Live Wisely

8 Must-Haves in Your Car on a Sunny Day

Whether it’s driving to work, soccer practice or to the in-laws, U.S. drivers average 17,600 minutes in their car each year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. That’s 293 hours! What’s more, passengers spend a significant portion alongside their driving companions. So, review our checklist to see how well your car is packed for your daily commute or the road trip ahead:


  1. Sunscreen

While the windshield may block some UV rays, door windows offer limited protection. As a result, most skin cancers occur on the left side of the face and body, the driver’s side. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB) before getting into the driver’s seat. Experts recommend water-resistant SPF 30+ protection. For the safest protection, mineral-based sunscreens with Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (or a combination of the two) offer natural sun blockers.

  1. Sunglasses

Think of sunglasses as your sunscreen for the eyes. Keep a spare pair in the car for yourself and passengers. Sunlight makes you squint, and that movement contributes to skin wrinkling, but, more importantly, eyes daily exposure to UV rays causes macular degeneration and cataracts. And, the latest news from The Skin Cancer Foundation indicates 5-10% of all skin cancers are eyelid cancers, and the Melanoma Research Foundation points to cases of ocular melanoma. To protect vision health, doctors recommend sunglasses with 100% UV protection.

  1. Umbrella

Whether for rain or shine, a compact travel UV umbrella can be a live saver. Small enough to put in a seat back pocket or a glove box, these little pop-up protectors can help you face whatever Mother Nature has up her sleeve.

  1. Long Sleeves

With those assertive UVA rays coming through car windows, always leave a long sleeve UPF 50+ hoodie or wrap in the car to cover arms. If this isn’t suitable for your everyday life, consider easy alternatives like UPF 50+ sun sleeves or sun gloves that are convenient and quickly removable hand and arm coverage whenever you get behind the wheel.

“Wearing long sleeve clothing, or sunscreen that is ‘broad spectrum’ would be extremely effective and seems indicated on long drives on sunny days.”

-Dr. Paul Nghiem, Head of University of Washington Dermatology

  1. Hat

Have a hat at-the-ready for when you reach your destination. Essential to sun safe practices for protecting your scalp, experts recommend a 3” brim or larger. For every inch of brim, you reduce your lifetime risk of skin cancer by 10%. So, a 6″ brim means a 60% risk reduction.

  1. Phone Charger

In the spirit of automotive preparedness, a phone charger can be a new best friend. In case you need to make a roadside emergency call or even to alert the dog sitter that you’re running late, ensuring you have a full battery on-the-go is essential today. If you have teens driving, insist on a charger so they can update you on whereabouts.

  1. Snacks & Water

Having snacks and water on hand to console kids or boost your own energy makes good sense. Staples that hold up in the car, particularly in extreme temperatures, include granola bars, nuts, trail mix and jerky. If possible, keep a small travel-size cooler or tote in the back to stash snacks and a supply of bottled water. Then mark your calendar to replenish your stores every couple of weeks.

  1. Blankets

Light blankets are multi-purpose pieces with incredible versatility.  Given how UV rays penetrate car windows, a lap blanket can protect upper leg skin while driving. Additionally, on chilly days, it can warm you or your passengers – and it can also block radiant heat coming through windows and overheating skin. People living in snow belt states know to carry a heavy blanket in the trunk for wintery days, and a lightweight UPF 50+ sun blanket for year-round leg coverage when wearing dresses, skirts or shorts.

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Experts Say Live Wisely

10 Ways to Prevent Against Sun Damage

Between soccer games, outdoor concerts, travel and everyday moments, we are experiencing life outside more than ever. So, how can we develop a healthy relationship with the sun and stay safe? Experts recommend you start with these top 10 steps for protecting your family and preventing sun damage:


The average t-shirt provides a UPF of 5–7 and that number drops down to UPF 3 when wet. Coolibar sun protective clothing is UPF 50+, wet or dry.


The sun’s UV rays erode the outer layer of your hair. This breaks down melanin and makes hair dry, coarse, wiry, brittle and breakable. Wear a UPF 50+ hat, always.


