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What should I look for in a sunglass lens?

Just before you dash out the door, you reach into your drawer of sunglasses and grab a pair. Great job! At least you’re onto positive, proactive and protective behavior. But, do you really know anything about the lenses in that pair of eyewear? And why good lenses matter for long term UV eye protection and eye health? We’re all about protection at Coolibar, and eye protection is no different. Like skin, eyes can sunburn and sustain damage, eye cancers and more. In fact, eyelid skin is extremely thin and susceptible to melanomas, so protecting your eyes is as essential as protecting your faces, necks, arms and legs. And did you know that lens effectiveness can diminish in time? A study was released that proved, like food in our refrigerator or medications, the protective ability of some sunglass lenses can degrade in time and negatively impact eye protection.

UV rays, those wavelengths invisible to the eye are the most dangerous part of sunlight. They can cause cataracts, eyelid cancers, and other skin cancers and are believed to play a part in macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss for people over age 60. In addition, UV rays can prematurely wrinkle and age the skin around the eyes. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends shade, diligent sunscreen application, sun protective clothing, and wide-brimmed hats. They also don’t want you to forget about the shades too. That said, we know sunglasses are super high tech and can be confusing; it almost requires an engineering degree to sort them out. With different colors, materials and different coatings, where do you start?

We can help. Our premium eyewear selection has been made for maximum UV protection. Blocking 100% of UV rays, offering perks like polarized lenses to kill glare and reduce eyestrain or bifocal lenses for reading outdoors. No matter your need or activity level, we have the perfect pair for you. While some sunglasses have coatings that wear away that UV ray protection quickly, we’ve handpicked our selection here at Coolibar so you can remain safe in the sun. Each of our sunglasses has high-quality lenses and come in a variety of lens materials. Here is a quick guide to different lens materials and colors to simplify the decision-making process.

Lens Materials

Glass

An optical quality glass is made from exceptionally pure sand that is free from metals and other foreign matter.  It is highly regarded for its optical quality and scratch resistance. To create glass lenses, the raw sand mixture is heated to high temperatures until it forms into molten glass. The molten glass is then dropped into molds and pressed into blanks which are then ground & polished into lenses.

 

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is thermoplastic and highly regarded for its light weight and unrivaled impact resistance. The polycarbonate material is heated to high temperatures and then injection molded to form optical quality lenses.

 

Other

Many sunglass companies create their own materials for their lens and the information about the materials used in their lenses are readily available and should be included in the product description that goes along with the item. Keep in mind that since companies are creating their own lens materials it could mean that a fancy name doesn’t mean a quality lens. Check into reviews from people who’ve tried the lenses before and check on the company to see the details about the lenses.

 

Lens Features

Polarized lenses

Glare, also known as polarized light, occurs when light rays reflect off planar surfaces like water, roads, or ice. Glare inhibits vision because the intense reflected light washes out the image the eye is trying to focus on, resulting in a blinding effect and/or reduced color saturation.  In environments where polarized light is prevalent, a polarized sunglass will greatly reduce the blinding effects of glare and enhance colors.

Polarized sunglasses contain a special filter inside the lenses that block horizontal light waves (glare) while allowing vertical light waves (good light) through so you see objects more clearly and colors more vibrantly on bright days.  A polarized filter works very similarly to Venetian blinds (pictured above) in that you can see out but a lot of the light is blocked from coming in.

 

Photochromic

Photochromic lenses automatically adjust the tint and light transmission in response to changing light conditions.  The benefit is you can wear one pair of sunglasses with lenses that aren’t too dark when the sun pulls a disappearing act, or too light when it knifes through clouds.

Photochromic lenses are activated (they change color) when the lenses are exposed to ultraviolet radiation.  Once the lens is removed from direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation, the lenses deactivate by going back to their original tint.

While great for sports applications, photochromic lenses are not ideal for driving conditions because most automobiles have UV filters in the windshield that prevent the lenses from activating.

 

Hydrophobic, Oleophobic & Hydroleophic lens treatments

Hydrophobic lens treatments prevent moisture buildup so rain and perspiration won’t leave streaks and sheens that can compromise your vision. Water droplets just ball up and bead off the surface.

Oleophobic lens treatments repel oils which make it easier to keep lenses clean. Skin oils, fingerprints, and lotions are more easily wiped away without leaving a residue so you won’t get that blurring film common to ordinary lenses.

Hydroleophobic lens treatments take the best of both worlds from Hydrophobic and Oleophobic and combine them into one special lens treatment!

 

Anti-reflective (A/R) treatment

Anti-reflective or AR treatments are applied to the backside of some lenses to reduce an irritating ‘ghosting’ effect that can occur due to light reflecting off the inner area of the eye. A/R treatments are commonly found on polarized lenses because they further reduce the effects of glare and the treatment generally makes the lens 2% darker. The treatment can be identified as a bluish tint located on the inside of the lens.

