to the effect produced, with acetic acid sufficiently strong to cause a superficial inflammation and subsequent peeling of the skin. Instead of acetic acid a solution of nitrate of silver is sometimes employed at intervals of twelve or fifteen days, but, owing to the temporary black- ening of the cuticle it produces, it can only be used when the subject can enjoy seclusion for a few days after each application. The skin will turn black on exposure to the light after the nitrate of silver has been applied, the blackened surface peels off in a few days leaving the skin under it of increased delicacy and of its natural color. This treatment is safe enough in skilled hands but it should not be attempted by amateurs. I want now to put myself on record in this matter of the indiscriminate use of strong acids by persons who know nothing about their chemical strength or action. No man or woman should apply nitric, acetic, chromic, sulphuric, salicylic, or any strong acid of kindred nature who has not an intelligent understanding of their action and reactionary effect. Scars and pittings are, it is claimed, also removed by electricity which is used in conjunction with lotions. I should not advise this heroic method until after manual massage with lotions had been given a very fair trial.