Thursday, December 24, 2009

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 22

#22 – “Always rinse your face with cold water. Hot water breaks down the tissue and causes more wrinkles.”

(Photo of these "Young Bohemians" was taken in 1968 at my niece's wedding, left to right, nephew Jack (Jay) Morgan, former sister-in-law Freida Kay Noelke Davenport, me, former husband Herbie Noelke, nephew Monte Morgan, niece Jolinda Morgan, nephew Wade Hudman.)

When I saw #22 on the list of the one hundred things mom taught me a million times, I was reminded of the Bible verse in Ecclesiastes, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). See, I’m not a total heathen!

As far as we know, Ecclesiastes was written by Qohelet, who introduces himself as "son of David, and king in Jerusalem," who, according to Wikipedia, “proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently ‘vain’ … as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death.”  Now there’s a cheery thought for Christmas Eve!

But Qohelet redeems himself when he goes on to suggest that because you are going to die no matter what, one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's work. So he’s not such a depressing guy after all, and I’ll just bet there were lots of mothers hoping that he would take their daughter as his wife, a king, son of David, what a catch!

So what does this have to do with mom’s admonition of not putting hot water on your face? Well, my point is that, although Qohelet would have to admit that the internet and my laptop are new under the sun, so much about what we know has really been around for a very long time – like not putting hot water on you face. On a side note, it is also pretty clear that if you lay out in the sun, your skin won’t look “new” for very long, but back to the hot water face thing.

As you’ve heard me say before, mom was a woman of few words, so she didn’t expound, she just tossed advice out there (millions of times), on a take it or leave it basis. But whatever her reasoning, whether is was because that was what her grandma told her (mom was raised by her grandmother when her mom and dad both died of smallpox [lie, legend or truth, we have no idea]) or if it was based upon some knowledge gleaned from reading (which she did a lot), the advice is actually based upon some science, aka the theory de jour.

When I did a little online research, sure enough, a variety of resources confirmed that hot water:
1.     Strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry, irritated and more vulnerable to wrinkling, and
2.     Hot water on your face can cause broken capillaries.

I have no way of knowing for sure if not rinsing your face with hot water goes all the way back to my mom’s mom (Sara McGLauflin), or mom’s mom’s mom, (Mrs. Steinbough), or mom’s mom’s mom’s mom, (Mrs. Wells). However, I do know that my mom died virtually wrinkle-less at the age of 99, and that my octogenarian and septuagenarian sisters and brother all have beautiful, flawless skin, so I can’t help but think that all that lukewarm water face rinsing that great- great grandma, great-grandma, grandma, and mom did probably served to pass on the “good skin gene” – for which I am thankful.

So mom was right, always rinse your face with cold water. And old Qohelet was right too. Stay out of the sun ‘cause there’s nothing new out there.



  1. I've also heard that humans should take baths in water as cool as you can stand it. As relaxing as a hot shower or bath sounds, it's not the best thing for your skin. So, whether Momy knew the facts or she lucked out with an old wive's tale, she was correct!! I venture to think it's a reflection of her vast wisdom - smile! Hope you and Crouse are having a wonderful Christmas!! Please pass on my love to any family that you are hanging with today.

  2. One of your best posts, Sue. I enjoyed reading this immensely. But, didn't know that my great-grandparents died and that's how Mommy became an orphan. I guess the explanation I got was more legend? Jane

  3. OK, so what legend did you get? Like I said, what I was told was suspect as well? Really do appreciate your feedback.SueAnn

  4. I've always wondered about the family tree on Momy's side. Have you ever done one? This is the first time I've heard those names on her side of the family.

  5. I have some of the family tree, and will send when I get a chance, but it's pretty sketchy. Dad's I know nothing about. One of my life goals however is to get a geneologist to research both side someday, and will share that too when it happens.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We did...