 

Mirrored treatments

Superheated metal oxides are applied to the surface of some lenses to reflect light, which further reduces the effects of glare.  These mirrored treatments are also used to tune the light transmission of lenses for specific sport applications or environments as well as for aesthetics.  We love the style that some of these treatments give the lenses.

 

 

Lens Tints

Brown lenses create greater color contrast, providing better visibility on solid-color surfaces such as ski slopes by highlighting the peaks and valleys, while yellow lenses are good for both contrast and depth perception, making it a good choice for golfers and for bicyclists who need to be wary of debris on the road. Grey lenses offer the truest color correctness.

 

Lens tints are used to help you enjoy whatever you want to do or activity you want to pursue. Although, all lens tints are great some are better for certain activities like being around open water or for golfing. It is a personal choice what lens tint you prefer but this information may sway you in the direction that would be best for you.

Blue

  • Good for open water, beach and tennis
  • Reduces glare from harsh sun and white light
  • Natural color contrast, soothing
  • All purpose neutral lens color for everyday

 

Green/Gray Green

  • All purpose neutral lens color for everyday
  • Reduces glare and eye strain in bright light
  • Colors appear more natural
  • Green tint during WWII helped pilots perceive correct colors

 

Gray Smoke

  • Good for outdoor sports, running, cycling, golf, on the water
  • Blocks light with minimal color distortion
  • Protects against glare
  • All purpose, good choice for daily wear and driving

 

Amber/Orange

  • Great for tennis, golf, skiing, sports, fishing, shallow underwater
  • Filters out blue light on overcast days
  • Improves contrast and depth perception
  • Everyday activities

 

Brown (Bronze or Gold)

  • Great for tennis, golf or skiing, any activity
  • Filters out blue light on overcast days
  • Improves depth perception/distance
  • All purpose, universally appealing to the eye

 

Yellow

  • Best for snow sports, hunting, and indoor ball sports
  • Allows maximum light in hazy, foggy, low light
  • Objects appear sharper indoors and outdoors
  • Good for sunrise, sunset, even night driving

 

Rose (Pink)

  • Good for a variety of sports
  • Enhances depth perception
  • Soothing to the eye
  • Enhances colors in low to medium light

Our current selection of sunglasses includes the brands below. Each hand chosen by our sun protection experts:

KAENON: Kaenon (pronounced: KAY-nun) emerged in 2001 from an intense passion and a clear desire to never compromise. Kaenon was founded by two brothers who were unsatisfied with the sunglasses available on the market. Determined to create something better, they developed the proprietary polarized SR-91® lens — the world’s first non-compromising polarized lens. Wrapped in unique, California-designed frame styles built for comfort and performance, along with distinct colorways and hand-painted treatments unique to Italian craftsmen, Kaenon sunglasses became more than a reality, they raised the standard in performance eyewear.

 

SMITH: Originating from Sun Valley, Idaho, Smith was founded in 1965 with the invention of the first snow goggle featuring a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam. With 50 years of innovation and design experience, Smith is widely known today as an industry leader that pioneers advanced eyewear and helmets that incorporate dynamic technologies, optimized performance and clean styling to fuel fun beyond walls.

 

SERENGETI: World-renowned for their unbeatable combination of style and performance, Serengeti doesn’t cut corners when designing their sunglasses. Serengeti Sunglasses incorporate unique innovations as well as features that other eyewear manufacturer regard as special add-ons, creating eyewear that is simply among the very best in the world. Serengeti will not only protect your eyes from harsh UV rays, but also improve your ability to see, so you’ll be able to better perform no matter what you’re doing – whether in sporting events, driving your car, or sailing a boat.

 

COSTA: As the leading manufacturer of the world’s clearest polarized performance sunglasses, Costa offers superior lens technology, unparalleled fit and durability, and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects on all of its products. Still handcrafted today in Florida, Costa creates what has been referred to as the highest quality, best performing sunglasses on the planet for outdoor enthusiasts.

 

EYEBOBS: eyebobs bifocal sunreaders are the perfect solution for those of you who refuse to be the one at the beach wearing sunglasses over your readers. With the built in bifocal reading lens, you can look down to read and look up to see in the distance. If you are new to bifocals, take time to get used to them and begin by using them for sitting and reading only. As you get used to them, you may be able to walk, talk, and juggle while wearing sunreaders.

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Live Healthy

I confess to loving the sun

We know that building your sun protection habits take time–we get that. Taking a proactive approach and working to develop a new relationship with the sun is something almost all of us have struggled with at one point in our lives including our employees here at Coolibar. This confessional was written by one of our employees who understands how important sun protection is and is working on how to be sun safe each and every day.

