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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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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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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 broad-brimmed 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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TLC for Skin in the Fall & Winter

Even though the sun may not feel as warm in the fall, UV rays do not end at Labor Day. Sun protection and nurturing skin is no longer a regimen solely for summertime. In fact, doctors warn that cooler months are more dangerous because the sunshine of summer, that serves as a reminder to reach for sunscreen, is gone. So, here’s your nudge to take care of skin as fall gets into full swing. No matter how cool the temperature feels, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can still cause damage to the DNA in our skin within just a few minutes. While UVB rays (burning rays) lessen as the earth rotates away from the sun, UVA rays (aging rays) remain strong with the same intensity year-round. UVA rays powerfully beam through office windows, car window, clouds, and fog. And UV damage to our DNA is cumulative. Here are some tips for fall and winter skin care and sun protection:

  • Do not stop wearing sunscreen. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily on all exposed skin, neck, ears, back of hands and your face daily. In locations where snow flies, UV rays reflect off glistening surfaces like snow, and in warmer locations, UV rays bounce off grass, sand, water, and cement back at your face. Be proactive and protect your face daily with an excellent sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. For women, consider using sunscreen as a base layer before applying cosmetics. Many mineral-based sunscreens are moisturizing and protecting at the same time. Apply, rub vigorously so they are fully absorbed, then apply any cosmetics. For men, apply a mineral-based sunscreen as a daily moisturizer and keep a tube handy in the car for reapplications. Don’t stop at your face, cover your neck, chest, and tops of hands. To be effective, dermatologists suggest a “thick and sticky coat” applied every 2 hours.
  • Use an SPF lip balm. Most people are unaware that lips do not contain melanin, our skin’s natural defense against ultraviolet radiation. Lips are particularly vulnerable year-round, but in months when the air is drier, they are also susceptible to drying and cracking. If you like color, there are several brands with tinted lip balms.
  • Consider cosmetics with built-in SPF. According to Paula’s Choice Skincare, after a layer of broad-spectrum SPF 30, women can use a makeup primer of SPF 20 and a foundation with SPF 15. While the layers of protection don’t aggregate and add up to SPF 65, the layering approach has the benefit of better overall coverage of sunscreen. In general, most people do not apply sunscreen thickly enough. By layering these products one upon the other, this technique provides a “thicker” layer of protection against sun damage. For more ideas on skincare, go to: paulaschoice.com
  • Reconsider your cleanser. When humidity drops in cooler weather, you may want to compensate by switching up your cleanser to a moisturizing cleanser. Look for hydrating ingredients that don’t strip your skin of moisture. Or, if you love your skincare program and don’t want to risk skin irritation by trying a new cleanser or moisturizer, there are ways to keep your routine and just boost it for the winter. For expert advice go to: paulaschoice.com
  • Moisturize nightly. Follow nightly cleansing with a moisturizer made for nighttime. The right nighttime moisturizer will help protect against the red chafed skin in winter and help nourish your skin. If you have sensitive skin, or you’ve experienced reactions to various products, we recommend you meet with your dermatologist. They can evaluate your skin health and offer suggestions on a regimen for sensitive skin that won’t cause irritation before switching.
  • Wear UPF 50+ clothing in the car. UPF 50+ sun sleeves or sun gloves are ideal for days driving. UVA rays (aging rays) penetrate car windows and office windows. The Skin Cancer Foundation cites nearly 53 percent of skin cancers in the U.S. occur on the left, or the side receiving rays while driving. UVA rays are hitting your skin on a road trip, while running errands or driving kids to soccer. In fact, they are reaching your kids too. The Skin Cancer Foundation says clothing is the first line of defense against the sun. Having UPF 50+ clothing in the car or at the office – coverage for arms, hands, necks, and chests, like a long sleeve hoodie or wrap, a neck bandana, sun sleeves and sun gloves – make sun protection effortless. The more you’re covered, the more you’re protected.
  • Keep the sun off your face with a UPF 50+ hat. UV rays impact the tops of heads as much as any other exposed part of our bodies. So, while you’re out walking the dog to keep her healthy, wear a hat with at least a 3” brim and apply SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen to other exposed areas.

