William Lee Howard.

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have located themselves upon the scalp, they soon commence to show the
fact by giving you a muddy complexion. Sometimes you will be accused
of not thoroughly washing your face, so marked is the line around your
forehead and neck made by the attack of these germs. When the openings
of the glands begin to gape, the effect is not agreeable to you nor to
your friends.

The pimples commence to irritate you on account of the increase of the
oily substance, and soon you see that little creamy spot, then you
or a misguided friend will squeeze it out. Often before this harmful
procedure is gone through with, a formation of a little cocoon-like
body is formed and then you have blackheads. This is not all dirt as
is generally supposed, but a little cylinder filled with fatty stuff,
water and some dirt from the skin. If these blackheads keep coming and
if you go on squeezing them, if you insist upon covering the pimples
with powder or lotion, a real skin disease will be the result. This
skin disease we call acne, and it is a difficult and trying one to
cure. Never mind all those fetching advertisements in the papers which
claim to cure acne in a few applications. Don’t touch such harmful
stuff. All these advertised lotions simply COVER UP the symptoms of the
disease, drive it further into the skin, and when you finally have to
go to a reputable doctor, too much harm has been done for him to save
you from being marked for life. Never trifle with advertised cures, go
to a well-known doctor, or if you cannot afford to pay a specialist’s
price, seek one at the outdoor clinics. There you will receive the same
kind and careful treatment you would if you went to his office in an
automobile of your own.

What are we to do to keep from having all these disagreeable pimples
and their after-effects? Prevent them. You understand; not cure, but
prevention; for I want to put you all in a position to keep from having
any trouble which needs a CURE in the medical sense.

The first thing to do is to look out for your scalp as soon as you
recognize the approach of puberty and for ever after. I do not mean
that even a little girl should ever have her scalp neglected, but that
you must, as soon as your menstrual time comes, NEVER use any other
brush than your own and this must be a new one. No matter how old you
are, get a new brush every few months and guard it as you would your
jewels or your most precious gift. You should consider a brush for the
hair as sacred as the one for your teeth. You surely would not think
of brushing your teeth with any old toothbrush which happened to come
along; neither should you use any other hairbrush but your own.

And all this is such a simple matter, for whatever you do, wherever
you go, whether you attend school, work in an office or store, you can
easily carry with you your own hairbrush as you do your own toothbrush.
Of course the same rule applies to comb, soap and towel.

The habit some girls have of brushing and combing each other’s hair
is all very well if only your brush is used upon your hair, and only
upon your hair. As a rule girls take one brush and go over each other’s
scalps, thereby contaminating all the scalps; carrying oily matter
from head to head. The scalp of a blonde-haired girl is not kept in
good condition by the same quality or amount of secretions that a
brunette requires; a woman’s scalp that has been neglected will carry
to a young woman’s sensitive skin germs which will affect her scalp and
complexion, but would not probably affect a middle-aged person. So let
no person use your brush and allow no other person’s brush used upon

The habit of promiscuously kissing each other that some girls at this
age of puberty so often have, is a dangerous habit, because you may
have placed upon your lips some of the germs which cause pimples, and
then comes trouble again. Anyway, a girl is too young to be kissed and
not old enough to kiss――without danger to herself.

There are many, many more little things which cause a poor complexion
in the girl and grown woman. First of all is that curse of American
girls and women――constipation――the result of our false and injurious
prudery. I warned you we should have to refer to it again and again,
for it is a condition that enters into the cause of many women’s
illnesses, indispositions, tumors, open sores, headaches and other
avoidable troubles.

Allowing any of the cast-off material of the stomach and intestines
to remain in the lower bowel will most positively cause a muddy and
pimpled skin. The reason is plain. This material is dead stuff meant
to be cast off out of the body EVERY day. If it remains in the body
it putrefies, forms gases and acids, which are REabsorbed into your
system, taken up by the blood, which later on shows it in your face.
Just think of it! Would you like to go around with all the signs of
putrid matter being kept in your body? Of course not; yet you will
outwardly show these signs if you do not keep your lower bowels always

What is the best way to keep the bowels clean?