I have always loved the sun. There. I said it. Growing up with naturally olive skin (my mother is Australian, I used sunscreen daily. It was part of my regime as I prepared to soak up the warmth, the “rays,” and the bronzing effects of daily life in California. I grew up in the sun-kissed culture of the gold coast, where we enjoyed glorious days by our pool, sunny 72-degree days and year-round outdoor activities. I was one of those active kids, playing tennis, yard games, swimming, taking long bike rides in the heat of the day, while comforted knowing my skin tone and sunscreen was safeguarding me.

Feeling protected, I gave myself the freedom and permission to revel in the sun every chance I could get. If I’m really honest, I loved to tan and being tan. Bear in mind, with my heritage, it was easy for me to get dark, and I’ve never burned. Tan, for me, was not only natural, but I believed it was a definition of health and beauty. Tan was pretty. I loved how my skin looked, how I felt, and I somehow thought it made me look fit. As my hair took on the light blonde streaks of summer, I felt people could really see me as healthy; it was true confirmation of being an outdoorsy, fit, active person. This mindset, this feeling, and these behaviors are such a part of my life, such a deep part of my relationship with the sun, that when I came to Coolibar from the warm sunny spirit of California, I was flabbergasted. Talk about a game changer! I met with customers who needed total coverage from the sun, people with allergies, skin cancer, Lupus, those undergoing medical treatment and many, many people who wanted to prevent themselves from being in harm’s way. I learned about UVA rays and UVB rays and how much sunscreen to wear (1 oz., a shot glass full). I’ve learned about eye protection with the right sunglasses; I had no idea you could get eye cancer, cataracts and more from UV sun exposure. I’ve gone through my entire life blithely unaware, and candidly, thinking the sun was in my best friend circle.

Armed with all the facts, I know what it takes to take care of myself. I know better. Now, as I walk my sweet dog Frankie around my neighborhood lake, I stop to realize I need to “walk the talk.” I need to take to heart what Coolibar stands for, our mission to keep the world safe from the sun’s damage and represent our brand in its purest sense. I need to not get so tan. I need to change my friendship with the sun. We’re not breaking up, but we need to see a lot less of each other. On super sunny days, relaxing on the porch, I give myself 15 minutes of partial sun, while my arms and legs are slathered in sunscreen. (I actually use a timer.) I refrain from opening my sunroof in the car during early mornings and late afternoons. I hunt to find spots of shade when at the pool. At the beach, I use umbrella shade and hats. I remember long sleeves and long pants more often. I strap on a hat while I bike ride. For me, this is hard. It feels like I’m going against everything I thought to be right.

For some, making healthy food choices is hard, or being disciplined to get enough exercise or not drink too much. Those are easy steps for me. But, limiting my sun intake as recommended by Coolibar, that comes less easy. Some days are better than others. I know what my head says, and I know what my lifelong sun-kissed California girl heart wants…it’s conflicted and torn. I am in the process of redefining me, myself and my look. Fortunately, I work at Coolibar, the leader in UV clothing. Every day, I work with people committed to reshaping a healthy relationship with the sun, so we can all experience an active life, outside, looking good while staying safe. Minnesota summers are gorgeous, and I want to enjoy every minute of them before the winter cold takes over. Just know, for me, this is not easy. Old habits die hard, but I wake up every day invigorated by creating new ones and defining what is truly healthy.

We know that coming clean with this struggle is not easy. We applaud the effort and know that your new sun habits will become part of your life. It’s never too late to start something new! Share with us the sun habit that was hardest for you to break or that you are still working on in the comments below.

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Sun Smarts

All T-Shirts Are Not Created Equal

A cotton tee may not safeguard us at the beach, let alone on the street. Dry, a white cotton shirt provides and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7*, and wet from the pool, the protection level drops to about UPF 3, exposing us to UV radiation.

Today, 90% of skin cancers and premature aging are a result of UV exposure. As skin cancer rates are on the rise, this is one easy way to keep your skin safe from UVA and UVB rays. Coolibar’s ZnO t-shirts, tunics, dresses, hoodies, polos, and pants are super soft, comfy and UPF 50+, blocking 98% of both UVA and UVB rays. All our fabrics are guaranteed UPF 50+ from the first time you wear a shirt to the day you retire it. We may be t-shirt and fabric geeks, but the right fabric matters.  

 

What is ZnO?

ZnO is a proprietary Coolibar fabric, a blend of cotton, bamboo viscose (a natural UV fighter) fabric embedded with millions of zinc oxide minerals. What makes our ZnO fabric unique is the zinc oxide minerals are inserted at the fiber level and can never be worn or washed out; they protect you as long as you need them for the lifetime of the garment. Zinc Oxide protects against UVA and UVB rays and has many skin comforting qualities, often used on the most sensitive skin types.

 

Why are clothes called UPF instead of SPF?