Start at the top and protect your scalp. For every inch of brim you wear, you reduce your lifetime risk of skin cancer by 10%. So a 6″ brim means a 60% risk reduction.


The sun’s UVA rays are omnipresent at the same strength year-round. Up to 80% of the sun’s damaging UV radiation penetrates clouds and fog.


The skin on the back of the hand is thinner and often forgotten. Prevent skin damage and aging on this sun-prone area.


Sun-related aging, spots and wrinkling occur right in the seat of your car. UV rays penetrate windows, so wear a UPF 50+ hoodie/pullover with long sleeves for daily driving and road trips.


About 90% of visible skin changes—aging, wrinkles, brown spots and leathery skin—are caused by the sun’s UV rays and can be minimized with Coolibar clothing.


Millions of sun-blocking minerals are infused at the fiber or fabric level and are guaranteed UPF 50+ to never wash or wear out for the life of Coolibar garments.


Eyesight is vulnerable to harm from UV rays. Prevent corneal sunburns, melanomas and aging vision with sunglass lenses large enough to cover the skin around your eyes.


Clothing is your first line of defense and single most effective form of protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

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Sun Tips (Attachment)


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Experts Say

Do You Still Need Sunscreen if Your Makeup Contains SPF?

The simple answer is yes. Experts agree cosmetics with SPF are not enough to block Mother Nature’s damaging rays.

“You need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label.”

Leslie Baumann, MD

While cosmetic companies have made strides to include SPF in “anti-aging” or “UV protective” formulas, the reality is most aren’t formulated with enough sunscreen properties to provide adequate coverage. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, that level of coverage only comes from a base layer of SPF 30+ sunscreen first.

How to apply sunscreen to your morning makeup routine:

  1. For best results, apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ directly to skin after your morning cleansing routine. Wait a few minutes for skin cells to respond to the sunscreen.
  2. Next, apply serum, moisturizer, primer or your foundation.
  3. If you use a mineral-based sunscreen, this may be applied after your serum and your moisturizer.
  4. Apply sunscreen to the remainder of your exposed skin, neck, upper chest, arms and hands. These areas are often left exposed to UV rays daily.


Several new sunscreen formulas soothe, protect and offer properties that nourish and hydrate skin. Brands like MD Solar Sciences Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Paula’s Choice Resist Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 and CoTZ Face Natural Tint SPF 40 provide a great base for your morning makeup and skin protection routine.

For sensitive skin, mineral-based sunscreens with the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide soothe and are non-irritating. In fact, zinc oxide has healing properties for acne and rashes. Don’t worry about the ghostly white-film appearance that zinc oxide used to create, today’s formulas have solved this old problem, and colorless as well as lightly skin-tinted options are readily available.

As we become increasingly aware of the damage caused by omnipresent and invisible UVA rays (think “A” for aging) – premature aging, sagging skin, wrinkling and brown spots – proactive prevention is the mantra prescribed by medical experts. And because UVA rays are also a known contributor to skin cancer, medical professionals and The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend these two primary methods for protection: UPF 50+ clothing and SPF 30+ sunscreen.


Sources: The Skin Cancer Foundation, Web MD, Dr. Axe

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Behind The Design SunAWARE

Skin Care Tips All Golfers Must Hear

Wearing Coolibar, Jordan Cassel, golf pro at Torrey Pines Golf Course, site of the 2008 and future 2021 U.S. Open Championship, La Jolla, CA.

Wearing Coolibar, Jordan Cassel, golf pro at Torrey Pines Golf Course, site of the 2008 and future 2021 U.S. Open Championship, La Jolla, CA.

