Old spot remedies? :D

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Old spot remedies? :D

Postby lidimy » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:22 pm

Yep, was just wondering what would have been used back in the day to get rid of the worst of the spots and greasy skin etc :D

Lidi :)


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Postby Chris, yclept John Barber » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:24 pm

Cover them with hessian!


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Postby lidimy » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:31 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:


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Postby sally » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:37 pm

Well, mint features in a fair few recipes for lessening the effect of smallpox scabs, salt too. Some of the remedies are a bit noxious by todays standards though



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Postby lidimy » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:49 pm

Hmm, was thinking more along the adolescent spot lines :D


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Postby sally » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:09 pm

Not something you see stacks of references to in early texts, I'm sure I've seen one or two for 'pimples' though. What tends to happen is that all sorts of skin complaints get lumped together under general prescriptions for morphew or chapped skin or they just say 'to make the skin fair' which could cover all sorts of needs. So you see a fair few remedies that are based on may butter for example, which probably implies a moisturiser was needed, or the more fancifully phrased ones about washing in dew or whathaveyou. Next time I'm in my box of source material I'll have a rummage for you, havent got it to hand right now but if you have my book kicking about I think one or two made it into there in some shape or form. (sorry, memory not working well today :oops: )



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Postby lidimy » Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:12 pm

Thanks for that. I have to say that applying butter sounds like the worst thing I could think of doing with spots though!

Honestly, didn't they know about excess sebum :roll:

Lidi :D


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Postby Malvoisin » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:07 pm

"back in the day" I'm geussing there was no "cure" so you'd have to cover them up instead. ... i.e make up!
Here's a few suggestions as what to use:
Samuel Pepys' wife tried the urine of puppies,

I like the sound of that one :lol:
A pale complexion was achieved by making a cream from powdered white chalk or white lead, mixed with white of egg and vinegar.

You'll look nice and spot less, but the lead will eventually make you insane and kill you. :shock: DON'T TRY IT!! :wink:
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Postby sally » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:15 pm

Crocodile dung is a Roman one that probably did actually work! When I was researching for 'Artifice' I had a very long conversation with some crocodile experts as to exactly what was going on with that :lol: Interestingly, you get starling dung mentioned in Trotula (I think) and the Geishas still use 'nightingale' (its a starling again actually) dung in the same way, so its just possible its also around in other periods. Its all to do with the way the animals own antibacterial/ immune system stuff survives in the renal matter in the dung, would have exfoliated, bleached, brought blood to the surface of the skin and killed off bacteria all in one go.

Puppy water (either urine or made by distilling puppies- there are several references to this, also to raven water) probably didnt work though



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Re: Old spot remedies? :D

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:51 pm

lidimy wrote:Yep, was just wondering what would have been used back in the day to get rid of the worst of the spots and greasy skin etc :D

These are from my translation of a 16th century Spanish book of remedies & recipes:
    Oil to keep the face fresh
    Put in a glass vessel an azumbre of hot water and a pound of myrrh. Cover the vessel well with borax paste. And put this vessel under some dung and leave it for forty days. And when the forty days are past take the hot water and myrrh out of the vessel, and put it all together in a glass still. And close the still, cover it very well with the same as the same vessel, and put it in a put it in a cooking-pan that is full of cold ashes. Put this cooking-pan next to a cooker and give it a low fire from underneath until the first water is dry, which you will know when you see it start to make a tube. And when you see this, put it in a receptacle where you can collect this second water, which will have be golden. And when it starts to drip thickly, take out that receptacle and put another in which you will collect the last water; and you will always keep the fire strong as the water is leaving. And as you have gotten out all of your water, cover your vials. And with that last water you will apply one time for ever. And don't wash until three days have passed, and with the other second you will apply whenever you desire.

    To remove freckles from the face
    Take a fresh egg and remove the white. Clean the yolk well and the shell too; put the yolk in the eggshell. And make a powder of myrrh and tincal, and clarimente and rock sugar, as much of one as the other. And take the egg and bring it to a candle. And when you know it has begun to become warm, put in it the powders as much as will fit in a white, and mix it with your finger. And put it on your face at night, and in the morning wash your face in the normal way.

