Sheldene’s thoughts on…

05:49 06 November in Laser & Skin Clinic, MASC Laser Clinic, Sheldene's Thoughts, Skin Cancer


The inspiration behind MASC Laser Clinic

I’m often asked why I started a skincare clinic at Somerset Surgery. The answer is simple: skin cancer.

As a qualified skincare therapist, it was always my intention to develop skincare at Somerset Surgery – as an added value to our cosmetic patients. But I didn’t think of it as a big priority. Rather that I would grow the practice into this direction when the time was right. To my surprise, we were simply overwhelmed by the number of skin cancer patients who were walking through the door. Not a day goes by that our plastic surgeons are not diagnosing or surgically removing skin cancer.

I realised that removing the cancerous lesion had not healed the skin in any way. The process simply got rid of the most damaged part – the cancerous lesion. For example, if a lesion was removed from the forearm, the entire forearm was still sun damaged and it would only be a matter of time before the patient returned to have another lesion in the same area removed. A thought struck me: The patient’s skin was dying, while the patient was still living. I felt compelled to do something. Firstly, to educate the patient about the use of sunblock to prevent further damage and secondly, to give the patient “medicin I felt compelled to do something. Firstly, to educate the patient about the use of sunblock to prevent further damage and secondly, to give the patient “medicine” to reverse the damage years and years of sun exposure has caused.

In private practice, I rapidly learned the difference between squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas and malignant melanoma (please see Skin Cancer – 5 Warning Signs for more information). I learned that a benign-looking white pearly bump under the skin could be a malignancy and that a fairly innocent-looking coffee stain on the skin could be a deadly melanoma. Suddenly starting a skincare clinic to provide our patients with good skincare products that would heal their sun-ravaged skins became an absolute PRIORITY.

Way back in 1992, when I was working as a skincare therapist in Sea Point, there was much excitement in the skincare industry about a new medicinal-looking product called Tretin A. This vitamin A-based cream was created by a South African plastic surgeon. Never before have I experienced such a phenomenon. I simply could not keep the product on my shelves! All my clients were seeing fantastic improvements on their sun damaged skins. Vitamin A is the only skincare ingredient known to work on the damaged DNA of a cell – not only stopping further damage, but actually returning the cells to the way they functioned in their undamaged youth. Tretin A evolved into the Environ skincare range – named so because it was specifically developed for skins damaged by over exposure to the environment. Fast forward to 2007. I knew my retired golfers, gardeners and sun worshippers would all benefit from this product. I went on an Environ refresher course and immediately began providing Environ skincare products to our skin cancer patients – with great results.

Since the dangers of sun exposure have become so real to me, my family and I no longer spend any time in the sun unprotected. I encourage you to follow suit. Speak to one of our skincare therapists at MASC Laser Clinic to find the most suitable sunblock for daily use. And whatever you do, do not ignore lesions on your skin that you suspect are new or are changing in some way – consult one of our plastic surgeons immediately!