With Saturday’s tee-time on the horizon, you may be more than ready to hit the links, but are you ready to beat the UV rays? Today, playing golf without sun protection is like playing a round without golf shoes. It is a necessity to the game. Sunburn not only damages skin cells, it overheats skin, creating discomfort and distraction. In fact, between stretching, practicing and playing an actual round, a golfer can experience at anywhere from four to seven hours of UV exposure in a day. To make matters worse, for every hour of play, recreational golfers can receive up to 5 times the amount of UV radiation exposure needed to cause sunburn. Along with damaging direct UVA and UVB rays, water hazards and sand traps reflect UV rays back at golfers, nearly doubling exposure. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, incidence of melanoma diagnosis is in white men over 50, and this demographic corresponds to golf demographics. So how do you start to take sun protection as seriously as you take the game? Here’s how:

Don’t Forget Broad Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen

While this sounds obvious, studies prove no one applies enough sunscreen. And no one every reapplies as frequently as they should. So, a generous measure of 2 ounces should do it. Carry a travel size in your golf bag. For best results, a strong guideline would be to reapply every nine holes or about every two hours for maximum results. Another important factor is the kind of sunscreen you are applying. Use only a broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen that offers SPF 30+ protection and is water resistant. For the safest protection, look for a mineral based sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or a combination of the two).

Take Advantage of Twilight Deals

Avoiding long periods of direct sun exposure is crucial to your skin. In fact, ultraviolet rays are strongest from 10 am to 4 pm, a tricky decision given that’s primetime for golfing. A preventative solution that benefits both skin and your wallet—twilight deals. Many courses offer discounted rates on later tee-times, so save a few bucks, evade UV rays and still get your golf fix.

Don’t Forget SPF Lip Balm

Treat your lips with just as much care as you do any other exposed part of your body. Lips do not have protective melanin like skin. Melanin is the skin’s defense against UV rays. As a result, golfers can experience sunburned lips and this becomes a targeted area for skin cancer. Carry a lip balm with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. You’ll be grateful for this little tube in the future. For the safest protection, look for a mineral based lip balm with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (or a combination of the two)

Dress for the Round

Don’t depend entirely on sunscreen. In fact, the true first line of defense is long sleeves and long pants. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts – dress to protect. Don’t settle for basic attire, because not all clothing is created equally. Instead UPF 50+ clothing and accessories effectively counter the sun and prevent sunburn. This instantly triggers your skin to feel hotter and sensitive. Coolibar UPF 50+ long sleeve golf apparel, neck gaiters and hats offer UV protection and other performance features like moisture-wicking, Cooltect™ cooling technology and anti-microbial properties, so sunburn and overheating don’t distract you from your game. Look for hats to keep you cool from the top down. The adjustable Matchplay Golf Hat cools with ventilation features and an interior sweatband. Wherever sun protective clothing covers your skin, you do not need to apply sunscreen. To learn more about all our suggested apparel for your next round, visit our new Men’s Golf Collection.

Like golf, skin care is ultimately measured by consistency. Whether it’s lowering your golf handicap or reducing your skin cancer risk, persistence, practice, and, in the case of skin health, prevention –  is required to improve.

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Experts Say Parenting

A Pediatric Dermatologist’s “How To” Protect Young Skin

Remembering to schedule your own full body skin exam is one thing, but what about annual skin check exams for the children in your life? We caught up with Ingrid Polcari, a Pediatric Dermatologist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota, to find out best practices for children.

At what age should a child have their first skin check and what should a parent or caregiver look for?

Parents should get to know their child’s skin and examine it regularly. Changes in marks on the skin are often the first sign of a problem or concern. It can be normal to be born with moles, or brown birthmarks. Moles can also be acquired over time.

Moles might grow slowly with the growth of your child, but changes like a rapid increase in size, a new shape or changing colors should be brought to the attention of a skin professional for an exam. A board-certified dermatologist, and if possible, one with expertise in Pediatric Dermatology, can help decide which marks are healthy and which need removal.

Are there skin areas where parents should be checking more frequently?

I always tell my patients that I need to check all the skin that they brought with them that day! Then I explain that moles and other skin growths can happen anywhere there is skin, which is why everything needs to be checked. Parents might find that bath time is an easy time to check hidden areas like the skin in the groin, underarms and scalp.

What happens if the doctor notices something suspicious on your child?