Between UPF and SPF, the concept is essentially the same, to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation. What SPF is to lotions, liquids, and serums, UPF is to fabrics and clothing. Beyond the obvious difference between lotion and clothing, SPF measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays, the burning rays that lead to cancer. When applied correctly, an SPF of 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays (don’t forget to reapply too).  SPF doesn’t account for UVA rays which also can cause cancer and aging. Look for the broad spectrum on the label on your sunscreen.  UPF measures light transmittance, and Coolibar UPF 50+ blocks 98% UVA/UVB rays. Coolibar fabrics exceed all U.S. standards and are tested to the Australian standard, the highest rating standard in the world. All Coolibar fabrics are UPF 50+.

 

When shopping for your next t-shirt consider going with a tee with UPF power to keep your skin safe while you enjoy all of your adventures.

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Sunny Places

Have Coolibar, Will Trek Through Patagonia

Nearly nowhere on the planet is the earth so pristine and awe-inspiring than Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park in Chile and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park are the region’s top highlights, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. And most trekkers pack wisely and make a logistical plan to get the most of this remote piece of heaven. We recently caught up with a group of backpackers that brought us along on their journey and we can’t be more excited to share it with you.

This is what our backpacking friends had to tell us about their trip:

Our group of five wearing Coolibar, including little trekker 2-year-old baby Sóle, traversed the popular “W” trail of Torres Del Paine National Park over the course of 8 days. While we methodically planned and packed, what we didn’t plan for was the high winds, temperature swings – and we were there in the summer months! This was Coolibar put to the test in extremes, and we can universally say, bravo, we LOVE our Coolibar.

Juanpablo, dad to Sóle, was the master planner. Here’s what Juanpablo recommended for a pack list: 1) Light pieces to layer for cold evenings. You’ll likely wear your clothes, sleep in them and wear them again – if you’re really trekking. So bring things that breathe and insulate at the same time. We had some of Coolibar’s Merino Wool pieces. They insulate in cold, then wick and breathe in heat – made from New Zealand sheep and all the good sun protection Coolibar offers; 2) Breathable, wicking UPF 50+ sun protective clothing for high and hot points on the trip, and even just for sunny days despite temperatures. This is where Coolibar is your best friend; 3) A waterproof jacket and trekking boots; 4) The highest rated sunscreen for you and the environment. We recommend anything with Zinc Oxide as the active ingredient; it’s easy on sensitive skin, often these brands are non-toxic to people and environments and new formulas go on very smoothly; 5) Invest in the best sunglasses you can afford; eyes are needed for a lifetime. You’ll want lenses that don’t distort the color of the scenery but offer the best UV protection for your eyes from reflective surfaces like water and snow-capped mountain peaks. This is not the time to dabble in drugstore sunscreen or sunglasses; 6) A hat for blocking the sun is also a must-have. Your head will thank you; 7) Insect repellent and long sleeves to protect against these little biters called midges.

As with any mountain hiking (or skiing), be mindful the higher the altitude, the closer you are to the sun, the more UV sun exposure you receive. What’s more, snow surfaces can reflect up to 80 percent of UV radiation back at you – that’s roughly double the dose of what you’d receive in the course of an average day. By comparison, water is about 10 percent and dry beach sand is about 15 percent. All these surfaces bounce UV rays back at your face. Sunscreen and eye coverage is vital.

On the trail, temperatures vary between 5 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the course of a single day. Regardless of temp, we layered up our Coolibar. UVA rays are omnipresent, and UVB at these altitudes is much stronger. In hindsight, a gaiter would have been a great addition – both for sun protection and for shifting temperatures. We had some turtlenecks, but they are cotton and not nearly as UV protective as a Coolibar gaiter.

In addition to our camp gear and dehydrated meals in backpacks that we left at camp, we recommend a lightweight, packable daypack. These proved invaluable for water and snacks, particularly with Sóle. With all the exertion of climbing and hiking, having energy sources on hand is essential. Also, sunscreen was packed in daypacks, pockets and lip balm was on virtually 24/7.

For all our preparation, we were compensated in one-of-a-kind vistas of sweeping freshwater lakes, teal lagoons, ice floes, glimmering glaciers, lush valleys, and finally, the soaring mountain “towers” for which the park is named.

Our adventure proved how well Coolibar performs in extreme sun and heat, is a great layer in cold winds and evenings. Thank you for outfitting our trekking team. We are fans for life.

 

 

 

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Sun Smarts

Let’s Get Gross

This May, we are getting gross. Coolibar’s mission is to help protect the world from sun-related conditions and to support that mission we want to help educate people about skin cancer during the month of May. The ugly truth is that skin cancer is not fun or glamorous. We want to share the not-so-wonderful side of what happens after a skin cancer diagnosis with the hope that we can all help protect and prevent others from a potentially fatal or life-threatening form of cancer. Bear with us as we share stories to provide awareness, education, and spur prevention. We are among friends –now let’s get gross.

Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. In fact, in 2017, more than 160,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, with one American dying every hour of every day.

Unlike other forms of cancer which form internally, skin cancer can often be caught early. In most cases, there is something visible on the surface of the body in the form of a mole or changing freckle. Early detection is key and many people do not know what to look for. The “Let’s Get Gross” campaign invites survivors to share their stories, photos, treatment images, and scars, to help bring awareness and education to the forefront.

We are featuring valiant stories from skin cancer survivors Summer Sanders, TV host, reporter and 1996 U.S. Olympic Swimming champion and 3x Melanoma survivor, Ian LeonardFOX 9 Chief Meteorologist, and media notable Judy Cloud, among others. With a purpose of prevention from this potentially fatal form of cancer, our campaign shares explicit photos, gripping and reality-based stories and informational facts about skin cancer to encourage annual skin checks, self-protection from UV exposure with UPF 50+ clothing, hats and SPF 30+ sunscreen and by making a difference through knowing and sharing the facts.

Each survivor simply doesn’t want anyone else to endure what they’ve experienced and they don’t want anyone to go through losing a family member or friend to this vicious cancer.

Exposing the reality, the ugly truth unites us all in helping one another.

 

We want to share the person who inspired this campaign: Emma Betts. Emma was diagnosed with Melanoma at the age of 22 and had a terminal diagnosis. Some stories are not pretty or fun to tell but Emma knew telling her story could save a life, change a behavior, and prevent melanoma.

Emma described her blog Dear Melanoma as an authentic glimpse into the roller coaster that is life with Stage 4 Melanoma. As soon as any of us at Coolibar clicked to follow, we were on that roller coaster with her.

We got to know Emma through her pictures and stories. Read her heartbreakingly honest posts, watched her plan a wedding to the amazing Serge, followed along with her treatments and then when she stopped her treatments, smiled when she posted pictures of Ralphy her dog, was excited to see when she bought a place and enjoyed watching her renovate the kitchen, cheered her on as she raised money, advocated, educated, and spread awareness about Melanoma. She was more than a person with Melanoma that we were learning from – we felt like we were friends with Emma even though we never met her in person.

There’s a perception that skin cancer occurs primarily among older demographic or with fair skin types. We’ve read all the statistics and data surrounding skin cancer, and melanoma does not discriminate by age, gender or race.  Emma, through her pictures and writing, showed us a human side to the data. She showed us what life can be like when you are diagnosed with a terminal disease. She made it real. She inspired us to want to do anything to protect everyone from going through this ugly disease called Melanoma. Unfortunately, the statistics are against us.

 “Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma – that’s approximately 10,000 per year.”

-Melanoma Research Foundation

“In 2017, over 160,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma. Of these, approximately, 87,000 will be diagnosed with invasive (Stage I, II, III or IV)”

Melanoma Research Foundation

Emma lived to the fullest, jumping into her dreams even though her body had an unknown expiration date. She had an impact on us and I hope now on you too.

Emma passed on April 8th, 2017. She was 25 years old.

To the people who were close to Emma, know that there are people out there, like us, who share Emma’s passion to prevent others from experiencing this deadly disease. Know that her pictures and stories matter; they live on to make a difference even all the way around the world in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We will work to change the statistics. We encourage everyone to go back and read her blog “Dear Melanoma” from the beginning and see the legacy that continues today. Dear Emma, this one is for you!

 

 

Take action today:

  • Get your skin checked
  • Protect yourself with UPF 50+ clothing, hats and SPF 30+ sunscreen
  • Make a difference by knowing and sharing the facts
  • Be part of the Let’s Get Gross Campaign by checking our Facebook page, sharing your story, reading our blog posts, and sharing them with those around you.
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Behind The Design

Ultimate Coverage

Look for the Coolibar Shield for up to 90% skin coverage.

When you need advanced, all over UPF 50+ skin coverage, look for styles flagged with the Coolibar shield. This level of skin coverage is recommended by dermatologists to protect those with sun sensitivities, medical conditions, severe health considerations and young children with tender, delicate skin. Remember that anywhere that is covered by Coolibar fabric you’ll block 98% of UVA and UVB rays because all our clothing and hats are rated UPF 50+, giving you the highest sun protection rating possible, that is guaranteed for the life of the garment.  Complete outfitting with Ultimate Protection styles covers up to 90% of skin, extending full-length skin coverage for arms, hands, faces, necks and legs. We wanted to make it easy for you to find the items that have the most coverage to keep your skin protected from UVA and UVB rays. All our clothing is UPF 50+ but the items with the Coolibar Shield will help you find the items that cover the most skin possible.

