Meet Dr. Saima Jamal Usmani, a dermatologist by profession and an artist at heart. Dr. Saima was born and brought up in Mumbai, nurtured in UK and settled in Kuwait.
Read our exclusive interview with Dr. Saima to know more about her nad the dermatology field in Kuwait.
Tell us about your education.
I earned my undergrad medical degree (MBBS) in Mumbai. Then pursued my masters in Clinical dermatology at Cardiff university (UK) where I fell in love with the subject! Learned the art of aesthetic dermatology at London Aesthetic academy. Completed a fellowship in dermatolasersurgery from Mahidol university in Bangkok. Trained in performing hair transplant surgeries in Mumbai.
What or who inspired you to become a dermatologist?
Funny you ask cause dermatology was not always my first choice. I wanted to be a surgeon! But with a turn of events in my personal life I decided to pursue dermatology and I thank God everyday for that cause I’m so in love with my specialty. After brushing just the tip of the iceberg (when I first encountered the subject), dermatology itself inspired me to become a dermatologist! It was my true calling.
How and when did you land in Kuwait?
God’s plan! Again, Kuwait was never on the agenda. I only ever knew Kuwait to be a country with the most expensive currency in the world. Marriage brought me here. I remember vividly arriving at the peak of summer 2019. The automated airport doors opened to a gust of hot air on my face and my husband standing with a bouquet of roses saying “Welcome to Kuwait!”. Slowly, but surely I began to adapt to the culture and love the country with all it had to offer. What impressed me the most about Kuwait is its belief in women empowerment! Now I consider myself lucky to be working as a female dermatologist in a place that is considered the cosmetic capitol of the world.
What excites you about your career?
Learning! Dermatology is a swiftly evolving branch and along with aesthetics it has brought to light a whole new genre to explore. In the last few decades there has been a massive positive leap in the treatment modalities available for dermatologists. Understanding of skin conditions and evolution of pharmaceutical drugs has come a long way. Major advances in laser technology and refinement of injectable products has got everyone excited. There is a lot of literature and data available for us to further our practice now. There is something new to learn everyday.
What is your favorite part about being a dermatologist?
Restoring the confidence and self esteem issues that a lot of patients go through with their skin conditions. A smile and a bond of trust with my patients gives me the fuzzy feels.
What are the current trends in beauty procedures and skincare?
The pandemic world has seen a significant shift in beauty trends. With social distancing still in play, the need to wear makeup has declined and people are moving more towards the ‘skinimilistic’ approach. This in turn has given rise to consumer awareness especially with the knowledge thirsty Gen Z which has pushed the beauty industry to have a more transparent relationship with the buyers. People want to know what ingredients are in their skincare products and how exactly do they work! A lot of them are now looking at products with clean or organic ingredients. CBD- infused skincare is creating a buzz. Maskne is another reason why people will be opting for less make up. The Covid era has also seen a high rise in the number of hair thinning cases(mainly due to stress). PRP, hair care products & ampoules, hair strengthening supplements are now need of the hour !
What are some of the most common beauty procedures you perform on a regular basis?
Profound is one of my favorite procedures to perform. Also known as ‘Skin Botox’ the procedure has a high patient satisfaction rate. It results in brightening, pore reduction, tightening and rejuvenation of the skin. Overall a filter like effect in real life ! Other than that I’m a big fan of laser rejuvenation and pigment removing procedures.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the beauty industry?
The current definition of ‘Beauty’ itself ! I blame Instagram for that. It pains me to see that a lot of women look like clones of each other now. We desperately need to break out of this photoshopped flawless world and keep it real. It is crucial for doctors to counsel patients and push them in the right direction. I always try to work on my patient’s skin first- cleansing, resurfacing, rejuvenation and then anti-ageing procedures(Botox, fillers, threads etc). I strongly believe in the ‘less is more’ approach and I wish more doctors would practice it. Just having good skin can make a world of difference. Influencers play a significant part in the beauty industry. A host of them are now brazen enough to embrace their natural avatar and hopefully everyone will jump on this positive bandwagon.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Don’t forget your sunscreen!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Babies and cats! Lots of them!
What do you feel is the key to your success?
I believe all success stories revolve around hard work and determination. It does takes time and patience. But truly the key factor in my life has been the constant support of my loved ones. My parents have been by my side every step of the way and without them my success would be incomplete! You always need to surround yourself with people who understand what your profession means to you and are willing to accept the pros and cons of that lifestyle. I feel blessed to have found a partner who cradles me in that respect.
What beauty and skin care products can’t you live without?
I swear by niacinamide! It’s an all rounder. Protects the lipid barrier of the skin, de-stresses the skin of pollution and excessive free radicals, reduces pigmentation, helps with acne and wide pores, prevents signs of ageing and more. I follow a simple skincare routine- a hydrating cleanser with urea followed by a mild AHA toner or simply rose water. Next up is my niacinamide serum. Top it up with a moisturizer sans too many actives. Always finish with a sunscreen. I do alternate with anti-oxidant rich serums for a couple of weeks. This routine may not fit all skin types. All routines need to be tailored according to the patient’s skin type and needs. It’s worth mentioning retinols. Even though they aren’t part of my current routine, I do prescribe them a lot. They need to be used under the right guidance for best results.
With summer upon us, what is the best way to prevent sun damage while enjoying the great outdoors?
Well, we are wearing face masks most of the time now so that provides some protection from the sun. However, sunscreen is the most important skincare product that we must all own. Make sure you cover all parts exposed to the sun. Other than that, don’t forget you sunglasses. A wide rimmed sun hat could double up as sun protection and a style statement. Loose, light colored cotton clothes are best to beat the heat and reflect a lot of light. For those who are extra cautious, an umbrella would be a good weapon to prevent skin damage while outdoors.
What are your greatest beauty secrets?
Plenty of water, green tea, Vitamin C intake, diligent cleansing and skincare routine. I spend more on skincare products than make up! I seldom wear foundation so I’m always motivated to keep my skin on point.
What is your life motto?
To give back to society. Whether it’s a kind gesture, helping someone in need, financial support, passing on the knowledge that I have received or motivating people to bring out the best in them. I try to do whatever little is within my reach. I strongly believe anyone who is in a position of power must utilize it to benefit others.
Describe yourself in one word.
How do you relax after a stressful day?
It’s very simple – Netflix & chill!
Your message for us at CP magazine.
CP is so elegant! I love the concept and the execution of the magazine. And more importantly keeping the legacy of ‘magazines’ alive is the most amazing thing that you guys are doing. It’s truly an honor being part of this. Thank you very much for having me as your guest this month.