Renaissance Man: Dr. Oscar Sotelo, McAllen dermatologist, talks about the key to living a successful, balanced life.

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By Joey Gomez / Photos By Ivan Ramirez

A true renaissance man is a person whose expertise and knowledge spans a different number of subject areas.  Local dermatologist, Dr. Oscar Sotelo, is the epitome of a renaissance man.

Driven by an energy that belies his age, Dr. Sotelo says he grew up in an era when people had to rely on themselves during hard times.”When I grew up, I had to do everything for myself.  When I was a teenager, I went to school and studied hard, but I also worked everyday.  I had to do things for myself because no one else was going to do it for me.  Because of that, I am a versatile person.  I adapt easily to changes.  I think that people my age have had a similar experience,” Dr. Sotelo said.

According to Dr. Oscar Sotelo, people who are successful are not only inventive, but also risk takers.  “You don’t have to be an expert. All it takes is a little knowledge to get by.  My best advice would be to try and live a balanced lifestyle.  Work hard but take time to do things you enjoy.  Economically speaking, don’t put all of your energy and money into one venture.  Take risks.  Branch out.”

Dr. Sotelo is identified with many different life roles: Physician, businessman, publisher, entrepreneur, outdoorsman, husband, and father.  A graduate of McAllen High School, Dr. Sotelo completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M. He then attended the University of Texas-Medical Branch in Galveston before joining the Air Force. Following a tour in Vietnam, he completed a three-year residency in dermatology.

After finishing his residency, says Dr. Sotelo, “I chose to come back to McAllen after 14 years away. I wanted to come home and give back in any way that I could.   And I feel that I have made many positive contributions to the community.”

Dr. Sotelo has been in practice for over 34 years. “My patients have a variety of skin problems. My specialty is diagnosing and treating people with different types of skin cancers and benign lesions.”  Over the course of his career he estimates to have performed over 50,000 procedures, ranging from surgical skin cancer operations to the treatment of various lesions afflicting patients.

“As far as skin cancer is concerned, for every 10 degrees south you travel, the prevalence of skin cancer doubles. Dr. Sotelo said. “The sun exposure and injury that occurs over a period of years finally catches up with you.  That, coupled with aging population, means that there are a vast number of cases of skin cancers in South Texas”

Dr. Sotelo used his medical expertise to develop a line of hair growth products for men and women, which he intends to launch in the near future.  The product, called “Kapelli-Plus” is safe, all-natural, and effective. A daily supplement promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails by delivering essential nourishment; and a daily application of a gel to the scalp will help grow, condition, and style your hair.

Dr. Sotelo is also part owner of a small company called Bar-lift, which manufactures and sells rebar supports for concrete foundations. Since 2003, the company has sold more than 15 million pieces and continues to grow and develop new products. According to Dr. Sotelo, “That is a small company we have developed that has made a huge contribution to the industry and safety of people in the community.  I am proud of it.”

Dr. Sotelo is also the publisher of an annual fishing guide entitled the ‘Lunar Transit Times’, now in its 18th edition. This calendar provides fishermen and hunters the best times to go hunting and fishing according to the lunar cycle.”The fishermen and hunters of the RGV know me because of that publication,” Dr. Sotelo said.  “In South Texas, hunting and fishing are great sports.  I have been doing it all my life, and I love it.”

“All of these different ventures and activities I do are deeply rooted in my hobbies and my passion for medicine and business.  So while yes, I do work hard, I am doing something that I love every single day.  But I also value my health, my family, and my friends.  No matter the situation, I think positive and have a deep faith in my God-given talents.”

“To me, a renaissance man is a person who is inventive, who is productive.  He is able to adapt to changing times and has knowledge and life experience about many different things.  He is someone who is willing to gamble every now and then, even if it means getting lucky only once in a while.”