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Affections of the Glands of the Skin

secretion, hair, sebum, treatment, soap and oil

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Excessive Secretion of the Sebaceous Glands (Seborrlicea). —The sebaceous glands separate an oily fluid which keeps the skin moist and soft. This is produced in excessive quantity in the disease named. It occurs specially in young people between fifteen and twenty-five, on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. The skin has a greasy appearance, and minute drops of oil may be seen standing upon it. The face of a person affected seldom appears clean, because dust, &c., so readily adheres to the greasy surface. In old-standing cases the sebum forms flakes or crusts upon the skin of a pale-yellow, brown, or grayish colour. When this occurs on the head the hair becomes matted together. This may be seen in children. The affection occurs also on the genital organs of both sexes.

In another form scales of dry secretion of a dirty-white or pale-yellow colour adhere to the surface of the skin, or the sebum assumes the appearance of branny scales, forming a fine mealy powder. This often forms on the scalp, and if allowed to accumulate forms scurf. In the disease the hair is affected and readily falls off, so that scurf and hair are continually falling from the head.

Treatment.—Thorough cleanliness is neces sary. In the oily form on the face frequent washing with soap and water, and rubbing with towels, is the best treatment. Before the soap and water, oil may be rubbed over the parts to soften and bring away plugs of sebum in the mouths of the glands. If crusts have formed they should be softened and removed by rubbing with oil, and then soap and water. An ointment of oxide of zinc may then be applied, or the lotion of almond emulsion with 1 grain perchloride of mercury to the 10 ounces. This is, it must be noted,. poitionous. Tonic treatment may also be needed.

Comedones (Grub, Shilfrorn) is the term applied to plugs of sebum that block the mouths of the hair follicles and glands. They appear as small dark points, and when pressure is applied by the finger-nails a little worm like body with a black head is squeezed out.

This is simply accumulated secretion, the ex posed end being blackened by dirt. A parasite has also been found among the secretion— the Acarus folliculorum, — which, however, does not seem to give rise to any symptoms Comedones vary in size, and, if numerous, their black points are very unsightly. They are found most commonly on the face, back, and chest.

Treatment. — The accumulated material should be squeezed out by the finger-nails. Frequent washing with soap and water, fol lowed by brisk rubbing, should be adopted to prevent their recurrence. Previous anointing with oil is an aid to the removal of the retained material.

Mina are small, white, round bodies lying beneath the scarf-skin, most commonly on the eyelids and cheeks. They are formed of se baceous glands which have become filled with their secretion and unable to expel it.

Treatment.—A sharp needle readily slits up the cuticle covering the little body, which slight pressure then turns out.

Wens are tumours formed like milia, but much larger in size. They may attain the size of a nut or orange, and are common on the head and face. They are enormously distended sacs of the hair and hair-gland, containing accumulated sebum which may have under gone alteration.

The treatment is usually to dissect them out entire, or to open them out and clear out the contents. The operation, if the wen be on the scalp, is not unattended with risk. Erysipelas may arise; and great care is exercised by sur geons in operation. The rule is, indeed, that the wen is not disturbed unless it is a source of annoyance.

MoMuseum Contagiosum is a disease of the skin caused by blocking of the sebaceous glands. Tumours, similar to wens, are pro duced. They are filled with a milky fluid which is said to be capable of communicating the disease. They occur singly or in groups on the face, eyelids, chest, arms, and breasts of women. They are not painful. At the top of the tumour is a minute opening, through which frequently the contents of the sac may be squeezed.

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