Head and Ears

Ultimate skin coverage starts at the top with a hat that’s a 3” brim (minimum) to shade neck and ears. One of the most common places for skin cancer is on the human scalp. It’s also one of the least diagnosed. Under hair, there can be spots or tumors that can be cancerous. Start your family young. The inconvenience of wearing a hat is small in comparison to the benefits of protecting one’s self. This includes wearing a cap when swimming. We recommend covering your head and ears because according to the Science Daily, the most lethal melanomas are found on the scalp and the neck and people who have melanomas in those places “die at nearly twice the rate of people with melanoma elsewhere on the body, including the face or ears.”

Torso and Arms

After scalp and ear coverage, a long sleeve shirt that covers shoulders and extends over forearms and hand tops (when possible) provides strong upper chest and arm coverage. Look for thumbholes, longer cuffed sleeves, zippers that go to the top of the shirt collar, mock turtleneck or mandarin style collars where possible. You’ll want to keep your chest and arms covered to get maximum UPF 50+ sun protection. According to the Mayo Clinic, Forearms are one of the most common places for basal and squamous cell skin cancer. Additionally, these cancers frequently appear the head, neck, and hands.

Neck

The back of the neck is one of the most neglected skin areas. Hats with drapes provide shade and gaiters are a core part of ultimate coverage. Gaiters not only cover necks completely; they provide the added benefit of keeping you cooler on higher temperature days. Gaiters come in various sizes to accommodate men and women and have extra fabric to extend upward to cover the lower face, chin, and jawlines. According to WebMD, Shortcuts ponytails and casual messy bun hairstyles expose delicate neck skin to UV rays. Men with shorter hair experience cancer on the back of their necks and ears due to years of sun exposure.

Legs

Backs of the legs, behind the knees and calves, are often overlooked for coverage. Out of sight, out of mind. Sunscreens are not easily applied, applied too thinly or infrequently reapplied. Thus, full-length UPF 50+ pants are the only solution to ongoing coverage. Look for pants that come to your ankles, then wear socks or boots to cover skin on tops of feet. The calf and ankle are often overlooked in sunscreen application, wearing pants that cover the sensitive skin are an easy way to keep yourself protected.

“Skin cancer frequently appears on the lower legs and ankles of women, and ankles are difficult to treat surgically without intrusive post-op activity limitations or surgical disfigurement.  The skin here is thin, especially with advanced photodamage, and it does not stretch for surgical closure.”

-Advanced Skin Care Dermatology, Dr. Cynthia Bailey

Hands

Hands are vulnerable to cumulative damage, sun sensitivities and cancer spots. UVA rays can penetrate car windows and contribute to basal and squamous cell skin cancers. Complete Ultimate Skin Coverage with gloves that protect hands from the continued onslaught of UVA/UVB rays. Adding a pair of sun safe gloves can help you reduce the amount of UVA and UVB rays that hit the sensitive skin on the tops of your hands and are easy to put on. There are even styles with a touch screen pad to be able to use all your favorite devices with ease.

“I often see the same amount of sun damage on the back of the hands that I see on the face. These are high-risk places for precancerous lesions and skin thinning and they need sun protection.” – Dr. Cynthia Bailey

 

We hope this helps you choose the products that are best for you and keep you sun safe. When you need advanced, all over UPF 50+ skin coverage, look for styles flagged with the Coolibar shield.

 

 

 

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Sun Smarts

Ian Leonard – Let’s Get Gross

As someone in the public eye, I have never been one to shy away from the camera.  I feel very blessed to be doing work that I love. I feel obligated and truly rewarded when I know I can make a positive difference in our community. I am not being compensated for this but I know this is so vitally important. If we can empower one person and inspire one family to practice better sun safety then my cancer journey will have changed lives for the better. I hope my story, as gross as it may be, will encourage everyone to have their skin checked this year, practice a sun-safe lifestyle and share their own story so we may all unite to fight this ugly battle.

It started with a small pimple on my bottom lip. Almost imperceptible unless you are a manscaping Metro like me. A small pimple that caused inordinate amounts of pain when touched. The dermatologist knew right away. The biopsy confirmed it. Squamous cell skin cancer. Wait, what? It’s just a pimple. It was actually the tip of the tumor buried in my bottom lip. MOHS surgery came two weeks later. Seven MOHS procedures in 6 hours. Then home for the night. Home with a gaping wound where my bottom lip was supposed to be. That was Monday, Plastic surgery was Tuesday. Two days of surgery, 42 stitches and the loss of a third of my bottom lip.

For more on Ian’s skin cancer journey please check out his blog at:  https://ianmn.wordpress.com/

 

This May, we are getting gross. The ugly truth is that skin cancer is not fun or glamorous. We want to share the not-so-wonderful side of what happens after a skin cancer diagnosis. Coolibar’s mission is to keep the world safe from sun damage and we thank each selfless warrior for boldly sharing their story. We hope you bear with us as we share stories to provide awareness, education and spur prevention. We’re among friends–now let’s get gross.