First, it’s important to know that skin cancers are extremely rare in children. But, we take changing skin growths seriously.  If we have a concern about the safety of a growth or aren’t able to give a medical diagnosis just by looking, we may opt to either monitor closely (with measurements and photographs for example), or recommend something called a skin biopsy. A skin biopsy is a procedure where the skin is numbed with medication and a small sample of the skin is taken so it can be looked at under a microscope by a pathologist with special training in skin conditions.

Is there a pediatric demographic that may be more prone to skin cancer?

Because skin cancers develop slowly, often after years of cumulative suntans and sunburns, it’s much more common to develop skin cancer in adulthood. Children with red-hair have the highest risk of sun damage when compared with children who do not have red hair. This is because the way they make pigment in the skin is different than in children who have darker hair, so they have less “natural defense” against the sun. This also explains why children with red-hair aren’t able to tan, and instead burn or freckle. These kids need extra special attention when it comes to sun protection!

Do you have an opinion on sunscreen application for babies under 6 months or age?

I follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology and American Academy of Pediatrics, which says that avoiding the sun by seeking shade or using protective clothing or blankets is the best choice for infants less than 6 months. But if this is not possible and skin is exposed to the sun, apply a small amount of “physical blocker” type sunscreen–these are sunscreens with active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. And remember that infants overheat easily, so it’s best to minimize exposure to heat and sun for your little ones!

Suggestive planning for next family vacation?

Sun protective clothing tends to be more reliable, less messy and less hassle than sunscreen. Outdoor swimming, especially mid-day when the sun is at its highest intensity, is a very high-risk activity when it comes to sunburn. Sunscreen will wash off quickly while you’re in the water, which means it needs to be reapplied often. Waterproof swimwear (like a long-sleeved swim shirt) does a much better job in that situation.

Must haves in your family vacation beach bag?

Since I have 3 kids, we fill a whole wagon! A sun umbrella, hats, swim shirts, sunscreen, snacks, and some cozy beach cover-ups are vacation musts.

If your child does get a sunburn what should you do? 

First, take note and consider what you can do next time to make sure it doesn’t happen again! Sunburns aren’t just painful, they are dangerous and cumulative sunburns over time will increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life.

Keep the skin hydrated with a bland white cream, consider taking a cool bath and consider giving a proper dosage of ibuprofen or similar pain reliever as directed in the product guide. Have your child avoid the sun until the burn has fully healed.

Dr. Ingrid Polcari is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and mother of three active little girls. In her free time, she and her family love to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors and sounds of the Loons in Northern Minnesota.

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Experts Say

Are You Still at Risk of Skin Cancer During the Winter?

With the warmer weather behind us, it must be time to put away the SPF and your favorite UPF 50+ clothing, right? Not so fast. Your skin needs protection during the entire year (yes, even during the very cold winter months) in order to prevent damage to your skin from UVA and UVB rays that can lead to skin cancer.

You might think that skin cancer will never happen to you because it only happens to people who use tanning beds or get sunburns frequently and badly. Skin cancer happens more often than you would think. All sun exposure poses a risk to your skin even during the winter months. In fact, about 86 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. In addition, the sun’s UV rays are also responsible for 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging including wrinkles, leathery skin and brown spots.

People can forget that snow plays a part in how effective UVA and UVB rays are when they hit your skin. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. It’s a lot! As a result, the same rays can reach the skin twice. Additionally, up to 80 percent of UV rays burn right through the clouds. Be aware that the sun can still be strong on those cloudy days when the sun reflects off the snow.

Skiers and snowboarders are at an even greater risk, as these sports take place at a higher altitude, where the thinner atmosphere absorbs less UV radiation. Sun exposure increases four to five percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level. Both snow and strong wind can wear away sunscreen and reduce its effectiveness, so you have to take extra precautions.

Treat your skin like you would if you were going to the beach on a bright sunny day. Wear your UPF 50+ clothing, wear sunscreen, re-apply often and protect your eyes.

