I couldn’t resist posting this quote from a 1928 Listerine advertisement.*

Children usually come home from school with a case of dandruff that may lead to baldness. Examine scalps often, and at the first sign of dandruff, douse on Listerine full strength. Keep it up systematically for several days. To your delight, you will find that dandruff has disappeared and that little scalps are clean, sweet and healthy.

So, dandruff causes baldness? This is news to me. Is it temporary baldness? Or, are they referring to baldness later in life?

And is this Listerine (”The safe antiseptic”) the same original formula we use as mouthwash nowadays or has the product changed at all? Could we apply a quick rinse in the shower for healthy scalps? (Not that I’m worried about dandruff, but if it makes the hair shiny.)

Another ad from about a year later says:

Full strength Listerine is so safe it can be used in any body cavity, yet so powerful it kills even the stubborn B. Typhosus (typhoid) and M. Aureus (pus) germs in 15 seconds.

Good to know. However, that “body cavity” bit gave me pause.

*I found the ads in the May ‘28 and July ‘29 issues of Needlecraft Magazine.

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16 Responses to “Dandruff”

  1. Connie Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 8:47 am

    ewww – listerine in the hair (plus other body cavities?) I guess it is a great all purpose product!!

  2. Christy Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 9:08 am

    I wonder when it lost its multipurpose status… aren’t old ads great?

  3. Chris Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Eeeek! The “body cavity” thing is creepy!

  4. Guinifer Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Oh, uhm, ewww?

  5. Deb Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 10:28 am


  6. britt Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    As disgusting as it sounds the listerine in the hair really does work on dandruff. I don’t know about the whole baldness thing.

  7. Amy Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Hee hee! You should send those to James Lileks.

  8. Kristen Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Grandma told me they used to say Listerine could CURE the common cold.

  9. Opal Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    in any body cavity? eek!

  10. Schrodinger Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 6:24 pm


  11. Carrie Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Interesting ad. As far as I know Listerine is still the same old recipe as it was originally, beside the occasional mint flavoring. The yuck looking gold formula is still the most popular variety.

  12. Rina Says:
    September 27th, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    hm…. interesting.

  13. Nicole Says:
    September 28th, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Too funny!

  14. Carrie K Says:
    September 29th, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    That’s somewhat hilarious and terrifying. Body cavities? Yowza.

    Grandma’s cardigan looks so good on her!

    Looks like the baby sweater came out. That first true – to size gauge swatch is always the worst.

  15. Tracey Says:
    September 29th, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Um, get yer dang Listerine away from my body cavity. Wait, if you use Listerine, would you have cavities? I’m so confused…

  16. knitting bandit Says:
    October 2nd, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Can’t wait to get home and rinse my mouth out with that suff!

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