Understanding the skin

vkatz skin

Why is it important to understand the skin? Well, if you know and understand how  it works and functions , chances are that you will know how to take care of your skin. This blog will give you a brief overview of the skin, as well as its structure and how it functions.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body?

The skin has two layers

  • The epidermis which is the layer that you can see. The outer most cells on this layer are constantly shedding to reveal the newer layer. There is no blood supply to the epidermis.
  • The dermis is the layer found beneath the epidermis. This layer is connected to blood supply. The dermis is the layer where you will find sweat and sebaceous glands. One of the key characteristics of the dermis is that the dermis contains all the specialised cells. These specialised cells are responsible for collagen production, histamine production as well as white blood cells that fight infection.

The epidermis is further divided into five layers

  1. Stratum corneum which is the surface layer. This is where the dead cells are found. This layer is constantly shedding.
  2. Stratum Lucidum is the clear layer.
  3. Stratum granulosum is the granular layer. This layer contains granules that are visible in healing tissue after trauma.
  4. Stratum Spinosum is the prickle cell layer.
  5. Stratum Germinativum which is also known as the basal layer. This layer contains living cells. These living cells take around 28 days to move up all the layers before being shed. It is also important to know that this layer also contains melanin. Melanin is what gives your skin colour.



What are the functions of the skin ?

  • Secretion
  • Heat regulation, that is the cooling and warming of the skin
  • Absorption
  • Protection
  • Elimination of waste products
  • Sensation
  • Vitamin D production
  • Melanin production

How can you protect your skin?

  • Limit the time you spend in the sun. The sun can cause many skin damages, age spots, wrinkles, freckles and  discoloration to name a few. If you are on holiday seek places that have shade.
  • If you are a smoker, its about time that you think about quiting. Smoking damages the collagen and elastin fibres in your skin. These are important for keeping your skin looking firm and youthful. As a result of the damage you will find that your skin will start wrinkling.
  • Limit your time in the bath as well as shaving. Excessively done, these can eventually take a toll on your skin. Dry skin can easily become a problem therefore it is important to moisturise your skin regularly.
  • Eating healthy foods will also promote healthy looking skin. Diets rich in fatty fish oils are excellent. Don’t forget to eat your daily requirements of fruits and vegetables and hydrate.
  • Stress has been killer for years, it has the same effect on the skin. Stress can cause skin problems such as sensitivity and acne. It is important to manage stress levels and ensure that you get enough sleep.


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A guide to beautiful skin


Searching for the secrets to achieving beautiful skin is like searching for the holy grail. Although we hear about beautiful, flawless skin, very few have seen it, yet the desire to experience this phenomenon just once is mind blowing.

Yes, there are a handful of lucky ones that can boast about the possession of having beautiful skin, so it was to them that we sought advice.

After consulting with a dermatologist as we as a group of ladies between the ages of 24 and 35, this is what I discovered.

A guide to beautiful skin

  1. Always use sunscreen, even on days that may seem over cast. Over exposure to sunlight without the necessary protection is extremely damaging to the skin and can cause premature ageing.
  2. Learn to relax and unwind. Stress and tension can cause an increase in cortisol in the body. This hormone is responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin which will ultimately lead to wrinkles.
  3. Sleep 7 hours a day, not only is this good for the mind, body and soul but it also prevents racoon eyes, or pigmentation around the orbitol area.
  4. Get physical. It is important to workout, even if it is for 30 minutes a day. Not only will you achieve a healthier looking skin, the bonus would be a healthy, fit body.
  5. Remove any excess sugar in your diet. Foods with a high glycemic index increases cortisol in the body which breaks down the collagen and elastin. Rather opt for foods that are rich in Omega 3 and vitamin C.
  6. Avoid picking your face. Poking and picking at pimples is the worst thing you could do for your skin. Besides spreading bacteria causing more pimples, when you pick and a pimple, chances are you are going to leave a permanent scar.
  7. Avoid trying too many products.
  8. Stop smoking, In addition to the yellow teeth and fine lines and wrinkles to the mouth area, nicotines destroys the skin, leaving it saggy, grey and lifeless.
  9. Always treat your skin gently. Do not use harsh products and limit exfoliation to once a week. Most people scrub their skins hard with the hope of getting it squeaky clean. The problem with this is that you can cause inflammation of the skin, blocked pores as well as blemishes.
  10. Wash your face every night, and never go to bed with makeup on.
  11. Drink plenty water.


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How to treat back acne


How to treat back acne

Skin conditions can be emotionally draining on the person suffering from it, many fall into a state of depression as they do not respond to treatment. Like anything in life, prevention is better than cure.

Acne first shows its nasty face at puberty, when the hormones begin raging. As a result, the sebaceous glands begin to work over time. During puberty acne first begins to make its appearance on the face and sometimes on the back.

It is important to note that acne as a skin condition can affect teenagers but many adults too suffer from late onset.

Acne is a problem, whether it appears on your face or back.

So, what is acne? Simply put, acne is when the hair follicles become clogged up due to excess oil and dead skin. Unfortunately unlike like acne that appears on your face, back acne can be a little more difficult to treat. The pores on your back are much larger in size, therefore clogging of these pores are very easy.