Regularity in your habits of toilet is, first of all, the most
important factor. Drinking plenty of water――you see I am at it
again――in the morning, is next in importance. Your breakfast food can
be so arranged that the bowels will empty themselves every morning if
the habit and water drinking have been carefully looked after. Fruit,
stewed or ripe, should be taken every morning. Little or no meat is
needed nor advisable for you in the morning. Cereals――real cereals, not
the sawdust and roasted bread crust stuff――are good for the morning
meal. Plain, old-fashioned oatmeal comes first, then hominy or similar

The idea that buckwheat or other breakfast cakes cause pimples is
all nonsense. The same is true about syrups, butter or sugar. If you
have flushed your stomach and intestines with water and fruit, you
may eat all the cakes and sugar you wish. Candy does not affect your
complexion, neither do cakes, pie, nor any sweets which ARE PURE AND

All our grandmothers’ scare and advice about eating candy and other
sweets is due to the fact that they DO harm in this way. Candy and
other sweets are too often eaten between meals or early in the morning
and thus cause a lack of appetite. With this loss of appetite, the
body cannot get its nourishing and bowel-cleansing food. It is the
loss of this nourishing food and the natural result of having nothing
in the intestines which will wash these food tracts out, that does all
the harm. It is living unnaturally to be in such a condition, and any
unnatural way of living will bring about unhealth, and this will be
shown by a poor and nasty-looking complexion, a hot skin and flabby

Young women and girls often need sugar in their system and at certain
times will crave it. Other girls will crave something sour――pickles,
forget that first you must have had a breakfast free from these
substances, have thoroughly emptied your bowels and had a good noon
meal. After these good meals you may eat candy, pickles, ice cream,
any old thing――IF THE MATERIALS ARE PURE. This is a very important
matter. Eat nothing that has been exposed to the dust of the streets or
any filthy place. We shall have something to say about “dope” drops and
candies in which are brandies, cocaine and other drugs.

The girl who goes out at noon and buys for her luncheon éclaires,
doughnuts, cream puffs and other pastry, and makes a meal of this
stuff, is positively going to have a pasty complexion, be constantly
constipated and unable to do her full amount of work――school, house or
office. If she has taken some good soup and eaten a little nourishing
food, THEN the pastry will not harm her; perhaps do her good.

I have said nothing about eggs or fish. I think most of you are glad of
it and know the reason. I have had thousands of girls and young women
under my charge and but few of them could eat either eggs or fish; and
to many, milk was positively repulsive. At certain times these kinds
of foods are nauseating to many girls and young women. Now and then a
young woman will take an egg or a few bites of fish, but all through
the active portion of her life she abhors a diet of such eatables. It
is a case of――

_Jack Spratt could eat no pie,
His wife could eat no fish;
So betwixt them both
Each had a separate dish._

Do not force yourself to eat anything that you do not enjoy. In good
health the body will know what it needs. If it needs sugar, it will
give you a craving for sugar; if you need beef, you will want it. The
cravings for sweets or sours only become unnatural when they are eaten
to the exclusion of nourishing food. If you have the HABIT of eating
sweets in the morning, you must break this habit. You got into the
habit because you gave in to a natural desire at an unnatural time.

If you are hungry before going to bed, then you will benefit by taking
some nourishing and easily-digested food. Eating at night will NOT
injure your complexion. It is eating indigestible food which ruins the
complexion, and before bedtime you are too apt to eat those foods which
lie all night in your stomach and ferment there. This is a sure and
quick way to bring on a muddy complexion and a red nose.

Never drink milk with beef, pork or ham. But I do not fear this tough
combination in girls or women, only it is best that you should know
that such a combination will remain all night in your stomach and let
you know it for a few days afterwards.