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Sun Smarts

Judy Cloud – Let’s Get Gross

I never intended to share my skin cancer journey with anyone outside of my Facebook friend group. Like everyone else, most of my posts depicted a happy moment in time – an event forever captured to share with family and friends to stay “connected.” My skin cancer was so invasive, time-consuming and emotional, I posted it as a warning for the people I love most.  I never wanted anyone to experience what I endured, and continue to live with, from over-exposure to UV rays through tanning bed use and sunburns.  My doctors have told me my skin cancer was largely preventable.  While I have risk factors (blonde hair, blue eyes, freckles, light skin) that I can’t change, over-exposure to the sun and the use of a tanning bed are things that I could change.

Even today, pictures of my stitches, scabs, and scars are very difficult for me to look at and I cannot believe the response they have had across the globe.  Almost daily I have a message on Facebook from someone who has been touched by my story.  Most people want to know if I am doing “ok” and how my life has changed since my skin cancer diagnosis.  The truth is that although I am feeling fine, my life has changed fairly significantly.  Every morning I look in the mirror and self-check my skin for new spots or visible changes.  Given my history and knowing early detection is key for effective treatment, this routine puts me more at ease and reminds me that I am responsible for my own health.  It’s not paranoia that causes me to do frequent skin checks; it’s now a part of my daily routine out of necessity.

Prior to skin cancer, I was a sun-worshiper in my younger years.  What I loved most about the sun was how relaxing the warmth felt against my skin.  And when I was young, kids (including me) played outside for hours each day, without sunscreen. Now I am much more cognizant of the sun.  I am not going to hide from it, but I am much smarter about my time in the sun. Being outdoors reading a book on my porch or working in my flowerbeds is still very relaxing to me, but I have changed my lifestyle habits to include the following:

 

  • Avoid direct sun exposure from 10 am – 2pm
  • Wear sunscreen daily; I have sunscreen in the make-up I apply every morning
  • Skin checks every 6 months by my dermatologist

 

Sometimes the Facebook message I receive is from someone who is sharing their own skin cancer story with me.  They tell me they are grateful to know they are not alone.  In all honesty, I have found skin cancer to be a lonely cancer.  We are diagnosed, the doctor treats us and we are sent on our way.  I have been unable to locate a skin cancer support group, which I believe is greatly needed.  When I was growing up, our generation was not warned about the damaging effects of tanning beds, and a sunscreen beyond 2-4 SPF was not available.  It is hurtful to hear that I (along with other skin cancer survivors) have “brought this on myself” from strangers and even family members when truly skin cancer awareness and education was unheard of when I was growing up.  My mission today is to raise awareness so people don’t have to go through what I have gone through. We now have access to better information, and as the saying goes, knowledge is power.  I would also like to create a community of support for those of us who are skin cancer survivors so nobody ever feels like they are alone.  I will continue to share my story and encourage everyone to do the same so we can save lives.

This May, we are getting gross. The ugly truth is that skin cancer is not fun or glamorous. We want to share the not-so-wonderful side of what happens after a skin cancer diagnosis. Coolibar’s mission is to keep the world safe from sun damage and we thank each selfless warrior for boldly sharing their story. We hope you bear with us as we share stories to provide awareness, education and spur prevention. We’re among friends–now let’s get gross.

 

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Sun Smarts

Summer Sanders – Let’s Get Gross

Growing up in the California sun, I was outside every day of my life swimming. I loved the water.  Formal swimming lessons began at age 18 months and I was swimming competitively by the age of 4.  Later I swam for Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA and eventually won 2 gold medals, a silver and a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games. I never thought anything of the endless hours of the sun beating down on my skin while I practiced my sport year-round. For me, sunscreen was used for “vacation sun” because I never wore sunscreen during my daily swim practice routine. I do not recall being sunburned as a child, but I know I was very sun-tanned, especially during the summer months.

I was blindsided in 2014 by my first melanoma diagnosis from my dermatologist, which resulted from a mole that had been recently removed from my calf. Swimming was my life and my love, it was who I was. After this diagnosis, my relationship with the sun changed. I became hypersensitive to skin cancer and to the sun. Being outside and in the sun was something I loved so much, but then I would feel the sun and it bothered me.  My belief is my melanoma was attributed to prolonged and consistent exposure to the sun, specifically the harmful UV rays I’d been exposed to for many years due to my swim training.

While I am grateful for the doctors and surgeons who have helped me with my skin cancer journey, I have learned to become more vocal and grown stronger by becoming my own health advocate.  The little black dot on the back of my arm was something my doctor was not initially concerned with, but the nagging feeling in my gut told me it was something that should be biopsied and I had my doctor remove it.  That little black dot turned out to be my third melanoma.  Early detection is paramount when it comes to skin cancer treatment. My goal is to inspire friends and strangers to become their own health advocates.  Hearing that someone went their dermatologist after a self-check discovery of a suspicious mole is why I continue to share my story.  In support of skin cancer awareness month, I encourage everyone to become their own health advocate and make an annual appointment to have your skin checked by a dermatologist today. It may save your life like it did mine.