Face acne can also be seen and treated, however back acne is in an area which can not easily be reached, making treatment a little more difficult.

How to treat back acne?

  • Use a ph balanced body wash.
  • Shower regularly and immediately after gym. If you allow the sweat to sit on your skin for too long, the bacteria could cause acne.
  • Use a body scrub and exfoliate your body at least once a week.
  • Scrub your back daily, this may seem like common knowledge, however the back is a hard to reach area, therefore many may not spend time scrubbing.
  • Book a back facial monthly, a good steam will open up the pores and unclog the pores.
  • Avoid garments that irritate the skin.

It is important to remember that back acne is treatable and if your skin is not responding to home treatments then it is important to seek medical advice.

There are also many natural remedies that can be tried too.

Good Luck!





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11 Massage oils for healthy glowing skin


11 Massage oils for healthy glowing skin

There is a difference between what is known as beauty oils and essential oils. With the boom in the beauty industry, beauty oils have played a pivotal role in its rise. All products including the creams, toners, lotions and lipsticks that we use daily include beauty oils. Essential oils on the other hand are extremely concentrated. Some essential oils have anti bacterial and anti fungal properties that make them perfect when treating skin problems.

Here are 11 massage oils for healthy glowing skin

  • Argan oil has made its appearance over the past few years and many have hailed it as being the liquid gold that has been added to many of the beauty products that we use. Argan oil has been added to hair products as well as skin products, it has also been added to medicinal products that treat a range of bacterial and fungal problems. Argan oil is rich is fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants. It is a known fact that products rich in anti oxidants prevent free radical damage to the skin, which aids in your anti ageing treatment. Argan oil is ideal when treating ageing skin.
  • Coconut oil is good for both hair and skin, it is deeply moisturising, and is able to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin.
  • Chamomile oil is used to treat sensitive as well as acne prone skin. Chamomile oil promotes cell regeneration which is perfect for those suffering from acne. It can be used to balance sebum production and restores hydration to the skin.
  • Almond oil is rich in vitamin A,B,D and E and is a natural and healthy way to improve the health of your skin and hair.
  • Rose oil has antibacterial, anti oxidant and anti microbial properties, it is rich in Vitamin A,C and omega 3 acids. It is perfect when used to repair scar tissue as treat blemishes.
  • Carrot seed oil is used to treat hyper pigmentation, wrinkles and stretch marks.
  • Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti fungal properties, it can therefore kill acne causing bacteria and prevent further breakouts.
  • Avocado oil is rich in vitamin A,B,D AND E. It can penetrate the skin easier leaving it moisturised and nourished for longer.
  • Olive oil is rich in anti oxidants and has both Vitamin A and E. Because it is rich in antioxidants it can assist in prevention of free radical damage. Olive oil can be used on both your skin and hair.
  • For many years flax seed oil has helped many in the laxative department, but this oil is high in vitamin E which can moisturise and hydrate damaged skin.
  • Apricot kernel oil has a high amount of vitamin E which absorbs easily into the skin.


Herbal aromatherapy essential oil in bottles with fresh citrus f



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Clinique custom repair serum


Clinique custom repair serum

A few weeks ago I was given the Clinique Custom Repair serum to try, this serum claimed to respond to the particular needs of the skin, targeting problem areas of wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone and to all women’s horror, firming. I have never used a Clinique product before however I do know of people who have, so I thought my best bet would be to visit a Clinique counter and talk to a consultant.

After listening to the consultant who babbled on about how this one product fits all women, I decided to leave. If there is anyone that understands that  one size most certainly does not fit all, that person would be me. Every persons skin is different to the next, and its requirements too will be different.

After owning a makeup and beauty school for 7 years, I have come across many products that claimed to do many things but delivered on very few, so I decided to put this product to the test.

I get sent many products to review, however very few have made my review list. Saying that, I have been using the Clinique custom repair for the past 3 weeks and in around day 8 I started seeing a change in the appearance of my skin.

As the digits climb on my age calendar, fighting the hormones has become a constant battle. Changes in my body have led to changes in my skin too. Over the past year I began getting breakouts, and for someone who has had clear skin all my life, suddenly having to start dealing with this was emotionally draining. I tried many products and facial therapies, however nothing seemed to have done the job.

That is until I began using the Clinique custom repair serum, the fine breakouts have dried up and my skin looks noticeably clearer. I wake up in the mornings to a brighter face, and people have taken notice.

Do I recommend Clinique custom repair serum to you? My answer is simple. Every person is different and so to is their skin. Each individual will have a different experience as their skin responds to Clinique custom repair.  With this in mind, this product is definitely worth a try.


Maria xoxox



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What skin type are you?

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What skin type are you?

Its time to know your skin. The largest problem that people have with their skin is that they do not fully understand it, so many people are using the incorrect products on their skin, which only leads to greater skin problems.

How does the skin work?

The skin is composed of 3 layers.

