Dr Fernandes studied medicine and graduated with an MB BCh at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He obtained this surgical education and training [specialising in cardiology], FRCS [Edin] from the College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1973.
After training in various hospitals in the UK he returned to Cape Town, South Africa to work as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon and joined Professor Christiaan Barnard in the world-famous heart transplant unit of Groote Schuur Hospital where he became part of the world’s first heart transplant team. Dr Des was also responsible for the illustrations of the ‘Piggy-Back” or “Double” heart transplant.
In 1975 he returned to his passion, Plastic Surgery, and eventually became the consultant in charge of the Cleft Lip and Palate Division at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital for 21 years. As a result of his expertise, he was made the Fellow of the Plastic Surgery Unit at Show University in Tokyo.
In 1979 he commenced a private practice in the field of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery, the speciality in which he continues to practice today and in which he is internationally renowned. Dr Des has written numerous papers and chapters for medical publications on various plastic surgery procedures, and in more recent years he has studied, written and lectured around the world on skin health and skin rejuvenation using vitamin skin preparations and technology.
Through intensive research he discovered the essential role vitamin A plays in skin health. He became determined to create a skin care range that would maintain healthy skin, especially as the incidence of sun-related skin disorders was growing worldwide.
He pioneered the use of vitamin A in high doses to help counteract the harmful effects of the environment, pollution and stress to create radiant, visibly improved skin in the 1980s. What followed has become a legacy of scientific innovation that is today celebrated and respected globally.
Starting with the creation of Environ in 1990. A year later Environ introduced the world to the first vitamin A skin care system – the Environ Vitamin Step-Up System, followed in 1992 with the world’s first chemical and physical sunscreen with antioxidants.
Dr Des’ innovation continued with the creation of the world’s first safe and effective Environ Cool Peel Technology system in 1994. He also pioneered skin needling or Collagen Induction Therapy in 1996. Ionzyme, the brand’s premium Vitamin Step-Up System range, launched in 1997 and was the world’s first “made-to-order” vitamin A skin care regime.
In 1998 he took Environ’s skin care knowledge into the technology field with the launch of the Electro-Sonic Ionzyme DF Machine – the world’s first dual technology, low frequency sonophoresis and iontophoresis facial machine. It’s no surprise that these achievements culminated in Dr Des receiving the Marquis Who’s Who Award in 2011.
As Environ’s maverick scientist and doctor, he continues to research and develop progressive new products that allow Environ to redefine the boundaries of global skin care. In 2016, Dr Des was awarded the international Innocos Innovation Leader of the Year in the product category. Environ was awarded Top Medical Skin Care company by the prestigious and highly revered Aesthetic Everything Awards for 2018 and 2019.