When seasons change, people forget there’s still sun and sun damage. Get fall-winter ready and stay sun safe with tips above. It’s also an ideal time to check in with your dermatologist and get their recommendations for cool weather skin care.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-melanoma-fall-winter-health-1104-20151029-story.html

https://blog.skincancer.org/2016/11/11/dont-fall-still-need-sun-protection/

https://blog.skincancer.org/2017/08/11/dress-to-protect-5-things-that-affect-how-well-your-clothes-block-uv-rays/

https://www.drbaileyskincare.com/info/blog/do-you-need-sunscreen-in-winter-or-in-the-morning-and-after-4pm#.Wd4sX9OGNBw

 

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The Evolution of My Days in the Sun

We admit we’re fans of Body Electric, the hit sensation, home exercise series on PBS led by fitness expert Margaret Richard. Impressive with boundless energy, Margaret is an advocate for sun safety, is a believer in protecting your skin, and UPF 50+ clothing is a core part of her health message. With a strong boomer message, Margaret believes everyone can feel strong, and, at 70 years old, Margaret says no one is ever too old to work out or be active. Read about Margaret’s honest story of growing up in the sun-thirsty, golden beaches of Miami, her inspiring philosophy, see some of her Coolibar favorites. She’s an inspiration for us all to love the skin we’re in!

In the 1950’s and 60’s, Miami Beach catered to northern tourists whose vacation goal was to return home with the “golden trophy” of tanned skin. Visitors flocked to the sandy beaches and basted themselves with exotic oils, suntan lotions and the ultimate sure-to-bake formula: baby oil spiked with iodine. To accelerate and promise the maximum skin darkening experience, serious sun devotees added a sun reflector. I grew up surrounded by tourists who proudly wore their sunburns as a tropical paradise “souvenir,” but I knew first-hand how much pain they were in. Their lobster-red skin would soon itch, blister, peel and potentially leave them with a permanent reminder of their days in the Florida sun.

Growing up in Miami Beach, we were not made aware of sunburn prevention or the dangers of overexposure. Other than a thick layer of white zinc oxide covering an already burned red nose, I cannot ever recall protecting my skin while playing all day in the blazing sun. I enjoyed a golden tan throughout my high school and college years in Miami, unaware that sunburns may lead to wrinkles, freckles, age spots, and more serious skin diseases later in life. Looking back, I realize my dark olive skin was the result of endless days in the South Florida sun, burning and tanning my naturally fair-skinned complexion.

My gypsy meanderings led me to Los Angeles, California in 1990, where I promptly joined the ever plush and newly opened, Sports Club LA (SCLA). The SCLA experience featured luxurious amenities, including a rooftop terrace for nude sunbathers. I quickly observed every inch of skin, even sun-tanned derrieres, are not immune to freckles and other forms of skin damage caused by prolonged exposure to the UV rays. By contrast to my beach loving years, I currently reside in New England where the sun does not shine intensely every day. Unlike me, the women in my fitness classes, who have not grown up in sun-prone climates, have unblemished skin on their arms and legs, free from discoloration or freckles. Sunny beach lovers take note, the northern climate does have its perks!

Skin plays an important immunity role in protecting the body because it interfaces with the environment to work as a shield. With overexposure, the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) permanently alter one’s DNA, creating damage at skin levels where new skin cells are formed. This negative effect on the elastin and collagen fibers in the dermis leads to premature aging. Even more significantly, DNA damage isn’t always visible on the surface and may contribute to skin cancers, including deadly melanoma.

Managing the residual effects of my years of prolonged and repeated sun exposure has caused me to develop a respectful awareness of the sun’s potential threat to the skin, and I’ve actively adopted sun protective measures. I habitually use high quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen to prevent further damage and when Coolibar sun protective hats and clothing came to market, I became an immediate devotee! Wearing garments with UPF 50+ sun protection gives me the freedom to safely enjoy the glorious sun. Today, at age 70, I swim in a Coolibar Active Swim Jacket and Coolibar Swim Tights, both UPF 50+, which means those hard to reach places, often missed by sunscreen, are protected and covered. Yes, I dress differently than other swimmers and certainly more modest, but I feel proud to be the “smart” one during peak sun hours. And, ladies, one other advantage of covering your legs with sun-protective leggings is you can choose to camouflage your legs, even if they are pure perfection!  Shifting my habits to include sun safe practices has allowed me to continue to enjoy my outdoor activities without limitations; pushing myself to be the very best me in the sunshine I love.

Margaret has a daughter, Brooke, 38, a son, Todd, 46, and two grandchildren.  Margaret currently resides in Bridgewater, MA where she is preparing to launch Body Electric streaming videos (on demand). You can also find her past videos on her website

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Live Healthy Sun Smarts

How Do You Pick a Dermatologist?

Dr. Cynthia Bailey, Dermatologist practicing at Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, provided guidelines to unlock the mystery of selecting the right dermatologist.  After a summer of being outside, fall is a great time for scheduling your annual skin exam.

Way to go! You’ve decided to get your skin checked and now you’re about to embark on the first step in the process: picking a dermatologist. For some it’s a daunting task, for others, it’s simple. But everyone could use some general guidelines to get the most out of your visit and skin exam.

With these suggestions, go forth and choose a dermatologist that fits your needs and leaves you feeling confident in your decision.

