The Dancer & The Dermatologist

The skin is not merely a cloak that covers the vital organs. It is in itself a mirror of the body and soul. When we are embarrassed, we blush. We become pale with fear and our skin is sallow when we are unhealthy or depressed. A friend will often take one look at you and remark, “What is happening to you… aren’t you keeping well?”

Go on a crash diet or stop exercising and the skin and hair are the first to register the change. The skin is also our ID card for the person we meet. It can tell the casual onlooker at a glance your daily routine. Your puffy eyes will tell when you have fought with your spouse or overslept and your copper-brown tan can tell the story of your holiday in Goa. The healthy glow of an individual in control of his or her lifestyle and the dull lifeless appearance of the over-indulging party animal are a study in contrasts. Just look into the mirror closely today….what stories do you see in the skin that are reflected back to you?

If the skin and hair are such an important part of any individual’s persona, this must be doubly true for a dancer or any performing artist. We live in a world that demands that we be well-groomed and presentable and this is specially the case for performers in the field of arts. No amount of foundation or make-up can camouflage basically flawed skin, and the process of excessive make-up can itself result in more problems. The solution to this vicious cycle is definitive lifestyle changes that should go hand in hand with skin care and treatment. No amount of expensive creams and cosmetic procedures are going to undo the damage of smoking, lack of sleep and unhealthy food. But if we are willing to make those basic, simple changes in our life, then the world of modern medicine and cosmetology has a lot to offer.

What are some of the common procedures that one can use to improve facial skin?

The simplest and probably most effective cosmetological procedure is a peel treatment. It is a modern version of grandmother’s recipe for healthy skin. In earlier days vegetable and fruit extracts were crushed to form a face-pack that was applied and left to dry. Modern cosmetologists have isolated the active part (alpha hydroxy acids or AHA’s) of this face-pack; these AHAs or clean-up extracts are used in peel treatments that can clear acne, acne scars and pigmentation.

There are also high-tech procedures ranging from the laser treatment for blemishes to botox injections for wrinkles as listed in the table below…

Modern Cosmetic Procedures



Peel treatment

Pigmentation, Acne, Scars, Skin rejuvenation


Acne Scars

Laser treatment

Scars, Growths

Under-eye treatment

Puffiness, Pigmentation

Hair treatment

Hair loss, Poor texture


Deep pitted scars


Eyebrow creation


Keloidal scars

Botox injection

Frown lines, Crow’s feet

Filler injections

Creases, Wrinkles

What special foot-care does a dancer need to follow?

Some basic rules of foot-care are specially useful for dancers:

  1. Soak your feet in warm water with rock salt once or twice a week.
  2. Use a pumice stone regularly. A corn or callosity can be catastrophic for a dancer.
  3. DO NOT cut your toe-nails very short.
  4. Take care of fungal infections of the nail. See our skin specialist immediately.
  5. Cracked feet lead to infections. Don’t delay treatment with soaks and use appropriate ointments recommended by your doctor.

What are the cosmetics recommended for use?

Each person has a unique skin type and your soap, shampoo and cosmetics should be chosen based on this. For example, those with dry skin should choose a non-soap cleanser that is of neutral pH, and use a moisturizer every night. But a person with very oily skin may need a cleanser and astringent. It is therefore not practical to recommend a general set of cosmetics or skin care that will suit any individual. A sunscreen and a moisturizer are a part of every person’s skin care kit. It is also a common rule never to go to sleep without removing all make-up.

The Ten Commandments of Skin Care

  • Drink plenty of water. It does wonders for the skin.
  • Avoid crash diets. Eat sensible balanced meals.
  • Always remove your make-up completely at the end of the day.
  • Carry your own personal make-up kit with products that suit your skin.
  • Regular exercise is a part of skin care.
  • A moisturizer and a sunscreen are important for everyone.
  • What works for your friend’s skin need not be good for you.
  • Home remedies are not always harmless.
  • Always consult your dermatologist before using something new.
  • A happy healthy smile is the best make-up.

Dr.Anil Abraham is a dermatologist and aesthetic surgeon. He is trained at Stanford University where he specialized in cosmetic procedures including laser surgery and went on to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He has also been a Rotary Exchange Fellow to England. He has received the Pope Paul Award for best medical graduate and numerous university gold medals. He has authored national and international publications in his field and is a popular speaker on skin and cosmetology. His clinic in Bangalore caters to the who’s who of the city’s elite. He is presently Professor of Dermatology at the St. John’s Medical college in Bangalore. His other interests include theatre and writing, both of which he manages to combine seamlessly with his profession.

Call: 080-2261560 for appointments;