The Good Old Days

Acne: the common variety

Acne: the common variety 

Apart from its significance as a symptom of a generally unhealthy physical condition, common acne is a distressing complaint by reason of its disfiguring effect on the skin and complexion.

The word acne, which is thought to be a simple variation of acme, a point, appears to have reference to the sharp-pointed papules or pimples known as acne vulgaris or common acne.

Common acne usually begins at the age of puberty or shortly thereafter because at this time there is a great increase in the activity of various glands about the body. Sebum is the name given to the secretion of this glands and an excessive flow of sebum constitutes seborrhoea.

A general state of ill health will increase the likelihood of inflammation occurring round blackheads, and apparently so do anaemia, indigestion, constipation and lack of exercise in open air. The diet should be plain, starchy foods and sugar in any form being restricted, and very greasy food and pastries being avoided. Alcoholic beverages should not be taken.

Common acne usually affects the face, the front of the chest and the back. The first thing to remember about the local treatment is to get rid of all blackheads.

Each day the face should be washed with hot water and soap which forms a good lather, and the washing must be thorough. Thereafter an attempt must be made to press out as many blackheads as possible. This may be done by the pressure of the fingernails through a fine silk handkerchief, or what is known as a comedo extractor may be obtained from a chemist.

On squeezing these the accumulated secretion is removed as like a little maggot-like body.

A sulphur soap should be used fairly frequently and a lotion with sulphur, camphor and rose and lime water should be painted on with a clean brush or cotton wool.

From The Concise Home Doctor Encyclopedia of Good Health published in 1930 by The Amalgamated Press Ltd of London.

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