You love Persolé but you may wonder how founder and designer Lisa Walsh developed this fashionable celebrity-owned sun protection accessory. In this blog, we will discuss the origins of Persolé, how it came about, and why sun protection is so important.

The Development of Persolé

Parasols and umbrellas are not a new concept, they have been popular since the beginnings of civilization and can be found in Ancient Chinese, Roman, and Persian cultures. In the early 20th century, as American and European people began their love affair with the sun and tanning culture, the modern parasol began to virtually disappear from the accessories market. Lisa Walsh, developed her Persolé brand out of necessity.

As a young mother,  Lisa was tired of “baking in the sun” at her son’s sporting events. She was tired of having to crowd with other parents under the very limited shade trees available. One day, she decided to give up and bring her own shade, a typical umbrella. “I quickly discovered that I was still getting UV rays through the thin fabric and I was also extremely hot underneath the wide arc of the umbrella, and  I  could no longer could feel any breeze at all”.

Lisa also felt ridiculous carrying an umbrella. After that embarrassing day, carrying her umbrella. The first thing she did when she got home was search the web. She was determined to find a chic, stylish UV parasol that she would be proud to carry and that would FULLY protect her from the sun. She was shocked “what I envisioned, simply did not exist “. That’s when Lisa discovered there was a huge gap in the sun protection market.

Lisa then created the modern Persolé shade. Developed by Lisa Marie Walsh in 2011, Persolé, caters to smart, skin-conscious and stylish consumers with its stunning line of Italian-crafted, UV protection couture umbrellas and parasols. Persolé’s double-layer Italian sateen canopy is rated UPF 50+ (the highest protection available for fabric) blocking out 99.7% of harmful UVA/UVB rays. 


Used by celebrities, including Gwen Stefani, Jane Fonda, Anne Hathaway, and Steven Tyler these luxe umbrellas are summers biggest trend in skin protection. This “chic shade” is both fashion-forward and functional and enjoyed by those with the pension for luxury and a travel-rich lifestyle. This simple anti-aging technology is both safe and effective in protecting your skin from UV damage, without the harmful chemicals found in many sunscreens.

 

Gwen Stefani with her Persolé Parasol

Skin Cancer Awareness

While UV protection is important for anti-aging, the most important thing about UPF 50+ rating is the prevention of skin cancer and melanoma. Skin Cancer Awareness is important for people young and old to take steps against a potentially fatal cancer.

Skin cancer the most common of all cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), more than 5.4 million non-melanoma skin cancers are treated in 3.3 million people annually (this is more than the number diagnosed with breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined).

Statistics also suggest that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. About eight in 10 of those cancers will be basal cell carcinomas (BCC); fewer will be squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). Melanoma, the most serious, only makes up only about 1 percent of skin cancers, but it’s also the most deadly.

While many believe that topical sunscreen prevents skin cancer, the truth is many sunscreens leave their users only partially protected. The purpose of sunscreens is they offer protection from two types of ultraviolet (UV) rays: UVB, the chief cause of sunburn and development of skin cancer, and UVA, which penetrate the skin more deeply and are largely responsible for skin aging and wrinkling, as well as skin cancer risk. 

However, most sunscreens are not providing the kind of protection users are expecting. First, many sunscreen users are not applying their sunscreen correctly or enough. According to Teen Vogue and Dr Steven Q. Wang, MD, a dermatologist and spokesperson for the Skin Cancer Foundation “Most people don’t use enough sunscreen, so the real SPF protection they’re getting is about one third of the labeled SPF,” Dr. Wang says. “So, if you have a product that says [SPF] 60, you’re really getting an SPF of maybe 20 or 30.”

Also, people who regularly spend time in the sun, are getting UV damage that sunscreen cannot prevent. The only way to prevent this kind of sun damage is by covering up completely in UV-protective clothing and arming yourself with a hat and Persolé or staying completely out of the sun.

Why Skin Cancer Prevention Is Personal

The fair-skinned Ms. Walsh is no stranger to skin cancer. Lisa gets her yearly skin cancer checks and to date, has had three basil cell carcinomas removed from her skin. Her most severe is a most severe, is 1 ½ inch scar on my upper chest with “too many stitches to count” according to her plastic surgeon.