  • Focus

Each dermatologist has their own specialty or focus. Keep this in mind while you start your search. If you are someone who only needs a skin exam to screen your skin for skin cancer choose a dermatologist who focuses on what you need.

Many dermatologists have diversified their practice to include cosmetic procedures. Along with cosmetic dermatology, it’s important to remember dermatologists diagnose and treat more than 3,000 diseases of the skin, hair, and nails.  Look for a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in melanoma and skin cancer for your full-body skin exam, also known as the Total Body Skin Exam (TBSE).  Reference the American Academy of Dermatology Skin Exam Module for a comprehensive overview of what to expect during your skin exam (TBSE). If you are not interested in certain types of specialties or procedures make sure you factor that in when you are looking for a dermatologist.

  • Referral

 

Get a little help from your friends. Rather than rely on a Google search, ask members of your community. Find out who they see for their TBSE and ask them to share their experience with you. They might be a helpful resource if you can tell them what you are looking for in your skin exam and future needs.

If one name does not bubble up as a frequent recommendation in your area, use this find a dermatologist resource from the American Academy of Dermatology as a starting point for a skin cancer specialist in your neighborhood. In the search line of this site, enter “skin cancer” for a list of physicians who treat skin cancer near you.  This physician listing will also indicate the doctor’s accepted insurance, as well as hospital affiliations and patient reviews/star ratings if any have been entered.

  • Clarity

When you call to schedule your TBSE, be precise about what you are looking to accomplish during your appointment and that an appropriate visit type and amount of time has been scheduled. Be very clear with the scheduler and ask the right questions to insure you make the most of your exam visit. When you are clear about what you want to get out of a visit it helps the dermatologist focus.  I liken this analogy to that of a chef.  “Dermatologists treat thousands of diseases and generally specialize in just a few.”  When someone is coming in for a TBSE, I know what we are doing during the appointment. If it is vague, your dermatologist may not know what to expect out of the visit.

Here are some key questions to ask:

  1. What types of conditions does the doctor frequently treat?

(You are looking for an expert in finding and treating skin cancers. An emphasis on acne, rashes or esthetics may be considered for a future appointment but keep your skin check appointment focused on early skin cancer detection. Save the rest of your concerns for a return appointment because your time is limited.)

  1. How long will the appointment take?

(The more moles you have the longer the exam may take. The average full body, head-to-toe exam should take about 10 minutes.)

  1. How does the doctor document suspicious “spots,” freckles or moles for their patients? (Some doctors take a photograph or measure the suspicious “spot” and take inventory of any findings in the patient record as baseline reference. This is a good practice to confirm for your visit.)

 

  • Advocacy

 

You are your own best health advocate. Be assertive and make the most of your 10-minute exam because early detection is key.  If you feel the dermatologist is missing the reason for your visit, remind them that you are there for a skin check.

Use these suggestions to schedule your next skin exam. When we think of melanoma prevention, we often think of the usual: using sunscreen, covering up, not burning, avoiding tanning beds, etc. But did you know that finding a suspicious mole or spot and having it checked out by a professional is considered one of the most important steps to preventing melanoma? Detecting melanoma, when it’s early enough to treat, could mean the difference between life and a life-threatening illness.

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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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Essential Food For Healthier Skin

While sunscreen and UPF clothing top the list for protection for sun sensitivity and prevention against sun damage, adding some powerful foods to your diet can help promote healthy skin from the inside out. The avocado fruit (yes, it is a fruit!), the spice turmeric and coconut oil.

Avocados contain poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids that protect your skin. Polyunsaturated fatty acids guard against sun damage and protect against symptoms of skin sensitivity and inflammation. Monounsaturated fats keep the top layer of your skin supple and moist, so it feels soft and looks great. Avocados are somewhat magical. They contain antioxidants that promote the water content and elasticity of skin, plus decrees destruction of beneficial skin lipids. So skin is naturally more plump and elastic, a very real benefit to help promote anti-aging. They also contain a dose of Vitamin E, a natural protectant from UV rays. Whip up a batch of guacamole by adding fresh lime, cilantro, minced garlic and a dash of Himalayan salt!

A powerful antioxidant, Turmeric has natural healing properties and efficiently treats a number of skin conditions. It’s been scientifically proven to effectively treat acne, eczema, rashes, inflammation, cancer and bruising. Throw fresh turmeric into recipes, add it in the food processor with ginger, garlic, mint and fresh coconut milk for a smoothie, purée or soup base.

Thanks to Paleo lovers, many supermarkets finally stock coconut oil, appearing as a solid oil in a jar. Coconut oil is not only mild yet flavorful, it’s highly effective as a topical treatment as well as using it for cooking and eating. This medium-chain fatty acid helps repair and heal damaged skin, is easily absorbed to strengthen connective tissue, stimulates thyroid function and helps cholesterol convert into anti-aging steroids that lower risks of cancer and heart disease. It also wonderfully boosts metabolism and immunity. Use it for cooking veggies, mix it into your morning coffee instead of diary or just eat a spoonful between meals as a way to tide you over rather than unhealthy snacks. Be sure you buy organic and unrefined (no bleaching or deodorizing).