    Powders to remove color
    The powders to remove color on the face are powders of the sea and they are called caustic soda.

    For spots on the face
    Mustard and ground arugula, white honey and cow's bile: everything together and well mixed. And add in uncleaned wool and mix everything together well. Dry this wool in the sun in its bladders until it's been cured well. And the woman who had spots on the face, put these wools to re-soak in water for the face, and leave them to re-soak for an hour or two. And then put them on the face at night or during the day as desired. Remove the spot.

    Medicine to remove the spots from the face
    Take a pound of alacrín flowers, and two eighths and a half of cinnamon, and others as much as nutmeg, and the same of mace, and of cloves, and storax and courbaril: of each of these things a half ounce. Make all these things into powders and bring them together with the alacrín flowers. Put it together in a glass flask, and bury the flask under beast dung and leave the neck out. It will be buried this way for a month. And when a month has passed, remove the flask from the dung. And remove the flower and the rest of the oil in the manner in which you have removed the other oils. And if you desire to make alacrín-flower oil alone, you will do it in this manner, except you will not add the spices and the rest to what you make.



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Re: Old spot remedies? :D

Postby sally » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:28 pm

Karen Larsdatter wrote:
Powders to remove color
The powders to remove color on the face are powders of the sea and they are called caustic soda.


I don't read Spanish- would you point me at the bit in the original that has the Caustic Soda reference please? I hadnt seen that one before :D



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Postby Dave B » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:21 pm

I suppose Witchhazel wasn't about then? I'm sure I've heard natural remedy types say that it has been used for milenia for the skin, but they could be talking about in china as I think it natuarally grows in china, japan and N.America. however I suppose that Ironwood could have been available from the middle east and isn't that the same plant?

possibly a bit off topic, just a thought.


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Re: Old spot remedies? :D

Postby Karen Larsdatter » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:28 pm

sally wrote:I don't read Spanish- would you point me at the bit in the original that has the Caustic Soda reference please? I hadnt seen that one before :D

My translation skills aren't at super-awesome levels of accuracy. :lol: But here it is from the original Spanish:
    Polvos para sacar color
    Los polvos para sacar color al rostro son polvos de la mar y llámanse sosa.
I'm not sure why exactly I translated sosa as "caustic soda" (I'm looking it up in a dictionary here at the office); it can mean that, or it can mean just "soda" (perhaps baking soda, sodium bicarbonate), or glasswort (which happens to grow by the sea), or it can mean soda ash (washing soda, sodium carbonate). Probably ought to just fix the translation to remove the word "caustic," since in that context, it seems to just refer to soda in general, rather than caustic soda specificially.

This is why I have a disclaimer section on that translation ... there's a lot of "really, DO NOT try this at home" sorts of remedies (eggs stewed in cat's fat as an asthma remedy, for example), and it's not like my translations are 100% reliable, anyway. :shock: But I'll try to fix that one soon.



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Re: Old spot remedies? :D

Postby sally » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:45 pm

Karen Larsdatter wrote:
sally wrote:I don't read Spanish- would you point me at the bit in the original that has the Caustic Soda reference please? I hadnt seen that one before :D

My translation skills aren't at super-awesome levels of accuracy. :lol: But here it is from the original Spanish:
    Polvos para sacar color
    Los polvos para sacar color al rostro son polvos de la mar y llámanse sosa.
I'm not sure why exactly I translated sosa as "caustic soda" (I'm looking it up in a dictionary here at the office); it can mean that, or it can mean just "soda" (perhaps baking soda, sodium bicarbonate), or glasswort (which happens to grow by the sea), or it can mean soda ash (washing soda, sodium carbonate). Probably ought to just fix the translation to remove the word "caustic," since in that context, it seems to just refer to soda in general, rather than caustic soda specificially.

This is why I have a disclaimer section on that translation ... there's a lot of "really, DO NOT try this at home" sorts of remedies (eggs stewed in cat's fat as an asthma remedy, for example), and it's not like my translations are 100% reliable, anyway. :shock: But I'll try to fix that one soon.