This last one was the most concerning, according to Lisa it was “an irritated spot on my chest that kept bothering me for a few years. I asked two dermatologists about it and neither one thought it was an issue. Just this past November, I finally insisted that they biopsy the section”. Her biopsy came back with the following diagnosis:

Basal Cell Carcinoma, superficial pattern, extending to the tissue edges

Sections show aggregates of peripherally palisaded basaloid keratinocytes attached to the undersurface of the epidermis and a patchy lymphocytic infiltrate

The dermatologists at Dermatology Associates of Marin gave her two options: A lotion that would irritate the area and “dissolve” the bad cells, or to cut it out. Lisa wondered “how do you get clear margins” and they said, “you can’t”.  So she opted to have it cut out surgically by a plastic surgeon, Dr. Nikolov in Beverly Hills.

According to Walsh “He is very conservative and went by the pathology report to decide how deep to cut.  This left about a ½ inch scar. A week later, he called me back and said that he did not get clear margins. I had to go back in, and lay there for over 2 hours while he then cut an additional 1 ½ inch incision, had the newly removed tissue sent to pathology for testing, to determine whether the margins were clear before he was able to close up incision again. “ Dr Nicolov, stated that the bad cells had spread a lot further than what the initial pathology report had determined. She says “Thank God for him! And thank God I did not chose the lotion as recommended!”

Walsh learned from her most recent skin cancer experience, that it is very important to be your own best advocate when determining course of treatment. She says “I could care less about the scar, it’s simply a constant reminder of how diligent we all must be when is comes to protecting ourselves from the sun”.  

Lisa Walsh and Steven Tyler with his Persolé

How Lisa’s Story Is Important For You

Despite yearly checks, Ms. Walsh had to advocate for herself for the biopsy of her chest’s “irritated” spot. Persolé customers we remind you to take your health into your own hands and make sure you’re making your yearly trips to the dermatologist as well as monitoring potentially dangerous moles on your own. It’s important to check your moles and spots on a monthly basis to help determine a baseline for what is normal for your skin. If you find a non-healing scaly or bleeding lesion, or a mole that is new or changing in size, shape or color, see your dermatologist for further evaluation and possibly a biopsy.Melanoma Mole

Lastly here are some tips from the Cleveland Clinic, on how to perform a regular mole check!

Examining Your Skin

  • Perform skin self examinations monthly. It is best if you examine your skin after a bath or shower, while your skin is still wet.
  • Use a full-length mirror if you have one as well as a hand mirror for a closer view and a family member, if available, for the more difficult sites such as your back.
  • Try to examine yourself the same way every month to avoid missing any areas. We recommend starting at your head and working your way down. Look at all the areas of your body (including the front, backs, and sides of each area, and your fingernails and toenails). Also be sure to check the “hidden” areas: between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet, and the backs of your knees.
  • Don’t forget to thoroughly check your scalp and neck for moles.
  • Keep track of all the moles on your body and what they look like. Take a photo and date it to help you monitor them. This way, you’ll notice if the moles change. If they do change in any way (in color, shape, size, border, etc.) or if you develop a sore that does not heal, see your doctor. Also see your doctor if you have any new moles that you think are “suspicious.”
  • The most common location for melanoma in men is the back. In women, it is the lower leg. Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25 to 29.
  • Pay special attention to moles if you’re pregnant, going through menopause, or at other times when your hormones might be surging (including the teen years).

The ABCDEs

The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be cancerous. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:

  • Asymmetry—One half of the mole does not match the other half.
  • Border—The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular.
  • Color—The mole has different colors, or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
  • Diameter—The diameter of the mole is larger than the pencil eraser.
  • Elevation/Evolution—The mole appears elevated (raised from the skin); or the mole has changed.

Lastly the Cleveland Clinic suggests “you should always be suspicious of a new mole that develops after the age of 20. Many of these growths that appear after the age of 20 are harmless age-associated growths rather than moles; however, if you do notice a new growth, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she will examine the growth and perform a skin biopsy if needed.”.