Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Unsightly Sweat

By Sue Schuurman

MARCH 1, 1999: 

60 Years Ago This Week

One would expect a beauty column here in the desert Southwest to emphasize how to keep dry skin at bay. Instead, the following 1939 excerpt from the Albuquerque Journal by Helen Jameson (a.k.a. Mme. Qui Vive) advises women that moisture appearing on the face and hands is unattractive, and excessive perspiration is an obstacle in social and business circles. Causes for the "debacle" include nervousness and too-gentle scrubbing in the bath. The solution to foot sweating is to change hosiery daily, among other things, and deterrents are highly recommended, which we presume refers to deodorants and anti-perspirants of the day. Women over forty, strangely, don't have these problems, according to the author.

Excessive Perspiration

"Beautifying isn't just surface decoration these days. We know that health has much to do with appearance, and we try to dig down to causes. It is the sensible way to handle pulchritude problems. Dig 'em up, shake 'em out, look 'em over.

"There is the matter of excessive perspiration, a trouble that interferes with business and social life. Ordinary cases can be corrected by the daily bath, and faithfulness to deterrents. But there are other cases that are baffling. Skin moisture continues despite hygienic attentions.

"Physicians say that the causes are often obscure. When the face sweats excessively the blood vessels are abnormally dilated, a condition which may be due to nervousness. Women with moist palms are usually the nervous type. As a rule excessive sweating desists after the fortieth birthday, or thereabouts, so more young women suffer from it than middle aged. Self-consciousness may be a factor; it is known that certain glandular disturbances will cause the entire body surface to be unduly moist. When ordinary treatments fail to correct an excessive condition, a physician should be consulted.

"Scrupulous cleanliness is necessary for health and self respect. The sweat glands pour forth chemicals which in even a few hours may be very offensive. Dead skin scales add to the debacle and a certain amount of dust is collected. The daily bath should not be a casual shower or a leap in-and-out of the tub, but a vigorous scouring with soap, warm water and a brush that takes hold like a guilty conscience. Sloshing a soaped wash cloth over the flesh does not make for a thorough renovating.

"A clear water massage, dipping the hands in clear water and rubbing the flesh vigorously with the palms, loosens skin scales that are shedding. A soapy bath should follow.

"Cosmetic chemists have produced a great number of preparations to be used under the arms where sweat glands are largest and most active. These offerings come in various forms--liquids, solids, creamy substances. If one doesn't work, another will. Directions with these aids should be followed to the letter.

"The soles of the feet may cause trouble, the sweat causing the flesh to smart and burn. This condition can be corrected by adding baking soda to the foot bath, changing the hosiery every day, using a foot powder generously on the little walkers and sprinkling it inside the shoes."

Source: Albuquerque Journal;
Feb. 27, 1939

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