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Live Wisely

How to Share Your Skin Cancer Story to Help Others

It’s no secret that personal experience carries more weight than any statistical fact ever will. You could be told repeatedly that you should wear sunscreen, have regular skin checkups and upgrade your clothing to UV protected fabrics, but it doesn’t hold the same true meaning as having someone explain their own painful journey. Over the past 30 years, more individuals have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined and there are many ways your story can educate change.

  • Speak openly with family and friends

For many, the journey to open-up can be difficult, but this is the opportunity to help prevent your loved ones from being diagnosed. Emotionally, a cancer diagnosis affects everyone, so words of advice and tips hold value to the people closest to you. Along with the educational aspect, storytelling benefits therapeutically. No experience is the same, but for the most timid of survivors, putting your story into words helps you as much as the ones you love.

  • Share your story online

Remember the desperate searching for answers after your diagnosis? Organizations such as Melanoma Research Foundation and Skin Cancer Foundation want to give you a platform to share your personal story. Regardless of the current state of your skin cancer, your shared experience can too enlighten and support a diagnosed patient with similar circumstances.

  • Get out of your comfort zone

Some people were born courageous; others may have courage thrust upon them. This past May, several brave individuals shared their skin cancer battles in our Let’s Get Gross Campaign—like Judy, a Skin Cancer Warrior, pictured in this blog. There’s no denying images and scars can be difficult to look at, but they are visual cues and awareness-builders of UV over-exposure. Instead of hiding the blemishes, positively take advantage of your social media presence and bravely show the true dark side of skin cancer.

Regardless of your path, remember that you’re in the unique role of educator. With your personal story, you may be able to help prevent skin cancer for people across the globe.

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Live Wisely

6 Ways to Embrace the Joy of Intentional Giving

Whether it’s for anniversaries, birthdays or holidays, the gift-giving ritual is deeply a part of cultures across the globe. Celebrating significant moments merit recognition, and it often arrives wrapped with a bow. For every moment where a gift is given and loved, there is an equal case where the gift didn’t connect with its intended recipient.

According to the American Research Group, we will each spend over $925 for gift-giving this holiday season. What if we could stop, take the time to reflect on the person to whom we are gifting, then truly consider what would bring them joy. Rather than rushing to a department store or feverishly searching online, what if we contemplated what would really enrich their life?

Many shoppers will get caught up in the thought that family members only will feel loved by how many gifts they receive. However, studies prove it’s not the amount, but the intentionality of a gift that brings us closer to the giver. They want the gift of time, experiences or treasured moments.

So, how can you approach intentional gift-giving? Here is one idea expressed six different ways.

TIME. What would a gift of time look like for the people on your list? Is it time so they can have a dinner date with their partner, and you watch their children or new puppy for one Saturday a month? Is it rides to get a medical procedure when they fear to go alone? Is it an afternoon helping weed their garden, even when you hate digging in the dirt? Perhaps, it’s spending a whole evening working on a jigsaw puzzle with them? Time is priceless

SMALL. What if all the gifts you gave needed to fit into a stocking? Putting perimeters around your gift-giving can bring out real creativity. Consider things that would really mean something to the receiver. For the cook, give a secret family recipe for beef stroganoff, a gift card for the ingredients and a new wooden spoon. For the traveler, a bank statement that shows you opened a travel savings account for them with a few dollars deposited to start their dream, a world map and a subscription to a great travel magazine.

HOUSE. What if every gift had a theme to a room in the house that the recipient loves? For example, the crafter, you select only gifts that enhance their craft room – an organizer or a work surface that creates more space for them. For the chef, consider a beautiful new ceramic sauté pan or a unique piece that’s new to kitchen wares. These not only improve their room, but they enrich the experiences they already love.

EXPERIENCE. What if the gift was an experience? It could be big, small, simple or complex, depending on what you really know the receiver would love. For example, a wine tasting for the person who has started to enjoy wines; tickets to a local film festival for the movie buff or a one-on-one museum guided tour by an art lover. Experiences create unforgettable memories, rich meaning and connection for people.

STORIES. What if your gift was a story, played back to the person it’s about? For example, you write or draw a story for your grandmother about the first time you made cookies together. Maybe you record a story you’ve written for your daughter about when she started driving and funny moments in the car. Story-telling can be a powerful gift when carefully planned.

