Dr. Jacqueline Beer Spreads Her Sun-Smart Gospel

SolSister SolSmart

"My Sol O earned the family-fashionistas'
thumbs up and this doctor’s seal of approval." - Dr. Jacqueline Beer

Jacqueline Beer, dermatologist

We're lucky to have Dr. Jacqueline Beer, well known NYC dermatologist, on the Sol La La advisory board. With more than 20 years experience, Dr. Beer sees, first hand, the damage the sun's harmful rays can do to skin. At her practice, Eastside Medical and Aesthetic Dermatology, Dr. Beer’s patients range in age from newborn to octogenarian. We caught up with Dr. Beer in an exclusive interview to help spread some of her sun-smart gospel to our sol sisters.  

What happens from spending unprotected time in the sun?

The sun is very destructive to your skin. You can get dark stains (melasma or solar lentigos), lose pigment, develop a rough texture to your skin or provoke skin cancers such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.The incidence of the most dangerous, melanoma, is rising dramatically.

How prevalent is skin cancer?

I see Melanoma on a regular basis, at least twice a month. Melanoma is a cancer that usually begins in the top layer of skin, but can very quickly break off and spread to other organs. Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are the most common types. They are slow growing and usually localized to the skin, but are also capable of spreading. Usually, I’m able to surgically remove the cancer and my patient is fine. But, if the cancer metastasizes, there’s limited treatment. The treatments are improving, but there’s no cure.

How aware are your patients, and the public, about risks of sun exposure?

We think people’s sun protective habits have improved. But there is growing evidence that the sun is more damaging today than it was 50 years ago. Ironically, people worry about how many X-rays they get at the dentist, yet they lay in the sun unprotected. The sun’s UV rays are radiation.

I care about my patients and am clear with my sun warnings. The issue with skin cancer is, while it’s not likely to kill, it is likely to mutilate your skin permanently with scars on the face and body from removal procedures - that’s the extreme of course.

In growing numbers, people are realizing the sun’s impact. But, unfortunately, too many people still care more about their appearance than their health and have the attitude, “it’s not going to happen to me.” They’re addicted to the sun.

How does body image play into sun protection?

I totally get the desire to be “tan.” Everyone looks healthier with a little bit of color. I admit it, I put bronzer powder on my face. But I am careful about sun exposure and have taught my 18-year-old daughter to be careful in the sun. She gets a little sun, but mostly she uses self-tanning lotion to warm up her skin tone after the long winter. There are many safe products on the market.

Is sun exposure damage preventable?

Yes. It’s all preventable.

When you look at a typical 70+ year old woman you often see dark age spots on her face, chest, shoulders and back of hands. Interestingly, if you were to see her naked, her butt would probably be blemish free because that skin was never exposed to the sun.

Changing social behavior is key. Years ago, it was uncool to wear bicycle helmets and people didn’t wear seatbelts in cars. The goal is for people to similarly feel “naked” without sun protection and for style to enhance/promote sun-smart living. That’s what I love about Sol La La.

Why did you join the Sol La La advisory board?

I think Abby’s on to something. Make it easy for women to protect themselves by giving them clothes they’ll love to wear and show off - it’s beautiful!

Before I agreed to join the Sol La La advisory board, I took a Sol O on vacation. I put it to the test in Mexico on a trip with my sister, niece and daughter - the family fashionistas. We had fun tying it in multiple styles. It looked great with so many outfits and was effective at blocking the sun. Now, they all want one :)

My Sol O earned the family-fashionistas' thumbs-up and this doctor’s seal of approval! I know where I’ll be buying their birthday presents this year, sollala.com!

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