Dr Des Fernandes is a speaker at the SCFSA online Skin Cancer Update.

Doctors Meeting and Skin Health Symposium Topic: Holistic Sun Care Skin Health Symposium Topic: Percutaneous Needling Paradigm

M.B.; B.Ch; F.R.C.S.E.

Doctors Meeting: Holistic Sun Care
It is important to realise that sun care is not simply the application of sunscreen chemicals onto the skin.

We have to recognise that not only UV rays, but also visible light and infrared can damage skin, and we need to address all of them.

We are best at protecting from UVB rays, but we have to realise that they are about 0.1% of UV rays.
Not only that, but we can only achieve about 40-60% protection from UVA rays, which are over 99% of the rays we encounter.

Skin needs far more than simple UV protectant chemicals, we need a wide variety of antioxidants, especially the basic vitamins E and C as well as carotenoids which are normally the major chemicals in the skin.

We need to maintain our vitamin A-levels in the skin because vitamin A is very sensitive to sunlight, so we easily walk around with a localised vitamin A deficiency in our sun-exposed skin.

That’s the main reason why we get the signs of ageing and eventually solar keratoses and skin cancers.

Niacinamide is also essential to prevent not only basal cell and squamous carcinomas but may play a part in reducing melanoma.
A variety of chemicals such as polyphenols also play an important part in protecting the skin.

The main message is: do not rely on sunscreen!

You need additional topical vitamins A, B3, C, and E, carotenoids, and polyphenols to get the best protection and save your skin from wrinkles, pigmentation, lax, unattractive skin that gets keratoses, and skin cancers

Needling Masterclass Session 1 Skin Health Symposium: Percutaneous Needling Paradigm
My talk will illustrate the principles of skin needling with rollers from 0.1 up to 3 mm and demonstrate the regenerative effects of skin needling on Caucasians, African Blacks, and Japanese patients.

While I believe topical vitamins A, C, and antioxidants are essential to get the best results, most of the ongoing research is now focussed on skin care with peptides and other treatments that augment the results of skin simple needling.


The Cosmetic Surgery Insitute

Private Practice
Developed the Environ Skin care range


Red Cross hospital

Head consultant Cleft Lip and Palate Unit


University Witwatersrand

M.B.;B.Ch trained as cardiac surgeon

Dr Des Fernandes: history and accolades


I was born in Mayfair, Johannesburg in 1942 and then matriculated at Hill High School, Johannesburg.
I studied medicine at the Witwatersrand Medical School and graduated in 1966.

After working first at Natalspruit Hospital and then at Edendale Hospital, in 1969 I went to the UK with the intention of getting a fellowship in surgery from the UK so that I could work in Mozambique.

I intended to become a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, but Life took me on a different course and I worked at the London Chest Hospital, got the F.R.C.S.(Edin), and returned to Cape Town in 1973 to join Prof. Christiaan Barnard’s cardiac surgery unit at the time when he was working on the “piggyback” heart transplantation.
I was responsible for the illustrations of the “piggyback” or double heart transplant.

In 1975, I reverted to my original plan and started training at Groote Schuur and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospitals in the Department of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

That entailed a lot of cooperation with the Department of Dermatology and the treatment of skin cancer, and in particular, melanoma, which at that stage was changing from a rare condition to a much more common problem.

In 1979 while searching for ways to prevent melanoma I became informed about vitamin A and the then-crazy concept of free radicals.

This research on vitamin A eventually led to me and my sister, Val Carstens founding the cosmetic company, Environ Skin Care in 1990.

In 1997 I started needling skin to see if I could improve scars and rejuvenate skin.

Fortunately, I was the Scientific Director of Environ Skin Care and also Vivida SA c.c. which is the company that makes the needling devices that I use.

I was able to design and research skincare devoted to treating the effects of light irradiation on the skin, as well as optimizing the effects of skin needling.

Concurrently, I established private practice and joined my mentor Dr David Davies as a Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgeon in Cape Town in 1979.

My special interests are facial rejuvenation and reconstruction.

For 21 years I was the Consultant in charge, at Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic, Red Cross Hospital Cape Town, and retired from that position in 2000.

I am still active as a plastic surgeon at The Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Cape Town

I have written a few books, papers, and chapters for medical publications on Scarless Face and neck lifting procedures and skin needling for collagen stimulation.

Furthermore, I have lectured at many Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Congresses and Dermatology Congresses throughout the world, and I still receive invitations to lecture at various congresses.

In 2018 was also given the title “Adjunct Professor” in the Department of Plastic Surgery of the University of Cape Town.

2019 I was awarded the DASIL Lifetime Achievement Gold Medal for my work in skin needling.

In 2021, I was given a Lifetime Achievement award from the Skin Cancer Foundation of SA.

Environ avoid high SPF
Winner 2021 SCFSA lifetime achievement award