Every Sunday, we bring you beauty from the IMAGE archives. This week, we’re looking back on the April issue of 1978.
Don’t be misled into thinking that this question implies there’s a magic potent elixir to be bought in a pharmacy which provides beauty by the dose and corrects everything that detracts from perfect good looks. That kind of elixir hasn’t been invented in real life at any rate. Though in all the top favourite fairytales, its inclusion repeatedly occurs… the bottle whose contents turn monsters into handsome princes, hags into raving beauties. Always supposing their initial ugliness was an affliction over which they had no power. But fairytales are pure fantasy and their beautiful heroines only play out our own fantasies, the main one of which is that you and me are really truly beautiful under the skin and that life/worry/work/health/shortage of money/a broek romance, etc (all factors over which we like to think we have no power) are what has caused our beauty to be obscured.
The fact is that you are as beautiful as you believe yourself to be inside, because inner serenity is really the key to that magnetism which attracts other and which is called beauty. But where your/my lines are crossed is in believing that because this radiance is not immediately evident it’s not our fault.
A little self-analysis is necessary. Be honest, how often do you smile? It’s a decision to smile: you can do so in the midst of adversity. And is a smile ever ugly? Be honest again. Do you treat your skin, hair, and body with respect caring for them, even pampering them? Do you get enough sleep? Couldn’t you have more no matter how many demands there are on your time? Do you get enough exercise and eat the right health-promoting foods (or do you indulge more frequently than you care to admit in stodge)? Is your posture lazy and slack? No matter how tired or worried you may be is there any excuse for slumping around, letting your muscles go limp when sitting and walking like Clydesdale when you could step it out liie a high-spirited filly?
It’s something of a habit to blame things outside us for an appearance which is neither attractive to others nor to one-self. The real truth is that most things that make one less than beautiful are one’s own fault. Some of the great beauties in history and in the present day have encountered all kinds of problems and harrowing traumas head-on. Some too have known extreme poverty (Sophia Loren for one), ill health and shattered relationships and still emerged magically beautiful.
The French say that every woman is beautiful but that her beauty must be drawn out. They even have a word for those with irregularities in their build or features, those whose anatomy is not classic perfection. For them such a woman is jolie laide (beautifully ugly) which is another way of saying that her beauty is unconventional, unique and highly personal. Surely in those terms to be jolie laide is almost better than being une belle classique.
So apart from sheer laziness and a passive rather than a respectful attitude to your body and face what are you doing to damage or conceal your own beautiful image? We’ve mentioned careless diet. But another abuse of beauty is the habitual absorption of harmful drugs. Most of us are not junkies in the accepted sense of the word but many of us far too free in our use of familiar drugs and might even become addicted to them.
The trouble is that many of these harmful drugs are socially acceptable – alcohol, nicotine and caffeine to name only three. But other drugs are insidiously harmful if taken unnecessarily and often have serious side effects even when taken by necessity. Among these are a number which can be addictive if taken too often.
All medicines have a changing action on biological process, therefore no matter how effective in the treatment of illness they must have an adverse side effect on the system.
Minor ailments – headaches, backache, lesser forms of rheumatism, sinus pains, even sore throats and sleeplessness are often best borne stoically rather than suppressed by aspirin or codeine which can have most dangerous damaging effects if taken too frequently. And many doctors tend to be over generous in the prescribing of other drugs which are not really essential if pain or discomfort can be tolerated. The drug bill in any country is phenomenal and it is most likely that a large number of the population of the country are actually operating with systems clogged by toxins, as a result of the world-wide drug culture.
As research expands on the effects of drugs widely used for medical purposes, new findings disclose such side effects as kidney failure, stomach ulcers, dizziness, nausea, liver damage and blood disorders from such commonly used drugs as aspirin and phenatacin. In France it is actually reckoned that thirty percent of illness is caused by the abuse of drugs.
All the indications are that it is time to call a halt, not just on the taking of drugs for every discomfort or stress caused by the tensions of modern society but on the irresponsible prescribing of drugs by doctors (often because they haven’t the time in a busy schedule for dealing with the root cause in their patients of such symptoms as anxiety, allergy, insomnia, etc). The drug industry is so vast that even the most conscientious doctor cannot keep pace with all the effects of all drugs. Some have been only recently introduced to him and research on their side effects cannot be completed until thousands of people have taken them for a considerable time. So no matter no much you you trust your doctor’s judgement, in the final analysis drug-taking is your own responsibility. It is your body to which you are introducing an alien chemical substance.
The sensible attitude to all drugs is extreme caution. Question your doctor about all known side-effects of anything unfamiliar he prescribes. If it is for a serious ailment, be absolutely sure that you know from hi or your chemist the exact quantity you should have and for how long you should take it, where the drug should be kept and for how long it is safe to keep it.
When prescribing for yourself aspirin, codeine, phenacitin or other patent headache or cold cures, think first whether there might be another cure for the problem beside a drug… a walk and a glass of hot milk for sleeplessness, a chat with doctor, counsellor or psychiatrist to tackle the causes of stress, anxiety or recurring symptoms of any kind.
Destroy all drugs in the medicine cabinet that have been in the house for some time (or bring them to your local chemist for disposal). Buy aspirins etc only when actually urgently needed or when your doctor recommends them. Check with your chemist on all prescriptions for antibiotics. Generally an antibiotic course must be completed even when symptoms disappear in order to be effective. Never never dole out antibiotic tablets or prescribed mixtures to friends who complain of symptoms. This is a highly irresponsible action and no kindness to your friend.
Make a drug free existence as far as is at all possible your rule of thumb. A new healthy way of life, adequate exercise, sensible balanced eating, your full quota of sleep – is often enough even after a few months to eliminate minor ailments. Calmness, quick reaction in emergencies an absence of fatigue, a more alert, better judgement and sounder sleep as well as general contentment are just a few of the benefits from a drug-free lifestyle (and remember alcohol and nicotine are highly dangerous drugs too).
It follows that the above benefits make for a serene, well balanced nice-to-know person, someone who smiles and makes others feel relaxed. When you have become such a person is the time to enhance the new you with the minimum but carefully applied cosmetics, enrich your vitality with a careful skincare programme and buy something up-to-date and elegant to enhance a good posture. Health and serenity are what beauty is all about. The real thing is much more than skin deep.
The article originally appeared in the April 1978 issue of IMAGE Magazine.