So, how did you become a doctor?
I wanted to be one from very young. I come from the Punjab region in Pakistan and one thing I noticed as a child was that doctors were the most highly respected people and my first thought was that I wanted to have that same respect. That inspired me, and then came a love of medicine. I went to the Dow University of Health Sciences in Karachi and then achieved my postgraduate degree – an MS in dermatology – from the world-renowned St John’s Institute, King’s College London.
Obvious question, but what exactly does a dermatologist do?
Put simply, we’re skin doctors. That includes dealing with everything from diseases such as skin cancer to anti-ageing treatments like botox and fillers. At the Dermacare Skin Centre in Jumeirah, which I founded 18 years ago, we cover all these areas across several departments. In our clinical dermatology unit, we have diagnosed 10,000 cancer cases in 15 years. I was one of the first dermatologists in the Middle East to introduce the modern technology of mole mapping for early melanoma detection.
You must see a lot of interesting cases relating to allergy?
We do. There’s the normal ones, of course. Reactions to fabrics, perfumes, insect bites, and foods. But there was a case where the man was allergic to his wife’s saliva to such an extent that even a peck on the cheek could trigger a rash breakout.
What’s popular in cosmetic surgery now?
Botox, fillers, anti-ageing treatments, body reshaping and even hair transplants. One that is quite common at the moment is eyelid fat reduction. This is one of those signs of ageing which, no matter how fit and healthy you are, is difficult to prevent. People look after themselves with what they eat and how much they exercise, and they just want a bit of help in this department.
What’s the best way to look after your skin in the first place?
It’s really common sense. Keep it well hydrated by taking plenty of fluids, eat healthily, apply good sunscreen if exposed to sun for more than 30 minutes and do a whole body scrub once a week. Avoid smoking and excessive sun too.
You’re known for having treated celebrities too. Anyone you can tell us about?
Well client confidentiality means I can’t speak about too many but perhaps the most famous I can mention is Katrina Kaif of Bollywood. The first time she came to me was because of an accident.
She was doing a shoot at the Burj Al Arab and the hair stylist was in a hurry and while he was spraying her hair he ended up spraying it to on her face as well. She had a bad reaction. Her lips and eyes swelled up and, at this time I was the on-call consultant to the hotel, so they brought her to my clinic.
It must be very rewarding work when you treat someone of such importance…
Of course. But I always say do not become a doctor to become rich or famous.
You must do it because you care for people and because you have a love of your patients. This is the truly important thing.