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When life gives you lemons...

Here are a few tips how to use lemons other than for cooking:

  1. Sooth sunburn by using cotton balls and gently applying diluted lemon juice to the skin. The juice acts as an astringent and relieves the skin.
  2. Clean and exfoliate your face by washing it with lemon juice. You can also dab lemon juice on blackheads to draw them out during the day. Your skin should improve after several days of treatment. Make a face mask using lemon and honey.
  3. After shampooing, rinse your hair with water and lemon juice to prevent dandruff and to remove soap film.
  4. Apply lemon juice to cuts to disinfect them and help them heal faster.
  5. Mix lemon juice with olive or almond oil to help treat eczema.
  6. Combine lemon and papaya juice to get rid of athlete's foot.

Have your cosmetics expired?

Ever wondered what this symbol on the back of cosmetics ranging from sprays to shampoos, from lip balms to sunscreens and everything else in between means?

Well now stop wondering :P This symbol simply shows for how long the product will be fit for use from the date of opening. So for example, the picture shows the number 12, therefore the product will only be good for one year. If the number is 3, it will only hold for 3 months and so on and so forth.

A quick word about sunscreens and other lotions...when you first buy a lotion, its texture is in fact that of a lotion i.e. creamy and not liquid. When the creams are pst their expiration date, they will turn liquid and you may see a clear liquid on top of the cream. That is a sign that you should throw away the product not keep it for the years to follow!!! The clear liquid is the emulsifying solution used to keep the product together and once that is no longer good, parabens in the product will form free radicals in the skin causing it to slowly mutate the cells and possibly lead to cancers.

The skin...what is it exactly?

Hello my beauties and welcome to the first 'proper' blog post!

I in this post I will be explaining what our skin is and how it carries out its functions. I think this is an important topic since if you understand how the skin works you will be in a better position to take optimum care of it...with rewarding results :). So, ladies I encourage you to read on...

The skin is the largest organ in the body and it covers and protects each and every underlying tissue and organ from bacterial invasion. It covers an area of around 1.2 - 2 metres squared and accounts for 12% of our total body weight.

Even during our sleep, the skin is continually working to help protect and regulate body processes to keep us healthy. Therefore it is important to get at least 8 hours of sleep each is not called a beauty sleep for nothing! If the skin's natural protective functions are distorted, problems will arise.

Throughout our body, skin varies in thickness, being thicker in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Thick skin is called glabrous skin and is characterised by a greater number of tactile nerve endings, an absence of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) and also a thicker epidermis. It is thinner on the lips and eyelids...hence the delicateness of these areas. Thickened skin occurs due to friction and pressure as well as exposure. Cold sensations contract the skin whilst warm sensations relax it.

The skin is made up of 3 layers:

  • Epidermis
  • Dermis
  • Sub-cutaneous fat

The epidermis

This is the uppermost layer of the skin also known as the superficial layer. It protects the deeper living tissues from bacterial invasion and harm from the external environment. The epidermis receives nourishment from a liquid known as interstitial fluid. The epidermis can be divided into 5 layers, namely (top to bottom):

  • Stratum Corneum ~ consists mainly of dead, flat flakes or keratin. These flakes are shed through a process known as desquamation. The life span of epithelial cells is between 32 and 36 days and about half of this time is spent in this layer.

  • Stratum Lucidum ~ as the name suggests, this layer has a clear, almost transparent appearance. It is only a few cells thick and it is a water barrier zone. A clear substance called eledin fills the spaces between the cells in this layer.

  • Stratum Granulosum ~ this layer is made up of living cells and as they move upwards, they are converted to keratin in a process known as keratinisation.

  • Stratum Spinosum ~ known as the prickle cell layer due to the prickle-like threads that join the cells together.

  • Stratum Basale ~ the deepest layer of the epidermis and cells receive their nourishment from the dermis and they are living cells. When skin is superficially damaged, it is repaired in this layer. In this layer, we find specialised cells called melanocytes. These cells secrete brown pigment called melanin and its production is controlled partly by genetic factors and part hormonal secretions. The function of melanin is to protect us from UV radiation injury and the more exposure, the more pigment is produced, that's why we tan in summer! One in every ten cells of the basal layer is a melanocyte. Absence of melanin gives rise to a condition known as albinism whose sufferers cannot stay in the sun due to totally white hair and skin & also pink eyes with poor vision.

The Dermis

This layer is located beneath the epidermis and is known as 'true skin'. It is a mass of connective tissue that contains blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerve and nerve endings, sweat galnds, hair follicles, small muscles and sebaceous glands. The bulk of dermal tissue is formed from collagen. The dermis is divided in two layers, namely, papillary layer and reticular layer. The former supplies nutrients to the basal layer of the epidermis and due to the dense vascularity, provides warmth. The latter layer consists of yellow elastin fibres and strong reticular tissue. Elastin looses elasticity with age and excessive exposure to UV light, making the skin sag and appear wrinkled....always remember to wear sunscreen! If skin is stretched, the fibres rupture and leave scars commonly known as stretch marks.

The Sub-cutaneous layer

This is really fatty tissue. It's function is to provide insulation to the skin as well as protect underyling organs from blows.

I hope you will find this post interesting and I look forward to answering any queries you might have.

Stay Beautiful,

Lara xoxo