  1.  Epidermis – which is the layer that is visible.
  2. Dermis – is the middle layer, and contains the collagen and elastin.
  3. Hypodermis – this is the inner most layer and is where you will find blood vessels and nerves.

diagram of the skin

Hair follicles, nerves, blood vessels as well as sebaceous glands are also found in the dermis. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum, which is oil.

When analysing the skin, the skin can be broken up into four types. distinguishing your skin type is critical when choosing the correct skin care products.


Characteristics of normal skin will include a smooth even texture with small pores. This type of skin feels comfortable.

Skin care routine should include a foaming cleanser, bi weekly exfoliation and masque and a light weight moisturiser. Remember to include a good sun screen.


Oily skin is very shiny and this can be attributed to overly active sebaceous glands. The pores will be noticeably larger. A person having an oily skin type will experience frequent break outs. Because the skin is oily, there are very few signs of ageing.

When taking care of oily skin, it is important to try and manage the breakouts. Use a good astringent toner to remove excess oil from the skin as well as an oil free moisturiser.


Dry skin feels very tight, especially after washing. A person with dry skin may experience flaking, the pores are very small, almost invisible. Because the skin is dry, it will show signs of ageing faster than other skin types.

Skin care should include a rich cleanser and moisturiser. Night creams that include AHA can assist in removing dead flaky skin.


This skin is characterised by the T-ZONE. which can either be an oily T panel with dry cheeks or vice versa.

Skin care should include regular cleaning, toning and moisturising, coupled with routined exfoliation and masque. Treat your oily and dry areas as needed.

skin types


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Makeup tips for Autumn/winter

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Makeup tips for Autumn/Winter

The cold weather can be harsh on the skin and although most of our bodies are covered with coats, stockings and scarves, the face is left open to brave the cold.

  1. Protect and hydrate

Exfoliate every other day to prevent the build up of dead flaky skin on the face and use an intensive moisturiser to restore the skin.

2. Use moisturising makeup

Opt for a cream foundation during winter, and remember that your skin may get paler, so don’t forget to match your foundation to the correct skin tone. Avoid using excessive amounts of powder, not only will it cake your makeup but it will also dry out your skin.

Eyebrows should be kept tidy and defined and a more strong brow is recommended. Eyes often tend to  water during winter because of the wind so my suggestion is to avoid eyeliner and mascara that will run. Eye colours for winter should be bold, try berry shades, defined sockets and smokey shades will work well. Metallic shades can be added for evening glamour.

If you have very dry skin during winter, opt for a cream blush rather than a powder.

Lips take a serious knock during this season, so a must have essential is a good lip balm. Deep shades on the lips are a must so try shades in berry, reds and brown.


  • Make sure your cleanser is non drying.
  • Try using a facial oil underneath your daily moisturiser.
  • Increase your hydration.
  • Use a primer, it will help your foundation glide on easily.
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What are your breakouts telling you?


I have to admit that my teenage years were completely blessed, unlike my friends who went through teenage acne, I had none, so life was pretty smooth sailing.. at least for a teenager. However, as I got older my skin and I started losing our friendship at a rapid pace. In my early thirties, I began to start noticing fine pimples and soon breakouts.

At the time I visited every skin treatment place available to me, including dermatologists, however no one or treat was able to help me. Then I started looking into Face mapping.

With all the facial treatments on the market, face mapping has created quite a buzz in the local beauty salons. But what is Face Mapping?

Face mapping goes back thousands of years and is an ancient practice rooted in Ayurveda teaching and Chinese medicine. Face mapping treats your face as a road map to pinpoint underlying issues in other parts of your body.

Dr. Dan Hsu, a New York City doctor who specializes in Eastern medicine explains that the skin on your face is an expression of your health. “The body is made up of a bunch of systems – Lymphatic, neurological and digestive to name a few, and all of these systems are tied together, “ he explains. “Its very difficult to affect one without the others.” He says that mapping is a way to verify what is going on inside the body since every part of the body is linked to different organs. “In Chinese medicine we look at the body as a whole, and how everything works together,” he says.

So essentially face mapping will allow us to discover what is going on inside our bodies.

What are your breakouts on your skin telling you?

  • Breakouts above the brow, according to Chinese medicine is linked to the gall bladder and liver. If you are getting breakouts here, try eating less processed foods and reduce the amount of fat in your diet.
  • Breakouts on the skin between the brows means that you are either consuming too much alcohol, smoking excessively or eating rich foods. Cut down on the rich foods especially at night and incorporate exercise into your routine.
  • The nose area is connected to your lungs and heart. Cut back on spicy foods, meat and salt and replace it with fruit, veggies and nuts. If your are constantly getting breakouts on your nose check out your blood pressure and vitamin B levels.
  • The liver is connected to your left cheek so if you are experiencing breakouts in this area try eating “cooling foods” like melons and cucumber.
  • The right cheek is connected to the lungs, try aerobic and breathing exercises in the morning to strengthen the lungs. The right cheek is also more “sugar focused” so try cutting back on spicy and fried foods while eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables.
  • The chin area is associated with hormones, but stress can be a huge contributor.

So, instead of focusing all our attention on our outward appearance, maybe the lesson here is to redirect our attention, after all, beauty shines from within.

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