Blackheads. He's talking about blackheads.
Comedones! I think I can see before me even now the puzzled looks of numbers of my fair young readers as they read the title of this little article. Comedones! What is it? OR what are they? Or whatever do they do? Had it been by anyone else but by Medicus you might fancy it was the name of some nice little tale, but being by Medicus, "of course," you will say, "it must be something nasty and physic.'"
Well, not to keep you any longer in suspense, the word "comedones" is the technical name of a little ailment concerning which some of you are always consulting me. It is an affection of the skin, principally of the face, which girls call "those nasty little tick things," or "small black specks."
"Well, you ask me," "and what are they? What will cure them? Answer me quick."
"No, I reply; "I refuse to be hurried, but you shall have answer all the same. Listen."
You have all heard of the pores of the skin. They, as you know, secret perspiration. But there are also in the skin numerous tiny outlets from glands, h secrete an oily lubricating substance, which keeps the skin pliant and soft. Like every other gland and organ in the body, these little bodies are subject to many different derangements, of which I shall not speak at present. Suffice it to say that one of them gives rise to the affection called comedones (from comedo, to eat up, or devour). It is simply a hardening or drying up of the contents of the tubes of the glands. These latter are unable to force out the secretion, and so it distends the skin, and can be squeezed out.
"Why has it a black head?" you inquire. The black point is merely caused by the smoke or dust of the atmosphere. Sometimes it gives rise to pimples. The affection is most common among girls who live in towns, who do not take sufficient exercise to render the circulation in the skin duly active, or among girls who suffer from nervousness.
If the unpleasant-looking things are left long in and undisturbed, they get as hard as horns, and when they are finally squeezed out they leave a little pit. I have known cases in which, from no other treatment having been adopted except that of simply pressing them out with the fingers or nails, the skin of the face came to assume quite a pitted surface all over.
As I have already told you that these disfiguring specks are caused by an inactive state of the skin, you will readily perceive, then, that removing this state is the proper way to get rid of them. The morning soap bath to the whole body will greatly aid the cure, and plenty of friction should be used. Then to the face soap should be applied and well rubbed in twice or thrice a day, morning and night at all events; then, after drying it, rub well with a rough towel. Do not be afraid of spoiling your complexion. You will do quite the reverse - you will improve it, although there may be redness of the skin for a little time.
After this thorough washing and rubbing of the face, you may apply a little Eau de Cologne, with just one grain of corrosive sublimate to the ounce. As corrosive sublimate is a deadly poison, this lotion must be compounded by a chemist. Exercise must be taken in the open air, and plain, wholesome, non-stimulating food.