Dr Des Fernandes is a speaker at the SCF online Scientific Meeting and Skin Health Symposium.

Topic: Science of photoprotection – where we have been and were ae are going of photoprotection

Skin Health Symposium: Vitamins and the skin

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

Scientific Meeting:
Holistic sun protection
Protection from sunlight with a sunscreen is not enough. We need antioxidants to deal with the rays that get through the sunscreen. Furthermore, protection should be continuous and so cosmeceuticals containing vitamin A, B3, C, E and polyphenols offer us the best chance to not only protect skin, but also treat the damage of sunlight. Vitamin A as retinyl palmitate has the advantage of being a natural sunscreen to an SPF value of 20. Cosmececeutic ingredients add to the power of sun protection and help reduce our exposure to organic sunscreens

Skin Health Symposium:
Vitamins and skin health
A number of vitamins play an essential part in skin health. Dominant is vitamin A the controls growth, differentiation and maturation starting from time of conception till the end of life. Vitamin A esters protect from the development of skin cancer and are also inbuilt sunscreens. Vitamin C, E, B3, carotenoids and polyphenols also protect skin and are useful either topically or as supplements. Together with vitamin A we have a holistic protection of the skin than not only reduces photoaging, but also in many cases, reverses the damage.


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 graduated M.B.;B.Ch. from Witwatersrand University in 1966 and originally trained as a cardiac surgeon but then after completing that, I reverted to my original plan and started training as a plastic surgeon in 1975.

In 1979 I became the surgeon in charge of the Cleft Lip and Palate Unit at Red Cross Hospital, and I remained the head consultant in the department till 2000.

I started private practice as an aesthetic and reconstructive Plastic Surgeon in 1979 and I am still in private practice at The Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Cape Town.

I have focused on facial surgery for most of my career and that is also why I realised that we need active cosmeceuticals to maintain or restore healthy skin.

I started researching the prevention of skin cancer in 1979 and as a result encountered the importance of vitamin A and also the, then controversial, role of antioxidants.

My interest in the prevention of skin cancers has never waned. Since my search for an established skin care with these ingredients delivered no results, I resolved to make a small laboratory and make the products I believed my patients needed.

This developed into Environ Skin Care. In turn I investigated ways to increase penetration into skin and in 1966 started researching low frequency sonophoresis (LFS)and iontophoresis that had been described by Mitragotri at MIT. As a result, I became the first person to use LFS on live human skin (my own) and in skin care.

Further investigations pioneered skin needling from 0.05 mm all the way up to 3.0mm. I continue researching how to physiologically regenerate young skin.

I am a member of the Association of Plastic Reconstructive Aesthetic Surgery of Southern Africa, the International Society Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, International Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and DASIL (Dermatological Aesthetic Surgery International League).

I am also an honorary member of the Onizuka Society. I have written a number of chapters for textbooks in plastic surgery, pharmaceutics and dermatology. I have also co-authored text-books for skin needling, facial surgery and skin care.

In 2018 I was awarded Adjunct Professor of Plastic Surgery at University of Cape Town and I received the DASIL Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 2019.