Wearing the right UPF 50+ clothing outdoors and using sunscreens are essential foundational steps to skin health, but a few dietary additions can help nourish our skin and promote health and healing from the inside out!

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/407893-are-avocados-good-for-your-skin/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/27/coconut-oil-benefits_n_1625631.html
http://www.turmericforhealth.com/

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5 Yoga Poses That Make Us Feel Relaxed

Relaxation is important for your body and will help you feel better. Stress makes daily living hard and adding these simple yoga poses to your daily routine will help reduce those stressful feelings and replace them with relaxation. Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Living on these emergency action hormones every day can make for some uncomfortable side effects. Breathing deeply and practicing the following five yoga poses will get you on the way to a more relaxing life.

The art of relaxation is not an easy one. Many of the poses we chose help you gradually enter a place of deep relaxation and enter a truly relaxed state.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
The final pose of any yoga class is one of deep restoration. We chose this pose because when we do this pose it gets us ready to sleep and even if we aren’t relaxed when we start it, it helps us get closer to that feeling.

How to get started:

  •  Lie on your back with your legs and arms at your side. Rest your hand about six inches away from your body with the palms up.
  • Let your feet drop open. Close your eyes.
  • Let your breath occur naturally.
  • Allow your body to feel heavy on the ground
  • Working from the bottom of your feet to the tip top of your head, consciously release every part of your body.
  • Relax your face and let your eyes fall into the back of your head.
  •  Invite peace and silence into your mind, body, and soul.

Benefits

– Calms the brain and helps relieve stress

– Relaxes the body

– Reduces  headaches, fatigue, and insomnia

– Helps to lower blood pressure

Legs up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
This pose helps stretch the back of the legs and relieves fatigue and cramping in the legs and feet. We chose this pose because it really can help you if you have back problems from sitting or being on your feet all day.

How to get started:

  • Begin the pose by sitting with your left side against the wall
  • Gently turn your body to the left and bring your legs up onto the wall. Use your hands for balance as you shift your weight.
  • Lower you back to the floor and lie down. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
  • Shift your weight from side to side and scoot closer to the wall.
  • Let your arms rest open at your side, palms facing up.
  • Release and relax letting your thigh bones drop towards the back of your pelvis.

Benefits:

– Relieves tired or cramped legs and feet

– Gently stretches the back legs, front torso, and the back of the neck

– Relieves a mild backache

– Calms the mind

Supine Spinal Twist ( Jathara Parivartanasana)
This pose helps to stimulate your kidneys, abdominal organs, urinary bladder, and intestines.  We chose this pose because the twist makes us feel great after a stressful day.

How to get started:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them.
  • Extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right knee drawn to your chest.
  • Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder height with your palm facing down.
  • Place your left hand on the outside of your knee. While exhaling drop your right knee over the left side of your body.
  • Turn your head to the right.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Benefits:

– Stretches the back muscles and spine.

– Stimulates the kidneys, abdominal organs, urinary bladders, and intestines.

– Releases stress.

– If the knee is straightened, it stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the legs.

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This resting pose centers calms, and soothes the brain, making it a therapeutic posture for relieving stress. We chose this one because it gives us a feeling of being a child again.

How to get started:

  • Begin on your hands and knees
  • Spread your knees apart keeping your big toes touching.
  • Rest your buttock on your heels.
  • Sit up straight and lengthen your spine.
  • Bow forward, putting your torso between your thighs.
  • Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
  • Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down.

Benefits:

– Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles

– Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue

– Relieves back and neck pain, when done with head and torso, supported

Standing Forward Bend ( Uttanasana)
Dropping your head below your heart calms your brain. We chose this pose because it helps us stay calm and really gets in a good stretch.

How to get started:

  • Begin in mountain pose.
  • Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso.
  • Bend your elbows and hold onto each elbow with the opposite hand. Let your head hang down.
  • Press your heels into the floor as you lift your sit bones toward the ceiling.

Benefits:

– Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

– Stimulates the liver and kidneys

– Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips

– Strengthens the thighs and knees

– Improves digestion

– Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

– Reduces fatigue and anxiety

– Relieves a headache and insomnia

– Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

 

At Coolibar, we love practicing yoga outdoors in our fitness items! All our clothing is rated UPF 50+ and will keep you protected from the sun while you breathe deeply and relax in any of your favorite poses. Our fitness items also contain Cooltech which keeps you cool as you sweat.

 

We love these two websites for new yoga pose ideas:

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses

https://yoga.com/poses

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