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UV Rays in the Fall Can Be as Damaging as in the Summer

Leaves turn colors, temperatures start to cool, the sun’s heat wanes, and instinctively we drop our guard and “forget” sunscreen, leave our hats at home and waltz out into the day’s rays utterly unprotected. Is it really necessary to stay vigilant with UV protection? Are we truly risking the sun’s wrath if we sit beachside with our book or enjoy our morning cup of coffee on the terrace? Or is this UV stuff all hype?

The answer is simple and surprising. Yes, it’s necessary to stay vigilant even though it feels cooler outside. Science is very clear that the harshest of rays, UVB (“B” helps you remember for Burning) change in intensity based on the season and the position of the sun. But, UVA rays (emphasis on “A” for “Aging”) remain strong in full force with fearless intensity year-round, regardless of season or the sun’s position. These rays will undermine mind all your protective measures unless you stay on it. In short, UVA rays are incredibly powerful rays that never go away, constantly and cumulatively wreaking havoc with skin health, contributing to skin cancer, vision loss and reducing our immunities. While it may seem excessive to wear UPF 50+ clothing covering arms, faces, and heads in these cool fall days, a simple neighborhood walk, a casual bike ride, a lunch al fresco or a play day at the park adds up to long-term irreversible cellular damage. So, yes, keeping your guard up and staying protected is a year-round gig.

Omnipresent and relentless in their reach, the relatively long-wavelength UVA accounts for approximately 95% of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface and thus our skin. Although UVA is generally far less carcinogenic than UVB radiation, it’s present more abundantly in sunlight than UVB radiation and contributes appreciably to the carcinogenicity of sunlight. UVA penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin where connective tissue and blood vessels are affected. As a result, the skin gradually loses its elasticity and starts to wrinkle. Furthermore, recent studies strongly suggest that it may enhance the development of skin cancers. The mechanisms of this UVA damage are not fully understood, but a popular hypothesis assumes that UVA increases oxidative stress in the cell.

Think of UVA as a sneaky, ill-intentioned ninja, stalking their prey (your skin) and never letting up. They penetrate your car windows, but you don’t see them; they’re invisible. They damage skin, but don’t feel them because they don’t burn. But, within a number of years, you start to see the effects of UVA’s work. Freckles pop up on your chest, wrinkles and brown spots appear, jowls and neck skin droops, collagen and elasticity diminishes. Even more serious concerns occur, like vision issues, eye cataracts, and macular degeneration. Or, most serious of all, cancer happens. While UVA isn’t the primary source of cancer, it is a known contributor. And, the simple and unprotected daily commutes and errands in the car, shuttles of kids to soccer or long walks on a warm fall day accumulate and become irreversible UVA damage.

For nearly 20 years, our focus on protection with UPF 50+ clothing was laser-pointed at people who’ve encountered a real medical concern, like cancer, sun allergies, Lupus, chemo treatment, prescription medications that create sun sensitivity. So our broad-spectrum UV fabrics have been specially developed to authentically protect those in need and attack UVB because of its evil results while also pushing back on UVA rays. With stylish, intelligent clothes that block UVA/UVB, a Coolibar tee-shirt looks and feels like any tee-shirt, and with incredible intent. You’d have no idea our tee was a hard-working UV blocking shirt; it’s as soft as a cotton tee and feels wonderful. This strategy has been essential to many customers, because nearly 70% buy Coolibar because of a medical issue, and they want to avoid visibly publicizing their health situation. So our design philosophy has been to develop highly technical fabrics in elegant, comfortable clothes and swimwear that look great. Candidly, we’ve never talked much about UVA. We’ve always blocked UVA, but we’ve never really emphasized these rays, until now. Today, with a company mission that emphasizes keeping people safe from UV damage, we need to be more assertive about prevention as much as we’ve designed for protection. We want to start younger, get people paying attention to skin health. This commitment is our version of “an apple a day.” What’s our answer to powerful UVA rays this fall? How can you start your prevention regime?