MUSIC. The universal language of nearly all cultures. With all the music platforms available, creating playlists is easier than ever. A thoughtful and meaningful gesture could be a personalized playlist for everyone on your list based on genres they love. After finishing, make the playlists public for everyone to enjoy.

Families spend time over the holidays on vacation, boating, golfing, traveling and relaxing outside. At Coolibar, our mission is to keep the world safe from sun damage. We look at ways to give intentionally so our families can enjoy an enriched outdoor experience, while protected from damaging UV rays. If they are a daily dog walker? We’ve given a top-quality sunscreen and a fun new leash and harness. We’ve given the devoted boater and angler a fishing shirt or featherweight bucket hat to block the sun for hours. This holiday, we wish you the best as you consider the joy of intentional gift-giving.

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Experts Say

Beware Cancer Causing UV Rays Can Reach You in Your Car

Dr. Jennifer Trent, MD, FAAD of American Dermatology Associates, Inc, has provided information on an often-forgotten way for getting sun exposure. This helpful advice will guide you towards behaviors and suggestions to help you be safe in the sun.

I think by now, everyone knows they must wear sunscreen when participating in activities outdoors in direct sunlight, to protect against premature aging from the sun, as well as skin cancer. However, most are still unaware that they can get sun damage and ultimately skin cancer from just driving in the car. Car window glass, not to mention airplane window glass, does not block out the sun’s harmful cancer-causing UVA rays. It is important to use proper sun protection even when you are driving to work or sitting in the car waiting to pick your kids up at the end of the school day. That is why most cancers occur on the left side of the face and body, the driver’s side. Sunburns do cause skin cancers, but cumulative sun damage does as well. If you are exposed to 10 minutes of UV a day, by the end of the week your body has been exposed to 70 minutes of sun. By the end of the month, that exposure time jumps to 300 minutes or 5 hours!

Sunscreen is very important to use daily. But what a lot of people don’t realize is sunscreen only lasts about an hour or two. It will last for even less time if you are sweating or swimming, then it will last even less time. It is critical to reapply every 1-2 hours, even when you are in the car, or immediately after swimming or sweating or wiping your face. Some sunscreens require application 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. It is important to read the directions on the back of the sunscreen bottle or tube. Also, using sunscreen just on your face isn’t enough. You must apply it to all exposed areas of the body, including ears, lips, neck, chest, arms, hands, and legs, even if you are only in the car. To get the benefits of SPF listed on the bottle or tube of sunscreen, you must apply enough. A nickel size amount will cover your face, and 1 oz will cover your body.

If you are like me, I do not like putting sunscreen all over my body. It gets all over the car and your clothes. I feel sticky and slimy before I even get to work. I prefer wearing sun protective clothing in the car and reserving sunscreen for my face only. Choose clothing that’s stylish, lightweight, breathable and very comfortable. I always feel cooler when I am covered up rather than exposed to the intense UV rays of the sun. I can truly feel my skin burning when I am not covered up.

I choose Coolibar for my sun protection because it works well for me. Coolibar subjects their clothing to the very rigorous testing standards of the Australian sun protection clothing manufacturers. Sun protection clothing is given the designation UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), which is similar to SPF of sunscreen. UPF is the rating system for clothing, which tells you how much UV radiation can penetrate the fabric. For example, the UPF 50 Coolibar clothing only allows 1/50th of sun’s UV radiation to reach the wearer’s skin. In other words, it blocks out 98% of the sun’s harmful cancer-causing UV rays.

