Updated: Aug 23
There is a real need for the physician entrepreneur - who better understands the causes of our ailments and directly addresses them than those who manage and treat them every single day? Read more...
Can you share a bit more about how and when you decided to start your own clothing line? Was there a particular experience you had or a trend you saw among your patients that inspired you?
The real inspiration for starting AmberNoon has been my patients and the alarming trends in the rising incidence of skin cancer. I see about 6,000 patients annually and noted that are trends in sun damage that appear to reflect patterns of behavior when it comes to applying sunscreen. Most of my patients will remark that they wear sunscreen on their faces every day, but on their bodies- not so much. There are clear areas – the V area of the chest, back of the hands, forearms, and neck- that are simply getting missed when it comes to daily UV protection.
After telling patients every day for almost 15 years to wear sunscreen every day, all over based on the volume of patients I see this could be well over 100,000 times – I can tell you it’s hard to get the message across! There are lots of barriers and excuses to using sunblocks- some don’t like the feel of them, some don’t like the smell, some don’t like the idea of chemicals, etc.
I have nothing against sunblock- I wear it every day! But I realized the message is not getting through. This is when I thought “What if wearing sunscreen was as simple as getting dressed?” In my dermatology training, I had been taught to tell people that the sun protection of a white T-shirt is only a 3. I said this so many times for years and then one day thought- why can’t it be higher? When I sat down and researched textiles and started testing them I realized that it can absolutely be higher if an effort was made to choose the right textiles in the first place. I also made it a point to address the concerns patients had about chemicals. Although most sun-protective brands use treated textiles with added chemicals for sun protection, my research allowed me to find textiles that did not require the added chemicals based on the tightness of the weave or knit of the textile.
That’s when I started designing clothes and pulling together my various passions in art and medicine to make clothes with sun-protective textiles and design elements intended to help us reveal and conceal our skin - protect our skin from the sun when needed but also allow us to reveal our skin when we like as well! I made it a point to design clothes intended for daily wear to work and play and not just athleisure as most brands are currently.
What's the response been to your clothes? What's the best reaction/comment you've gotten?
The response has been tremendous! I often get calls from our consumers thanking me for providing a product that was simply not available. I actually got a call once where the woman told me “I didn’t even realize why I kept getting new skin cancers when I thought I just had to throw a wrap on when outdoors until your line helped me understand what was wrong.” She thought a simple chiffon scarf would protect her skin if she hid underneath it but didn’t realize that the UV was making its way through. I also realized the wider scope of people this has benefitted- our lupus and autoimmune patients, premature aging of the skin, photosensitivities to medication, and discoloration of the skin, etc.
Do you know any other doctors who've also started other clothing lines for wellness reasons?
I have not come across other doctors with clothing lines but I have seen podiatrists with shoe lines. I have always thought it was brilliant. Consider the fact that you cannot buy a coffee without a warning it can burn you but you can buy 4-inch platform heels with no warning about what could happen to your ankles when you try to take your first step!:) The physician entrepreneur is the key to better products in the wellness space- Who better understands the causes of our ailments and directly addresses them than those who manage and treat them every single day?