We’ve developed a proprietary year-round fabric derived from the Merino sheep in New Zealand. It’s a fantastic blend, machine washable and super comfortable, and we’re not just saying that because we developed it. The Coolibar Merino Wool is an ultra lightweight, comfy, super breathable UPF 50+ fabric that insulates on chillier days and warms on cooler days, and, equally important, it tells UVA rays to bounce off (putting it politely). It’s light enough for men who fear sweater weather; it travels; it’s a light weight fabric that’s a heavyweight UV fighter. Tested and endorsed by dermatologists and holds The Skin Cancer Foundation seal of recommendation, our Coolibar Merino Wool blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays and does it in a collection of fall wraps, pullovers, sporty polos, long cardigan-style sweaters, scarves, designed to cover arms, necks, hands and look perfect for the season. Being based in Minnesota, we revel in all outdoor seasons. Our entire company actively participates in outdoors year-round activities. We wear test our products for technical performance, styling, wear-ability, fit, comfort and durability. If we were pushy and not Minnesota nice, we’d highly suggest you wear a quality, high-end sunscreen, always protect your eyes with the best sunglasses you can buy (please avoid the glasses from the dime store; their lens effectiveness degrades) and wear UPF 50+ clothing that makes hiding from UV rays look and feel good. Look for the Merino Collection September 18, 2017 on coolibar.com and Amazon.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.who.int/uv/faq/whatisuv/en/index2.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10907526

 

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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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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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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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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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Sun Smarts

Make Sunglasses Part of Your Sun Protective Wardrobe

Did you know that sunglass lens protection can diminish over time? According to the latest research on glasses, lenses can expire, like food in the refrigerator, and protection can go bad. That’s why the right lenses matter for long -term eye health. UV rays bounce from sidewalks, water surfaces and penetrate car windows, causing long-term damage, like cataracts.

Don’t forget that UVA rays dominate year-round. These are the burning rays that penetrate clouds, glass, and our deep tissue layers. They are also the culprits that cause macular degeneration and cataracts. It may sound surprising, but even eyes, like skin, can easily sunburn. If your eyes have ever felt itchy and scratchy after being in the sun, you’be most likely had sunburn on your eyes.

Having a sunburn on your eye is one thing but, there are other things that can affect your eyes too. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, eyelid skin cancer accounts for 5-10% of all skin cancers. It’s important to wear eyewear with maximum UV protection, blocking 100% of UV rays and wear a wide brim hat when spending time outdoors.

We recommend quality lenses in stylish designs that provide proper coverage and suggest the following 4 brands on coolibar.com:

Costa: Created by a group of hardcore fisherman who spent their days exploring the globe. Costa’s mission is to create the clearest sunglasses on the planet for the life’s great adventures.

Serengeti: Known for developing state of the art technology, all Serengeti sunglasses are photochromatic and constantly adjust throughout the day to changing light conditions.

Eyebobs: A line of distinctive, high-quality reading glasses for the irreverent and slightly jaded, Eyebobs was created on the notion that you should not be doomed to wander the racks of drugstore readers in search of the least offensive pair.

Kaenon: 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. The sunglasses Kaenon created were quickly adopted by world-class athletes ranging from sailing to golf, from baseball to fishing.

Be mindful of year-round UBA and protect your eyes–and skin–from burns.

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Sun Smarts

What are ultraviolet rays?

Scientifically speaking, UV radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. These wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC.

UV Radiation and Skin Cancer
By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization have identified UV as a proven human carcinogen. UV radiation is considered the main cause of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSC), including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). These cancers strike more than a million Americans each year. Many experts believe that, especially for fair-skinned people, UV radiation also frequently plays a key role in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. One person each hour dies from melanoma.

UVA Rays
Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our lifetime. UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Although they are less intense than UVB, UVA rays are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year and can penetrate clouds and glass.
UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and is responsible for skin aging, wrinkling (photoaging) and breaking down collagen. Recent studies over the past two decades show that UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. (Basal and squamous cells are types of keratinocytes.) UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers.
UVA is the dominant tanning ray, and we now know that tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage over time. A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer. Tanning booths primarily emit UVA. The high-pressure sunlamps used in tanning salons emit doses of UVA as much as 12 times that of the sun. Not surprisingly, people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. According to recent research, first exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.

UVB Rays
UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

 

If you’d like to read more information about ultraviolet rays visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website.

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