My gut feeling is that caustic soda isnt right, the 'invention' of the process for synthesising caustic soda from seawater is pretty well documented. I would think perhaps that just 'soda' is definatley safer and more indicative of the breadth of possible translations. I've had this recently looking at some medieval Islamic soap recipoes, they specify 'soda' and there is no way to tell whether they mean a mined native soda like natron, or a manufactured soda ash > lye.

Thats the good thing about discussing these things on line, I don't think any of us would ever pretend to arrive straight away at the perfect interpretation, sometimes needs a bit of cross questioning to pick out he unclear bits though :)



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Postby Theotherone » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:47 pm

Must admit I've never heared of May butter :oops: but I do remember reading something somewhere in some fashion mag or other. That skin can become oily/greasy if it isn't moisturised enough or is treated with to many astringents. Baisically the body decides that as the skins oils aren't enough to stop it drying out it had better produce some more. So you get rid of the "shine" and the skin thinks - still not enough and ups production, etc etc.

My mam used to advocate urine as being good for the skin (I always thought she was winding me up) Also steaming over a bowl of water and egg whites used as a face pack. Oh and we only used soap directly on the face in extremis.


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Postby gregory23b » Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:53 am

Soap and water will get rid of the greasy skin.

Lid, I can recommend Sally's hard castille soap, excellent all round cleanser, shaving and hair washing too.

Sally please pm your address again


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Postby Type16 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:02 pm

Just a thought re Soda...............

I would suggest that marine soda may not be what is meant. I would go for the mined Permian Evaporites (me being a smart *rse :lol: ) as mentioned, but perhaps & more probably if the ref is Spanish, evaporites from dried up salt lakes..........that they have. Or perhaps import of some Dead Sea stuff. These would of course be beneficially impure, with Bromine, Iodine, Potassium, Boron etc.


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Postby lidimy » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:43 pm

Soap and water will get rid of the greasy skin.


If only it was that simple!

Thank you all, those concoctions look... interesting :shock: Perhaps I should just stick with Nivea! :D
egg whites used as a face pack


Is that whisked or unwhisked?

Lidi :D


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Postby MedicKitten » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:01 am

lemon juice or rosewater. Lemon juice is acidic, could help dry out spots, bleach out the skin too! rosewater, says Mistress Aimee of the Stillroom, is a natural antiseptic. Great stuff, smells fantastic.


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Postby lidimy » Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:06 am

I like the sound of that a lot more than puppy wee! :lol:

Lidi :D


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Postby Zachos » Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:23 pm

Clean air, healthy eating, exercise and scrubb face hard when washing seems to do it for me, so I suppose it may not of been quite as much of an issue back then as it is in the "post tv and deep fat fryers age".

I still do get the odd spot, but not very often and generally when I've been eating a lot of fried breakfasts or something.

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Postby craig1459 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:50 pm

Girls have different issues to men which can affect their skin - hormones being the classic

Stress can bring it on as well


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Postby lidimy » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:35 pm

Yep, girls get monthly spot fluctuations too :(

Ah, the joys of being a teenager!

Lidi :)


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Postby Zachos » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:16 pm

Girls get SPOTS!?!?!!


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Postby lidimy » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:25 pm

:lol:

I hate to break it to you...

Maybe the girls you hang around with are the type who prefer to cover them with orange paste? AKA foundation? :twisted:

Sorry, not a nice insult :P

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Postby Theotherone » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:50 pm

I managed to have a spot free adolescence/teenage/twenties etc. But once I had children... Now I have spots AND wrinkles life is so unfair.


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Postby 'Banastre' » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:51 pm

Foundation is icky.
I rarely wear makeup. Close to never is even more accurate. I suppose the quote 'warts and all' may be appropriate! :lol: (Except I don't have warts... ah well).

Just some moisturing cream prescribed from the doctors and I'm off. WitchHazel made my face come out reaal bad


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Postby lidimy » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:13 pm

I wear makeup, but only on my eyes :) and not all the time unless I am at school. I can't be bothered in the holidays lol :D

And NEVER foundation. Eeeuugh.

Lidi :)


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Postby Zachos » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:44 pm

one of the nicest things I ever told someone was that their spots showed through their makeup.

I can't remember what prompted me to say it, but it gets quite a reaction...


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Postby 'Banastre' » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:54 pm

Zachos, I must applaud you for that comment :lol:


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