I know that the majority of girls and women who are out in the selfish
world, including schoolgirls, do not fully realize the great importance
of proper food eaten at the proper time, that is, the bearing it has
upon all their growing powers. If they did, we should not have all
these patent medicines for skin, womb, stomach, headaches, and all the
other doped stuff, which is ruining hundreds of thousands of those who
ought to be the mothers of the future generation. I say ought to be,
because unless you girls take hold at once and absorb these facts I
have been telling you, and shall tell you, many, yes, most of you, will
weep throughout a childless life.

What shall I apply to my face?

Nothing but water and pure soap.

Does not washing the face in water, hot or cold, bring on wrinkles?

No, never. Did you ever see wrinkles upon your canary bird? Don’t you
have a bath ready for her every morning? What made the Greek and Roman
maidens so beautiful in face, figure and complexion? Baths, bathing
their bodies and faces daily.

But they used facial ointments, powders and creams. No, not the pure
maidens or matrons; only the other kind.

If a woman, when young, was foolish or ignorant enough to use powder or
grease upon her face and kept it up, when she gets to be thirty-five
or so, she has to resort to enameling her face. If now she allowed her
face to be thoroughly washed by either cold or warm water, she would
have wrinkles, big, deep ones. She, of course, does not believe in
water on the face and will tell you so; she has her reason. And the
reason is this: For years she has been maltreating her skin by stopping
the natural oil from leaving the skin glands. As time went on she has
applied the necessary powder――necessary to her――then had to use some
form of facial cream, increasing the amount year by year. There has
been no opportunity for the skin to stretch or relax, to work out
its secretions, it remains almost immovable; consequently ridges and
furrows form, and a good wash brings out the wrinkles and also her

There is no harm in having the face massaged when you are tired, dusty
and your skin feels tightly stretched. But having it gently rubbed and
washed with cold water, then protected by a veil as you go out into the
fresh air, is an entirely different matter from having it rubbed by one
who fills in the open pores with a “facial cream” or some “beautifier.”
There is only one beautifier, and that is GOOD HEALTH. And once you
get it you do not have to apply it every day. It will stand the rain
and the sun, will defy heat and salt sprays, will be always by your
side wherever you go and not put you in the awful condition of a
well-known professional beauty I once knew.

This woman was traveling and became ill. I was sent for, but when I
arrived I was told by the maid that Madame could not see me at that
hour. Now the case was important; the woman was suffering and in
danger. Never mind, she simply COULD NOT see me for several hours. She
went into a delirium and was finally taken to a hospital for mental

Why wouldn’t she see me? Because her fine and notorious complexion had
been left behind, and as the suffering from her pain had caused her to
freely perspire, the perspiration had opened up all her wrinkles and

Unless the skin of the whole body is freely washed, the neglect will
show on the complexion. A bath every morning is the secret of many
bright and rosy cheeks. If you are so situated that you cannot get a
tub bath every morning, winter and summer, you certainly can get a big
sponge and have a sponge bath in your room. Let the water run down your
spine, especially down the small of your back. Give your face a good
dose of cold water. A shower on the face will keep wrinkles away until
late in life. Do not stop your bathing because you are unwell, only use
warm or tepid water. I know that many girls are told not to even put
their hands in cold water while menstruating. This is utter nonsense,
if the girl is otherwise in good health. These old ideas have done much
harm and kept girls from benefiting themselves by helping Nature in all
her growths.

Cold baths will keep your flesh firm and hard; will take off fat if
you are too fat, and put on flesh if you are too lean. Like everything
in nature, the improvement comes slowly, but it certainly comes. You
should commence the baths in the summer and keep them up so that when
the cold weather comes the change is not very noticeable. Of course all
this should be done in a warm room and you should have a warm rug to
stand upon. Be sure to take a good rub with a coarse towel.

This brings us to some simple form of exercise you can do at this time
which will help the bowels to empty themselves by toning the muscles of
the abdomen――the stomach, you call it.