I always leave one of my Coolibar jackets with thumbholes in the car. Because it is so lightweight, I put it on over my regular clothes to protect myself while I am in the car. It protects my arms, hands, neck, and chest. If I am feeling too hot while I am in the car, I may put it on backward, just to protect the front of my body. If I am already wearing a V-neck sunscreen shirt, I may just wrap my sun shawl around my chest and neck. If I am wearing my high neck sunscreen shirt, I may just use my neck gaiter. If my shirt doesn’t have thumbholes I will put on my UV gloves. By the way, these gloves are great to use when getting a UV cured gel manicure. If I am wearing shorts or a skirt, I throw my sun shawl or jacket over my legs. I always keep extra sunscreen and chapstick with sunscreen in my car and purse, just in case I am out longer than expected and need to reapply.  Also, it is important to protect your eyes with UVA/UVB protection sunglasses. I keep a pair in my purse and one in the car. A wide brim UPF hat is a staple in my car as well so that when I must get out and walk, I am prepared.

Windows may make you feel like you a being protected from the sun they often do not block UVA rays. Remember to be prepared and take your sun protective steps even when you are going on a car ride or know you will be sitting by a window in direct sunlight and avoid those unneeded and unintended hours of sun.

Dr. Trent is a world-recognized dermatologist, who has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 6 chapters in various dermatologic textbooks on surgery and wound care. She is currently Medical Director of American Dermatology Associates Inc and voluntary Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami.

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Experts Say

What to Expect From Your Trip to a Dermatologist

A skin check is an important part of your melanoma prevention checklist. If you’ve never had a skin check before this will help you frame your expectations for the visit. The earlier you find a skin cancer, the easier it is to treat successfully. Both skin self-examinations and professional skin exams are useful for early detection of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Dermatologists have special training that includes the diagnosis and management of skin cancers. When you see a dermatologist for a complete skin checkup, expect a 10-15-minute visit, including a review of your medical history and a head-to-toe skin examination.

For a full body, head-to-toe exam, you will be asked to remove your clothes and sometimes undergarments, in exchange for a gown.  On average, your full body skin exam will take approximately 10 minutes, sometimes longer if your skin tends to have more moles. In most cases the doctor will use a hand-held dermatoscope, which looks like a flashlight, to magnify and illuminate the layers of your skin.  This will allow them to get a closer look at your skin.

The doctor may start with your scalp, carefully moving your hair around to gain a closer look. Believe it or not, “hidden melanomas” are often found in unexpected areas like the scalp, behind the ears, soles of the feet, under nails, palms of the hands and the groin area.  For this reason, you should expect the dermatologist to inspect every inch of your body, which will include beneath your underwear if you were permitted to leave any on under your gown.  A medical assistant may join the dermatologist during your exam to help ensure everything is properly documented in your medical record.  Photographs may be taken and securely stored in your medical chart to use as a comparative at future visits. This is a good time to ask about any spots you are worried about; your dermatologist can educate you about what to look for, such as any changes in the size, color, borders, or shape of a mole.

Your dermatologist may identify an area that requires treatment and will generally take care any minor procedure right after completing your skin exam.  The two most common treatments are:

Cryotherapy– A quick spray of liquid nitrogen which is used to freeze and destroy skin growths or patches that do not look like the skin around them. Ask your doctor for their post-treatment recommendations and follow up protocol.

Skin biopsy-  A sample of skin will be removed and sent to a laboratory for further examination under a microscope, to diagnose or rule out any diseases of the skin.  There are a few ways to perform a biopsy and some may require stitches. Ask your doctor why a biopsy is being done and which procedure they will be using.  Be sure to understand any post-procedure recommendations and follow up expectations.  You should also inquire when and how your biopsy results will be provided to you. Results are typically available within 7-10 days.

Before your doctor leaves the room, ask them what your follow up schedule is based on their discoveries during your exam.  Your doctor may talk to you about your skin cancer risk factors which are derived from your lifestyle, personal history and the results of your exam.  Understand your follow up recommendations and instructions before your dermatologist leaves the room.  Depending on your results, your doctor may recommend more frequent exams.  At a minimum, you should schedule your next annual skin check prior to leaving the doctor’s office and ask them to mail you a reminder card.  Make your annual skin check a priority because early detection is a key factor when it comes to skin.

Dr. Cynthia Bailey of Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, has provided information on what to expect during your skin check. This helpful advice will guide you through your appointment and make you feel empowered when you get to your next skin check visit. 

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