Des Fernandes FRCS studied medicine in South Africa and came to Britain to qualify as a surgeon in Edinburgh. He initially specialised in cardiology, working in various National Health Hospitals. He returned to South Africa to join the team of heart transplant pioneer Professor Christiaan Barnard.
He was particularly affected by two teenagers with skin cancer (melanoma), both of whom subsequently died. He became committed to research the most effective ingredients to maintain healthy skin from an early age, and to treat sun-damaged and problem skin. Determined to do what he could to rectify this situation, he initiated his own research.
Now also widely recognised for his contribution to skincare, Dr Fernandes created his first two creams in 1988. These were based on ingredients that were proven to improve the health and appearance of the skin - in particular, vitamin A, antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta-carotene, and alpha hydroxy acids.
This innovative combination was not used by any established skincare company at that time. Initially used to treat his own patients, he set up a company to market Environ products in 1990. The Environ range has expanded and is now exported and distributed through beauty salons and doctors in more than 60 countries.
Dr Fernandes has developed an innovative treatment machine that combines iontophoresis (galvanic current) and sonophoresis (sound waves) to promote healthy, good looking skin without any of the destructive process used by other anti-ageing techniques. This salon treatment significantly enhances the penetration of anti-ageing ingredients for rapid, effective results on photo-aged, pigmented and scarred skin.
Dr Fernandes’ other novel concept is the Roll-CIT, which is a tool he devised for use by medical practitioners initially, and later in a version for home use. He began researching needling applications for skin rejuvenation in 1996. He developed the micro-needling technique as part of his mission to help everyone to maintain the healthiest possible skin. He is the co-contributor to the latest study on medical needling which was published in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgery, April 2008*.
The at-home personal roller device enhances the penetration and effectiveness of anti-ageing treatment products by creating 0.02 to 0.2 mm deep micro channels in the horny layer that normally protects the skin. The roller uses scores of tiny stainless steel needles to enable active ingredients in skin care products to penetrate more deeply and in greater quantities than simply applying the preparation to the surface.
Two version with longer needles, that penetrate the dermis, are used by medical practitioners to treat scarring and to reduce lines and wrinkles by directly promoting production of fresh collagen and elastin. The Medical model has 1mm needles and the Surgical model 3mm needles. Vitamin A and C skincare is part of the pre- and post-operative programme for best results.
Dr Fernandes regularly lectures on advanced skin penetration techniques at international medical conferences and is a contributor to a number of medical books and publications.
* Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008 Apr;121(4):1421-9. Percutaneous collagen induction therapy: an alternative treatment for scars, wrinkles, and skin laxity. Aust MC, Fernandes D, Kolokythas P, Kaplan HM, Vogt PM.
“Environ products will remain a world leader in this industry”
He subsequently returned to his initial plan of plastic surgery, specialising in cleft lip and palate repair, and in facial and neck cosmetic surgery, a field in which he has an international reputation. In the course of this work he came across many patients with wrinkled, sun-damaged skin. It became apparent to him that there were no preparations on the market that he could prescribe to safely and effectively repair or prevent such photo ageing.
Dr Des Fernandes
World-renowned plastic surgeon and founder of Environ