This May, we are getting gross. The ugly truth is that skin cancer is not fun or glamorous. We want to share the not-so-wonderful side of what happens after a skin cancer diagnosis. Coolibar’s mission is to keep the world safe from sun damage and we thank each selfless warrior for boldly sharing their story. We hope you bear with us as we share stories to provide awareness, education and spur prevention. We’re among friends–now let’s get gross.

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Sun Smarts

Beth – Let’s Get Gross

A simple, light blue button-down cotton cardigan, we affectionately called my “swimming sweater,” was my parents’ best attempt at sun protecting my delicate skin as a toddler, while I played outside in and out of the water.  Fair skinned like my dad, with freckles, red hair and blue eyes, I always remembered having trouble avoiding sunburns.

At age 8 I remember my father, who at that time worked for the NIH (National Institutes of Health), often brought home some of the first chemical sunscreen, known as “PABA” (Para-aminobenzoic acid). Dad would arrive home with a plastic, ugly brown jug. It was filled with a watery liquid that splashed everywhere, leaving a bright orange stain on anything it touched.  Our family would stand in line to “splash” the watery goo on our skin before we went outside or sailed the Chesapeake Bay. (PABA would even turn the white sails of our sailboat orange.)  PABA seemed to work, except for the fact that it would stain, streak and wash off the second we hit the water!  From an early age, I was very sun aware.  This was only because I experienced the blistering pain of sunburns, but I had no idea each childhood sunburn would “reappear” on my skin later in life.

Beginning at age 30, the damage to my skin from prolonged sun exposure was becoming evident.  My dermatologist and I knew each other on a first name basis, with the frequency of visible skin spots being frozen or biopsied during each visit.   A few excisions were necessary for basal and squamous cell carcinomas to be removed from my chest, arms and face, probably attributed my love of skiing, sailing, beach volleyball and all things outdoor. This practice felt normal and expected for someone with characteristically fair skin like me. And this dermatologic routine, of skin review and spot removal, went on for 15 years. From the first skin cancer detection, throughout the subsequent removals, I was much more diligent about sunscreen, hats, and clothing, to protect me from further sun damage, but the damage had been done.  During a routine dermatologist visit, a small basal cell carcinoma turned up. This led to Moh’s surgery on my nostril, with a total reconstruction of my nose using my own ear cartilage. This was humbling, scary and changed my outdoor lifestyle habits forever.

In early 2016, my father had extensive surgery due to melanoma, which prompted me to schedule another skin check visit.  My physician scanned my skin, remarking to the nurse, “let’s biopsy these, freeze a few, watch the others.”  While seemingly a routine visit, for some reason the freckle on my abdomen seemed newer and something in my gut instructed me to ask the doctor to biopsy it, rather than just watch it. It appeared to be was just a small freckle, but after my dad’s diagnosis, I felt I should be more aggressive about my health. On a Friday, just one week later, I was told it was melanoma. Stage 1A, so we had caught it early. Just three days after my melanoma diagnosis, I was asked to interview for a position with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF).  Given the nature of my very recent melanoma news, I found the timing of this call to be odd and even wondered, “could be some sort of HPAA violation?”  Within minutes I realized this call of inquiry was astonishingly the most AMAZING and coincidental timing and I was more than intrigued.  At the time, I knew very little about the organization, but I instantly understood how critical they were to this cause that was now near and dear to my heart.

I am proud to say I have been the corporate relations director of the Melanoma Research Foundation since October 2016.  Working with this organization has provided me with so much hope for what can be done in bringing an end to this disease. I realize now that I am one of the lucky ones who caught skin cancer early.  Until I started at the MRF, I never knew someone dies from melanoma every hour of every day. Reading melanoma statistics like this one horrifies me and renews my commitment to help bring awareness through my work. The medical research being done is making progress and bringing hope.  The education around prevention will hopefully turn around the trends that are showing more and more young women and children being diagnosed with melanoma that ever.  I will continue to have bi-annual skin checks, protect myself with sunscreen, hats and UPF clothing when I am enjoying the sun outdoors and fight passionately for a cure for melanoma.

This May, we are getting gross. The ugly truth is that skin cancer is not fun or glamorous. We want to share the not-so-wonderful side of what happens after a skin cancer diagnosis. Coolibar’s mission is to keep the world safe from sun damage and we thank each selfless warrior for boldly sharing their story. We hope you bear with us as we share stories to provide awareness, education and spur prevention. We’re among friends–now let’s get gross.

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