These exercises consist in bending the body from your waist several
times, then swinging from side to side. You do this with your feet
close together and with straightened knees. Bend forwards and
downwards, touching the floor with the tips of your fingers without
bending the knees. Keep it up until you can do it without effort.
Then swing your body from side to side, twisting and turning from the
hips. Nothing will give you a more graceful figure than these forms of
movements. Keep up this exercise all through your active life, and with
all the other advice I have and shall give you, you can be attractive
even when the gray hairs have made their appearance.

It is not the purpose of these Chats to advise you in purely medical
matters, that is to tell you what to do in illness and what medicines
to take. The purpose of these talks is to put you in possession of
knowledge that will bring you to full womanhood, a strong, healthy
woman to whom marriage and children will be a state of happiness for
both husband and wife, or to a state of content, if you choose “single
blessedness.” But in the matter of constipation, I think it will do no
harm to tell you that, if you will take once a week a tablespoonful of
SODIUM PHOSPHATE, you will be benefited. This sodium phosphate should
be taken before breakfast in a full glass of water.

What about thin hair, split hairs, that dead-feeling hair?

If this condition is found in the young woman, it is ninety-nine times
out of a hundred her own fault, or due to her ignorance of what the
scalp and hair need.

It is because she has piled a lot of dead and often diseased hair on
top of her healthy and growing hair. Put a bunch of dead matter upon
live and growing matter and what is the result? Death, decay!

Most of the fashions in hair and dress originate in those whose lives
and age compel some artificial aid to attract attention. These foolish
and freakish fashions are not for the young woman to adopt. Take the
fashion of long trains, for example. The women of Paris seldom walk,
they go about in automobiles or carriages. Now, sitting in these open
conveyances it attracts attention to have a long folding train wrapped
around the sitting figure and pulled up at the ankles to show a dainty
slipper and silken hosiery. Don’t you see how ridiculous it is for a
good young woman who has to walk to her daily work or school, to try
to copy a fashion which is intended for an entirely different class of
women? Yet, when trains were the fashion, you all did it.

You are doing about the same foolish thing now with your head.
Head-gear――that is the best name for it――is intended for women whose
age has depleted them of much hair or whose lives have been such
that their hair has become dead through bleaching or other injurious
processes――these women must repair the damage. Wigs are too evident,
so these women buy the hair which once graced or disgraced some other
women, and pile it up in freakish forms and call it the latest fashion.
The American girl and young woman immediately follow “the fashion,” and
then you ask me what to do for thin hair and dead tresses!

Now, if you keep up this heathenish fashion of ruining your own
beautiful hair, many of you will not only have thin hair, but become
BALDHEADED. False hair, such as “puffs,” “rats,” frames, pads,
“transformations,” “pin curls” and “mouse-traps,” will do the trick for
you. Even the artificial means used to puff out the natural hair will
ultimately injure it――injure it beyond repair.

All the false hair with the appliances to keep it in shape, press on
the scalp and impede the circulation of the blood, and the part of the
scalp it should supply will wither and lose all life. The result of any
pressure on the blood vessels of the scalp is that the roots of the
hair become impoverished, and in time the hair gets so thin and weak
that it drops out.

Very little, if any, air can get to the scalp when you are “following
the fashion,” which is just now in vogue. Stop this injurious
and ridiculous wearing of false puffs, pads, and especially

I have seen schoolgirls and typists with enough rigging of false hair
and rusty wires upon their heads to give a strong man a constant
headache and make him bald in a month. Your hair also falls out rapidly
and constantly, but as you are blessed at the start with more luxuriant
and more active growth in the scalp, it takes longer for the injury to
show. But it is only a matter of time, not effect.

Then there is another matter which you do not fully realize――all good
and worthy men detest this ill-smelling and dead hair you pile upon
your heads. You lose all your fresh appearance, all the looks of a
maiden, all the proofs of innocence. Your complexion takes on the hue
of the dead hair, and when the fashion passes you can never get back
the shining, luxuriant tresses men so dearly admire. Men and youths
may not have told you these truths, but way down in their hearts they
will pick a girl for a wife or sweetheart who has not the smell of a
dead Chinaman, or whose hair has been the abiding place for an old
“mouse-trap” and left the mousy odors.

