WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) – May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, but one Main Line dermatologist has made it her mission to get people thinking about sun protection year-round. She’s doing it through her innovative clothing line called AmberNoon.
The clothes are lightweight and breathable but most importantly, they provide as much sun protection or more as 50 plus SPF sunscreen. Dr. Erum Ilyas says the average T-shirt only has a SPF or UPF of just 3 or 4.
“No one is really thinking about everyday sun exposure,” she said. “So the thought was what if we came up with a way to make wearing sunscreen as easy as getting dressed.”
Dr. Ilyas knows what she’s talking about. The board certified dermatologist has seen her fair share of troubling skin cancer cases.
“Skin exams, I do about 150 a week, almost 7,000 a year,” she said. “What I was realizing was that the incidence of skin cancer is still rising. However, these are patients that are aware of the sun, but are still getting a lot of sun exposure.”
In 2016, she started developing AmberNoon, named after her daughter. The aim was to design clothes that were not only stylish, but also protect the wearer from excessive sun exposure without using any harsh chemicals. Dr. Ilyas says the protective factor is all in the intricate weaves of the fabrics she uses.
“Our textiles, we’ve put them through 40 washes, to make sure they maintain an UPF of 50 plus and we can honestly say they all do,” she said.
Pieces range in price from $75 to $200. From coverups to dresses, all of the items have what Dr. Ilyas calls reveal and conceal features.
“We have those sleeves where you can always roll back the sleeves if you want to, but each sleeve always has these thumb tabs on them, so that if you’re driving and such, you can always protect the back of your hand,” she said.
The women’s line has been so successful that AmberNoon has recently added accessories and men and children’s lines are in the works.
“If we could protect our kids from getting a sunburn, studies have shown we can drop their lifetime risk of skin cancer significantly, some studies have shown as high as 70 percent,” Dr. Ilyas said.
Patricia Hartman is a client of Dr. Ilyas who admits she doesn’t love putting on sunscreen, but clothes are a different story.
“I’m very fashion conscious and I think she’s done an incredible job. I love it,” Hartman said. “Anything you don’t have to do that makes life easier. And it’s easier to throw on an outfit.”
The grand opening of AmberNoon’s flagship store in Wayne is Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be discounts, giveaways and a talk about skin cancer prevention.
Macy’s is also testing out AmberNoon at stores in Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta this summer.