Beauty & Fashion
Meet Dr Lev from the Dermatology Room…
Dr Lev is a specialist dermatologist who focusses on great skin – and she is truly a walking testament to her own practise. Soft spoken, yet passionate about skin (yes, we discovered that you can love skin care), Dr Lev resonates an inner and external beauty too.
The Dermatology Room is beautifully decorated and exudes a calm atmosphere with an efficient and knowledge team who are happy to assist with any query. Of course, we headed through with a few queries for Dr Lev, one being a mysterious bump on our nose, and with freckled skin, it was about time for a skin check-up too.
Dr. Lev got us on to the chair and started inspecting everything with her expert eye, and we were relieved to hear that our sensitive skin was looking good, however the mysterious nose bump turned out to be something that needed some cream to clear it up. Dr Lev even prescribed some great skin care suggestions to our current routine as well as some samples to take and try at home.
Where did you study – and how long does it take to become a Dermatologist?
Dr Lev studied at The University of Natal, and it’s quite a long process to become qualified – roughly 9 years in total, and then you have to wait for your posting or position. The wait can be up to 7 years, due to the limited number of Dermatology positions available. It is a highly sought-after field and there are only about 200 Dermatologists in South Africa.
Is that enough Dermatologists – it sounds very little considering our population size?
She thinks that we really do need many more Dermatologists and skin care practitioners. Everyone should have access to one, not only is the South African sun very harsh and skin cancer is very prevalent in this country, but also there is a high incidence of skin cancer that is related to HIV.
Dr Lev did her research on this type of skin cancer, and often found that treating patients in the state service, in which she spent many years, that many could not afford the medicines to sort out their skin, so they would come back in a worse condition because they couldn’t get the treatment they needed. This is indeed something that is a cause for concern and more Dermatologists and more emphasis on skin care with the health system would be a huge benefit to all South Africans.
Why would someone need to see a Dermatologist?
Anything that concerns you about your skin should go straight to a Dermatologist. They treat many things from hair loss, nail care and concerns, eczema, acne, cirrhosis and much more. Skin pigmentation changes – lightening or darkening of skin areas etc, all of these should be checked out.
How often should you have your skin checked?
Most people only come when they see a Dermatologist when they have an issue and leave when it cleared. But ideally it should be more preservative care, but it’s a change of mindset. Once a year at least, and immediately if you have an issue that concerns you.
When should you start using skin care products?
As soon as you can. So, a basic cleanse and moisturise, kind of around the time that kids are able to brush their own teeth they should start taking care of their skin too. Sun protection is vital, and kids should be wearing sunscreen from the moment they are born, no matter their skin tone.
We tend to play catch up in South Africa – but honestly, you only have one skin, and you should preserve it as best you can.
Three things that every woman should have in her skin care artillery?
Sunscreen – obviously! Find a good one. Some skins react to certain sun screens, so chat to your Dermatologist. Even on grey days you should wear a sunscreen, UV rays come through the window, through the car windows, you are always exposed to the sun.
Retinoid – it is the product that can give you everything. It helps to improve dullness and keeps skin refreshed and renewed – helping to regulate the skin cycle. Retinoids help to teach the pigment cells how to turn over at the right rate to keep skin fresh and renewed. Use it at night.
Vitamin C – use in the morning. Our skin doesn’t take in Vitamin C from diet, so we need to use a Vitamin C cream. However, Vitamin C is not a stable ingredient, so you need to make sure that the amounts and strengths are strong enough to get the job done. It is a very powerful antioxidant too.
We get one on one with Dr Lev…
Books or movies or why? Books – you can create the pictures in your head – imagine!
Item of clothing you love right now? It would have to be a little black dress. I have tons of them – but they are just so versatile.
Bucket list travel destination? Hmmm, Paris, New York and I dream of visiting Dubrovnik in Croatia – it’s just beautiful.
Favourite South African food? I love koeksisters. There is something incredible about them, so sticky and gooey, but they are just heavenly. A guilty pleasure for sure.
Best piece of advice you ever received and from who? My mom. I was so nervous to start this practise, although I wanted to step out on my own, I needed a little push. She encouraged me to just to believe in myself and jump. If you don’t jump you can’t fly!
One thing you can’t do that may surprise people? I can’t ride a bike, LOL!