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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10 Skincare mistakes to avoid


10 Skincare mistakes to avoid

So you spend most of your earnings on expensive skin care products that you think will keep you ageing like good wine. You do this because psychologically we believe that the more expensive a product is, the more miraculous it will be. However, there are things that you could be doing in your everyday routine that could be damaging your skin without you knowing.


Here are 10 skin care mistakes to avoid to ensure that the wonders of youth stay on your side.

  1. Stop popping pimples. Everyone breaks out some time or the other, so instead of popping them, use an anti bacterial treatment over the affected area. I generally use tea tree oil and it works like a charm when it comes to drying out those nasties. When you pinch or pop these pimples, you are spreading the bacteria which will eventually lead to larger areas of the face being affected.
  2. Many people use skin care products that are not suitable for their skin type. Unfortunately many consultants at  the retail outlets are trained on selling the products however do not hold a qualification in skincare. So when taking advice on your products, make sure its from a qualified skincare therapist. Using the incorrect products can damage the skin.
  3. Using dirty makeup brushes is you asking for trouble. Invest in a brush cleaner or wash the brushes regularly to clean any makeup buildup that could be housing bacteria.
  4. As great as it may feel at the time, taking showers that are too hot dries out the skin, instead opt for  luke warm temperatures.
  5. Not wearing sunscreen everyday.
  6. Touching the face unnecessarily must stop. Unfortunately we touch any number of things during the course of our daily activity and we don’t always have the opportunity to clean our hands. Touching our face with dirty hands means that we are transferring the bacteria to our skin.
  7. Avoid using a face cloth when cleansing the face. Face clothes can be quite rough which will lead to tiny microscopic cuts on the skin.
  8. Exfoliating more that required it the hugest skin care mistake. When you exfoliate the skin, you are stripping the skin of all its natural oils. People who suffer with oily skin feel better when the exfoliate more thinking that they are removing all the sebum. FALSE! The more they exfoliate the more stimulation  which means that the skin will only create more oil.
  9. Going to bed with makeup on is a grave sin. I don’t need to elaborate on this one.
  10. Avoid keeping hair on the face, especially when you are going to bed, tie your hair back and clip bangs away from the face.


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What is Microdermabrasion ?


What is Microdermabrasion?

After hitting the riper ages of life, you begin to notice changes in your body. I was no different, and if you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will know that for the past year I have suffered emotional stress over my sudden break outs on my face. It was without a doubt a rude awakening to the fact that I was no longer 20 anymore.

The search for the remedy is still frantic as I will never be willing to settle for hormonal disruptions in my body. After visiting a dermatologist, he recommended microdermabrasion. I succumbed to the suggestion, hoping that I would finally stumble across what I need.

So what is microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a non invasive technique that gently exfoliates the skin. It uses micro crystals that are sprayed onto the face thereby removing dead, flakey skin to reveal a more brighter and radiant skin. Microdermabrasion may sound painful, however after my own experience, I can safely say that the discomfort level is at a minimum.

Microdermabrasion can be done at a dermatologist or at a spa, however I highly recommend that if you do opt for this treatment, you will do it at a dermatologist.

How is Microdermabrasion beneficial?

Microdermabrasion will help those that suffer with enlarged pores by minimising the appearance as well as unclogging the pores. Its will also prove beneficial to those who wish to decrease the appearance of superficial pigmentation, age spots and sun damage. Microdermabrasion aids in the deeper penetration of your skin care products. Because of the exfoliation action, microdermabrasion will stimulate blood flow which will increase the nutrition to the skin. Microdermabrasion will also improve cell production, skin elasticity as well as texture.

How often would you need to have the procedure ?

Frequency will depend on your desired results as well as the dermatologists recommendations, however it is generally recommended that 6 to 10 treatments are conducted once a month.

Is there a down time period?

Because the procedure is non invasive, it can literally be done during your lunch break. You may be a little red afterwards but this will disappear within 24 hours. It is recommended that you wear a sunblock with a high spf.

I have had one treatment done and am looking forward to great results, thumbs crossed. I will most definitely keep you updated and review the procedure in December, so look out for that.


This video will help you understand the procedure a little more.

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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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6 Home remedies for open pores


6 Home Remedies for open pores

Large open pores can be a result of many scenarios, sometimes, due to an increase in age, the skin can lose its elasticity thereby giving the skin the appearance of open pores. Genetics most definitely plays a role and so does stress. A poor skin care routine can also result in open pores on the skin.

It is important to remember that when the skin has excess sebum, dirt gets trapped in these pores, causing blackheads.

When treating any condition on the face, it is important that you first make certain that your hands are clean. Also reframe from pinching and picking at the skin, this will only cause the bacteria to spread thereby making the problem even worse.

Remedy 1 – ICE

Ice has a skin tightening effect, but also it stimulates blood circulation on the skin thereby promoting a healthier and more youthful looking skin.

  • Wrap a few ice blocks in a clean face cloth and place it on the skin.
  • Leave it on for around 30 seconds.
  • Rinse your face with ice cold water.
  • Apply moisturiser.


Apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent and skin toner. Due to its properties, apple cider vinegar tightens the skin, reduces the appearance of the pores and balances the PH level of the skin. Apple cider vinegar also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

  • Mix water and the apple cider vinegar in equal proportions.
  • Apply the mixture onto the face with a cotton ball.
  • Leave the mixture on the skin for a few minutes.
  • Rinse and apply moisturiser.

Remedy 3 – EGG WHITES

Egg whites tone and tighten the skin.

  • simply whisk an egg white.
  • Apply the mixture to the face.
  • Leave on until the mixture dries completely.
  • Rinse off and apply a moisturiser.

Remedy 4 – SUGAR SCRUB

  • Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Gently scrub your face for 30 seconds.
  • Rinse the mixture off and apply a moisturiser,

Remedy 5 – BAKING SODA

Baking soda is used in skin care as a exfoliant.

Baking soda

  • removes oil from the skin.
  • removes debris from the skin.
  • Has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with luke warm water.
  • Gently exfoliate the skin using circular motions.
  • Rinse the mixture off and apply a moisturiser.


Yogurt contains probiotics and lactic bacteria which helps keep the bad bacteria at bay.

  • Apply a thin layer of yogurt to the face.
  • Leave the mixture on for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse off and apply a moisturiser.






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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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