Inspirational Woman: Tania Malan | Founder & Clinical Director, Uniskin

Tania MalanTania Malan is the founder and clinician director of Uniskin – a UK-based wellness clinic with a global vision.

She has thirty years’ experience in trauma and medicine in South Africa and the UK. An eternal student, she has four degrees, three of them at Master’s level, as well as diplomas in midwifery, psychiatry and general and community nursing. Tania has a deep appreciation of what it is to live well and strives to support everyone to enjoy balance, gain hope and feel ageless. Her new book, ‘Ageless – the cellular secrets to looking and feeling your best’ is due for release in June 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I was born and raised in South Africa during apartheid and the Angolan war. Growing up, I witnessed horrific violence and atrocities and as we shared our habitat with wildlife, it required us to remain vigilant to animal attacks and treating injuries.

I desperately wanted to become a marine biologist, however, unfortunately, just as I finished school and planned to commence my studies, my father’s business went bust, and we lost everything. I was accepted into a nursing college and started my four years of in-service training in a big hospital bordering several game reserves, Mozambique and Swaziland. Our training included midwifery, community nursing, psychiatry, and general nursing.

As the need was great, I decided to specialise in trauma medicine. Working in trauma in that particular part of South Africa is indescribable; we used to treat up to 30 stab wounds a day, including gunshots, stepping on landmines, motor vehicle accidents, crocodile and hippo attacks, venomous snake bites, as well as, treating heart attacks, asthma, and strokes etc.

I then emigrated to the UK for better work opportunities and more peace. Little did I know that I would complete four degrees, lecture at several universities, continue my research, set up my practice and become an author.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Although I didn’t choose to nurse, I am grateful for the serendipitous opportunity that opened a whole new world that changed my life significantly. Moving into aesthetic medicine allowed me to build funds and impact people more positively whilst building a new business around agelessness.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

As a young adult, I was pretty hot-headed, strong-willed, angry and selfish and strived for independence. I learned that my anger is caused by frustration and that life events are there to mould and shape me and that mistakes do not define me or dictate the rest of my life.

Life is complicated, and catastrophic events occur all the time. We can control it somewhat by choosing how we will respond to it and learning coping mechanisms from the outset. Mistakes form us and are necessary on this journey of life.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Many people helped me achieve success, but my parents and my husband are the most profound. My parents encouraged me in everything I do and my husband is my rock.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Really understand nutrition. Not the bits and pieces we get from media, influencers and fad diets. There is so much more behind nutrition. Every process in our body depends on the correct order of amino acids (building blocks) in our body, which must be performed if we are to survive. Following diets blindly without understanding and considering your body’s specific needs can eventually lead to accelerated ageing.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

Our greatest aim at Uniskin is to work with researchers to measure our patient outcomes and track progress. The aim would be to use the research, which could be written into policy and rolled out over the UK and eventually globally. Ageing is a disease, and it is time to overhaul thinking about ageing and create a paradigm shift in treatment and the management of ageing.

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