The best way to insure a good head of hair is to wear it loose and
free, without any artificial aids and appliances. Of course you may
dress it any way it pleases you, but aside from pins it should never
have any other pressure upon it.

The hair should be washed frequently in water with a little powdered
borax, but remember you wash the hair only to clean the scalp, nothing
should be applied to the hair directly.

There is another fashion which has made many a girl suffer from
headaches, thinned her hair and injured her complexion. This is the
wearing of tight collars, neck bands, and those torturing things with
points you wear stuck right up under the ears. I forget now what you
call them, and I won’t tell you what I call them, for it would not
sound nice to polite ears. But if you keep on wearing them a man will
be able to say almost anything without you being able to hear him; for
you will be deaf.

The reason these tight collars do so much injury is that they compress
the arteries and veins of the neck, which at this part of the body
are near the surface. They are large, full-blooded vessels and bring
the blood to and return it from brain and scalp. I have known girls
to faint simply from the compression due to tight collars or bands
around the neck. They will almost invariably cause headaches, and every
one of you know of the great relief you derive from taking them off
and putting on a loose wrap or dressing sack. I have known women to
suffer violent pains in the head, then dizziness and final collapse,
by preventing a free circulation through the brain. The same blood
vessels supply the skin, and when these are stopped from nourishing the
skin what do you get? A poor, pale and finally diseased skin, a starved



It seems that not anything worth while in this world is gained without
self-fighting and worry. The great things that are accomplished by
men and women are accomplished only through will power, determination
and concentration. Determination is different from will power in this
respect: one may be determined to do a thing but find that she has not
the nervous power to carry out the determination. In other words, the
nervous force is really the basis of all will power. So all the factors
which go to make for self-control and concentration upon whatever
you have decided upon doing, are dependent upon a good and perfectly
adjusted nervous system. Without a powerful nervous force we would be
nothing but eating and sleeping animals.

The men and women who do not know from any personal feeling that
there is a tremendous force in a trained nervous system are those
who do nothing for the world’s progress; they only eat, sleep and
automatically labor. Many who have plenty of nervous force but do
not know what it means, and hence cannot control it and use it for
the benefit of man and themselves, are those who throw it away in
dissipations, abnormal excitement and riotous living.

To have a highly-sensitive nervous organization is the greatest gift
a woman can have; but unless she early knows its value and how to
train it, it becomes a curse to her. It will run away with all her
impulses――good and bad――and finally separate her from her womanly

We hear a lot about “nervous women and girls;” and that the condition
is increasing, due to our rapid way of living and all the pressure of
trying to keep up the pace civilization has set. I have lived most of
my life among nervous women and girls, and have come to the conclusion
that the truth of the matter is, that instead of being due to our rapid
pace of living and working, it is really due to the fact that most
girls have never been taught to train and control their nervous forces.

These nervous girls and women are mostly those who are not
over-nervous, but simply never have developed a nervous force that
could keep pace with their physical and emotional activities. It is
for this reason that their impulses get the better of them, they
crave abnormal excitements, want to be on the go constantly, cannot
be contented with simple and honorable home duties and finally merge
into a condition where they have to seek the doctor or else go to a

Now just consider for a moment some simple facts. You are taught, early
in life, the necessity of exercising in order to develop and be able to
control your muscles. You are told to “learn to control your temper,”
but unless you are in perfect physical condition, with plenty of
reserve nervous force, which is really will force, to use when you need
it most, how are you to “control your temper”?

I have tried to tell you how necessary it is that all your organs
should be kept in perfect condition by knowing what they are, and what
they do and how to help them in doing the right thing. Your teachers

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Online LibraryWilliam Lee HowardConfidential Chats with Girls → online text (page 4 of 7)