Astringents - The Removal of Permanent Freckles
Frickles have been called sun-kisses, but they are, more correctly, small spots of the pigment or colouring matter of the skin, which rise as though to protest against this action of the sun upon the skin.
The fact that the skin on the face will freckle more readily than the skin on the hands is due to the former being the finer and more sensitive. It is perhaps not much consolation to the woman whose complexion soon freckles to know that this is because her skin is fine, but this is so, and a skin that soon freckles is seldom the skin troubled with the more unsightly "blackheads." Fair complexions freckle sooner than do dark ones.
It is not an encouraging fact that, although freckles seem to disappear in the winter, this is not really the case. What has happened is that the skin, in its natural effort to resist the cold, has thickened, and so somewhat hidden the discoloration just beneath.
There are two kinds of freckles, or, more correctly, two causes of freckles. "Summer" freckles, caused by the action of the sun's rays, can be banished if taken in hand at once, or so modified as to be almost invisible; "cold" freckles, caused by liver or some internal derangement, once marked on the skin, can only be removed by caustics. But these also can be modified, in many instances, by good treatment.
Nothing ages a woman's fine skin and withers a delicate complexion so much as residence under a tropical sun. But Orientals keep their skin supple, firm, and in that healthy condition which will defy the scorch-in by a plentiful use of oil after (or instead of) cleansing operations with soap and iter. It is upon this plan an Englishwoman must work to keep her skin free from the sun blemishes of redness, tan, and freckles. She must favour shady hats, sunshades, and veilings of green and blue.
Though a green veil is not becoming, a dark blue sunshade and veil are more bearable, whilst a white veil is better than none.
Always smear, the face with a good cream before going out. Some women, not afraid of superfluous hairs, use with great benefit olive or linseed oil, but the average Englishwoman prefers a fine emollient of vegetable extraction.
When coming home hot and tired never subject the skin to the irritating influence of soap and water, for what is wanted is not a further deprivation, but a restoration of the moisture stolen by the heat. Dust may be removed by an application of milk if washing seems necessary, and cucumber freshly cut is soothing. Such measures as these prevent and remove tan and sunburn, they also help in the avoidance of freckles.
Powder of some sort is a necessity, and the most scrupulous can find no fault with a cream-tinted rice-powder for use after a slight application of a cream before facing the sun. Better still, because remedial, is a finely powdered starch powder, its whiteness toned down with powdered fullers'-earth.
But certain complexions, those with the slightest tint of red, even though it be only the red-brown of a brunette, need more than protection. As these complexions freckle easily, they need assistance in the form of some astringent which will render the skin firm before its enemy. To this class of remedy belong recipes containing lemon-juice, benzoin, eau-de-cologne, borax, glycerine, alum, and toilet vinegars. These must be used - and this applies particularly to the alum and the vinegars - at a time when soap is not being applied, or the fat of the soap will be curdled and an irritant set up on the skin.
As a general rule, the class of complexion under consideration is better without soap, and for these the refreshing and soothing power of milk, cream, strawberry juice, cucumber juice, and a slice of melon are noted, whilst Lait Virginal, for which a recipe was given on page 711, Vol. I., a slice of a freshly cut lemon and a simple astringent for occasional use, made by dissolving an ounce of alum in a pint of elder-flower water, are recommended as cheap, mild, and harmless remedies for slight freckles and preventives of summer freckles. More elaborate recipes are here given, the choice being left to the user, who must study the special idiosyncrasies of her own sensitive complexion, since the mildest of freckle cures is more or less of an irritant.
Here are two old-fashioned ones that have stood the test of time :
Two tablespoonfuls of lemon-juice.
Two tablespoonfuls of elder-flower water or rose-water.
A heaping teaspoonful of powdered borax.
Mix and leave for a while to dissolve.
Apply several times a day by dabbing on with a soft towel or sponge. Leave on the skin for fifteen or twenty minutes, and then use an emollient cream :
Two parts lemon-juice. One part Jamaica rum.
Apply in the same way.
If eau-de-cologne is substituted for the rum, and the resulting mixture diluted at discretion with elder-flower, we have another simple recipe used by our grandmothers, whilst one for the removal of tan is :
A pint of elder-flower water.
Two ounces of lemon or strawberry juice.
Half an ounce of eau-de-cologne.
Another popular and reliable freckle cure is the following :
One ounce of lemon-juice.
One quarter drachm of powdered borax.
Half a drachm of sugar.
Put in a well-corked bottle and leave for three days. Apply occasionally.
Many freckle lotions on the market have a basis of rectified spirit and distilled water in equal parts. This is given some chosen characteristic by means of a perfume. The woman who makes up her own recipes relies a good deal upon essence of bergamot, an essential oil with which she gives a dainty touch to creams and lotions, but, of course, there is a wide choice.
A Useful Lotion
Oil of cloves ......
Oil of neroli ......
Oil of Portugal Oil of bergamot Oil of lavender
1/2 grn. 1/2 drm. 2 drms.
2 „ 4 „
Mix, and set aside for a week, then filter through magnesia.
This recipe is given as a typical one.
The Cure of Freckles The recognised cures for freckles which are found to be permanent are drastic. By them the outer skin is removed, but, of course, a subjection of the new skin to the old conditions results in the creation of fresh freckles. Modifications of these cures are bleaches, and the writer saw a cure effected by the nightly application of peroxide of hydrogen applied with a camel-hair brush. These, by outward application, lessen the dark tint of the stain, and render it less noticeable, or it may be in time removes it altogether. To this class belongs the freckle cure of Dr. Erasmus Wilson, who advised the use nightly of :
Elder-flower water Sulphate of zinc
Leave on the skin in a thin coating, and after washing in the morning apply a little of this lotion :
Infusion of roses
Citric acid ......
1/2 pint. 20 grains
It is best to apply sparingly, and remove after a time -by the application of a cold cream.
Dr. Anna Kingsford's remedy for freckles of a permanent character is :
Hydrarg. chlor. corrosivi. Ammonii chloridi purificati.
Mist, amygdalae amar.....
Misce et fiat lotio.
gr. v. 1/2 drm. 4 oz.
As this is a poisonous preparation readers are cautioned to keep it under lock and key.
This lotion is to be applied twice daily, and its action assisted by an aperient "liver" pill, preferably of podophyllum
If the action of this lotion be irritating - as it probably will be - she advises for after use the following ointment, which any chemist will make up :
Bismuthi sub-nitratis Unguenti hydrarg. ammon..
Unguenti aquas rosae ad.....
Misce et fiat ungentium.
1 ,, 1 oz.
The above recipe and another drastic one by Unna is given to show the rationale of treating freckles which are permanent blemishes of the skin, and only to be removed by removing the skin itself :
Oxide of zinc......
Oxychlorate of bismuth . . Sublimate........
10 grammes, 10