Our resident dermatologist, Dr. Levashni Naidoo is under the spotlight this month. We get her take on skin care and beauty…
Why did you become a dermatologist?
As a teenager, I had quite severe nodulocystic acne, which made me feel incredibly self-conscious. As the condition progressed, I became increasingly reserved. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see beyond the blemishes, and I thought this was what others I encountered focused on.
I was fortunate to have been treated by an incredibly gentle, understanding dermatologist who prescribed a course of medication that quietened down my acne activity and prevented me from developing any permanent scarring. I cannot describe how the improvement in my skin helped my self- esteem.
A diagnosis of a skin condition differs from diagnoses in other medical disciplines. It is often a diagnosis a person wears for the world to see. I’m sensitive to this – I understand it from my own experience. One of my greatest blessings is being in a position to help others as I was once helped. I love seeing my patients return looking and feeling more comfortable in their skin. What I love most of all is hearing their stories – how the improvement in their condition helps return their self-confidence and how this filters into and helps improve other aspects of their lives, both personal and professional.
What are the most common skin issues you see in your practice?
Skin changes can occur at any time in a person’s life. As a dermatologist, care for our patients may start from their first day. I love treating little ones. Commonly, I see infants with cradle cap, heat rash or a nappy rash. Children usually have inflammatory skin conditions like atopic eczema or skin infections. Both teens and adults often come for consultation regarding their acne.
Given our sunny climate in South Africa, disturbances in pigmentation form a significant portion of my patients’ concerns. Increased pigmentation includes photoageing, melasma and drug-induced hyperpigmentation. Other sun-exacerbated disorders range from rosacea to the more concerning end of the spectrum including skin cancers.
I also see many patients with alopecia (hair loss). This is a condition I am particularly sensitive to as many of my family members have a history of early onset alopecia.
Le Beauty Club recommends:
For acne: Noreva Exfoliac (teen acne) and Actipur (adult acne and sensitive skin), Bioderma Sébium range. These comprehensive ranges have products to treat mild to moderately severe acne, including product that complements medical treatment
The best skin-care advice you’ve been given
Skin care is an important aspect of self-care, and self-care is an integral component of self-respect.
The skin-care advice you give your family, friends and patients
Choose your skin care as you would your friends: quality over quantity, gentle rather than agitating, substance before packaging.
At what age should you start using a skin-care routine?
It’s never too early and it’s never too late to start a good quality skin-care routine.
What should you use?
Sunscreen, always sunscreen! This is a mantra many have openly and thankfully embraced. Sunscreen is just one side of the coin.
The flipside includes the use of antioxidants. Effective antioxidants for the skin include vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium. Antioxidant delivery to the skin is superior when applied on the skin as opposed to taking it orally. Antioxidants are essential ingredients that combat reactive oxidative species generated by environmental toxins like pollution, smoke and radiation. Additionally, vitamin C has added benefit of improving collagen synthesis and regulating melanin (pigment) production. Antioxidants are commonly prepared as serums. I prefer my antioxidant delivered in my moisturiser. I’m a firm believer in a minimal-step-easy- to-commit to skin-care routine.
Le Beauty Club recommends:
Our comprehensive selection of leading dermatologically created and EU-approved sunscreens for all skin concerns and all ages.
At what age should you start considering treatment against environmental damage?
We’re blessed with a beautiful sunny climate for most of the year in South Africa. A disregard for moderation in sun exposure can carry significant consequences, ranging from premature skin ageing to skin cancers.
Protection from excessive ultraviolet, visible and infrared light exposure should start from infancy – with appropriate protective clothing and keeping to shaded areas when you and your loved ones do have to be outdoors.
Sunscreen use in little ones used to be recommended from 6 months onwards. Currently the recommendation has been altered to allow for earlier use of sunscreens where protection may not be completely afforded by the use of protective clothing and where keeping in the shade is not possible.
Your skin is… a complete reflection of how you feel from day to day and the space you find yourself in. In embryology, we learn that the skin cells develop from the same space as the brain cells – the neuroectoderm – and so there exist these amazing channels between how we feel and the way our skin presents itself. This is an association that must be respected and appreciated when trying to care for the skin holistically.
My make-up reflects how I feel or what I want to project. Most often I’m drawn to soft, neutral elegant shades, but there are days when I love the glamour of a powerful bright red lip.