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Power Women 2020: Dr. Erum Ilyas

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Photo by Tessa Marie Images

Founder of Montgomery Dermatology and AmberNoon.

As a dermatologist and founder of Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Dr. Erum Ilyas has honed in on a common theme: the prevalence of the most common cancer in the U.S. “We’re doing skin cancer screenings routinely,” she says. “We’re constantly seeing precancerous spots with skin cancer.”

Having seen more than her share of cancer or precancerous cells, Ilyas made the leap to apparel that protects the skin from the sun. “I would see skin cancers on backs and backs of arms and other covered areas where patients would say, ‘Why did I get it there and not on my face when I always have a shirt on?’” she says. “When I really started to research textiles and understand them, I realized that there are a lot of problems with the kind of clothes usually used for summer.”

Ilyas’ AmberNoon clothing line is made of tightly woven fabrics that protect the wearer from harmful UV rays, offering the equivalent of SPF 50. Initially launched in 2017 as a women’s line, it has since expanded to clothing for men and kids. Meanwhile, the AmberNoon II by Dr. Erum Ilyas collection debuted this past spring on QVC. She also landed a coveted spot as a fellow with the Tory Burch Foundation last year.

Ilyas also has a small skincare line with a mineral-based sunscreen that addresses her patients’ concerns. “The biggest challenge they face is that it’s messy, it leaves a white cast on their skin, and it has a smell or an odor to it,” she says.

Through the Association of Pakistani Physicians in North America, Ilyas works with patients as far away as Pakistan, where her parents attended medical school. Using a telemedicine platform, Ilyas and others communicate with doctors overseas to help diagnose problems and make recommendations. “Not only can I help them treat the patient, but I use it as a teaching opportunity,” she says.

See all our 2020 Power Women.