It is generally thought that the color and texture of the skin may be improved by external means. This is partially the truth, but is largely an error, since the complexion depends to a great degree on the health and temperament. We must look to hygiene rather than to cosmetics to supply the defects of color.
A complexion which is too highly colored, especially if the color is deep and extends over nearly the whole surface, is neither desirable from an aesthetic nor from a hygienic standpoint. It indicates plethora. It will be noticed that those persons who are afflicted with high color, whose eyes even are veined in red, are usually large eaters, lovers of ease, and averse to fatiguing exercises. In order to tone down their color, they should restrain the appetite, select less succulent food, and take less ease. Their health will be improved by the directions here given ; headaches, confusion of thought, dizziness, will disappear; from violent, the color will become merely brilliant, which is a very different thing, for a bright color is not objectionable if confined to the cheek, as it makes the rest of the face fairer by contrast.
When the complexion is muddy, wan, pasty, too white, greenish, yellow, or purple, it is always a sign of bad health. A muddy skin is sometimes natural, but frequently indicates dyspepsia, feeble circulation, etc.
A pale skin is usually due to a life spent within doors, lack of exercise, the habit or necessity of avoiding sunlight and daylight. A pasty skin is the result of a lymphatic temperament. An olive skin does not always indicate disease; it may have been inherited from some creole ancestor. A too white skin, without proper admixture of color, shows a person in serious ill health, although sometimes there are no other indi cations. A purplish complexion may come from some affection of the heart. A yellow skin requires especial attention. It is plain that care and precaution should be taken when the complexion is defective.
Hygiene is in many cases sufficient, and we shall try to trace the prominent outlines of this preventive treatment, at least so far as women are concerned.