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Avoid UV & Seek Shade

Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

Can You Get Sunburned Through a Window?

It’s no secret that exposure to the sun when outdoors for an extended period of time can cause damage to and sunburn your skin. But can you get sun damage through windows? The answer may surprise you. 

Practicing sun safety is essential for avoiding sunburn and minimizing your risk of developing wrinkles and, more seriously, skin cancer. There are many myths surrounding whether or not you can get sunburned through windows or if you can tan through a window. While it may feel like you are protected from the sun when behind windows indoors or in a car, this is not the whole story. 

Can You Get Sun Damage Through Windows?

The answer to this question comes down to whether or not UV light can go through glass. It depends on the type of glass the window is made of, and not all windows are the same when it comes to UV protection. Ultraviolet Rays are light waves from the sun and can reach us in sneaky ways. We need to worry about two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays, because they can reach the earth.

  • UVA Rays: longer wavelength rays that are less intense but penetrate deep into the skin and cause tanning. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and wrinkles due to the fact that they break down collagen fibers, which help with skin strength and elasticity. UVA rays can contribute to skin cancer.
  • UVB Rays: shorter wavelength rays that penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin. UVB rays are more intense and harmful to the skin’s DNA and are responsible for sunburn. This type of light ray also stimulates the body to produce vitamin D and is believed to cause a higher percentage of skin cancer.
Visual representation of the question can UV go through glass

Can You Get a Tan Through a Window?

Since ultraviolet rays do pass through glass, most commonly the UVA rays, there is a chance that you can get a suntan through a window. It will, of course, depend on the length of exposure, but since UVA rays are not blocked by most glass, you may get sun damage and a slight tan. However, it is not likely that you can get sunburned through a window due to the UVB protection present in most windows.

sun shining through a car window

Can You Get Sunburned Through a Car Window?

Do car windows block UV? Not all car windows are equally protective, and this is due to legal reasons. Your car’s windshield is required to offer more protection to prevent the glass from shattering in case of an accident. 

This extra protection also means better UV filtering. Your car’s windshield is treated against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, while the rest of your car’s windows only filter against UVB rays. 

As we know, UVA rays cause damage to your skin at a deeper level. Since your windshield only filters out UVA rays, you will still get UVA exposure from the other windows in your car. You might not get a sunburn in your car, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting skin damage. 

  • UV rays can go through car windows, but not all UV rays can
  • Your car’s windshield offers the best protection against UV rays (UVA and UVB)
  • UVA rays can still penetrate the other windows in your car, causing skin damage and aging
  • Since UVB rays are filtered by all car windows, it is unlikely that you can get burned through a car window

Sun Protective Solutions

While sun protection may not be at the top of your list when preparing for long road trips in the car, there are a few simple steps you can take to mitigate skin damage from the sun

  • UPF Clothing: arguably the easiest way to reduce skin damage is to wear UPF clothing daily 
  • UVA protective film: extra tints or films can be added to your car windows to block out those UVA ray
  • Sunscreen: incorporating a daily sunscreen into your routine can go a long way in preventing sun damage, especially those parts of your body that are most often exposed like your face, hands, and arms
sun through window shining on a woman reading

Can You Get Sunburned Through Other Windows? 

What about other windows – can you tan through a house window? Can you get sunburned through a window at home? Are you inadvertently getting sun exposure at work

We know that UV rays can go through glass, but it depends on the type of glass.

Standard construction windows in your home or office will offer good protection against UVB rays, so it’s unlikely that you will get sunburn through a window. Most windows do not offer protection against UVA rays, although if your windows are newer there’s a chance that the UVA protection is better. Solar window screens and treatments are a good option for cutting down harmful UV rays from the sun.

  • Windows at your home or office may block some, but not all of the sun’s UV rays. 
  • While it’s not likely that you’ll develop a sunburn through a window, you may still be getting sun damage from UVA rays.
  • Window screens or blinds can help reduce the UV rays getting through.

Sun Protective Solutions

It can seem nearly impossible to avoid sunburn and other types of skin damage from the sun, but a few quick adjustments you can make in your everyday life will significantly impact your overall skin health. 

  • UPF Clothing: the best barrier option for your skin to prevent damage and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day
  • Sunscreen: reduce UV exposure to your skin by wearing sunscreen daily
  • Sunglasses: wear polarized sunglasses year-round to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays
Women wearing sun protective clothing

Learn More About Coolibar’s UPF 50+ Clothing

Even though there’s only a small chance that you can get a sunburn inside, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still getting sun damage. UVA rays that are most likely to get through your car windows or windows at home are linked to skin damage, aging, and even skin cancers. You may feel a sense of protection from that layer of glass in your car window, but the only way to ensure you are protected is to incorporate sunscreen and UPF clothing into your daily routine. 

Sun protection is serious business. At Coolibar, we stop at nothing to develop the most technical and elegant sun protection you wear. The world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology. Discover more sun tips on our blog, and shop our latest UPF 50+ clothing.

Women’s UPF Clothing

Men’s UPF Clothing

Kids & Baby UPF Clothing

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Today is Don’t Fry Day!

Dont Fry Day - National Council on Skin Care Prevention

Just before the outdoor summer festivities begin in earnest, a reminder: the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated today as Don’t Fry Day.  This annual, national campaign takes place every year on the Friday before Memorial Day to help people keep sun safety in mind.

Here are some of the ways the council recommends to keep yourself and your family healthy for the summer and for a lifetime.

 

  • Do not burn or tan
  • Seek shade
  • Wear sun protective clothing
  • Generously apply sunscreen
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand
  • Get vitamin D safely

The council also takes a page from Australia’s effort to prevent skin cancer and reminds you to Slip on a shirt, Slop on a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen, Slap on a wide-brimmed hat and Wrap on sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors.

It’s also important to visit your dermatologist at least once a year, and watch for new or changing moles and skin growths.

Enjoy your summer – and stay sun safe!

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It’s Melanoma Monday. How Much Do You Know?

Coolibar - Knowledge for Melanoma Monday

As it does each year, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®. This chance to promote melanoma awareness and prevention is important to us at Coolibar, because we meet people who live with their melanoma diagnoses every day – and because we meet people who are not familiar with melanoma at all.

Knowing about melanoma can save your life – and sharing what you know can save others! Here is a short list of what we’d like people to understand about melanoma.

Melanoma is the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer.

Some people understand skin cancer treatment as “you find a mole on your skin, you have it removed, that’s it.”

In fact, the majority of melanoma cases involves wide-excision surgery and a lymph node biopsy to determine if the melanoma has spread to other organs. This may be followed by a regimen of immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation treatments. In all cases, the possibility of recurrence must be carefully monitored. For melanoma survivors, the letters NED (no evidence of disease) become vitally important for many years.

Melanoma Affects Young People Too.Melanoma affects young people - Coolibar

The AAD says that melanoma is the most common cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old, and the second most common for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

It’s Easier Than Ever to Prevent Melanoma.

The single best way to prevent melanoma and other skin cancers is to limit exposure to the sun. But some people think that means giving up their favorite activities. Instead, here are a few simple tips to keep you active and healthy:

  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30, and reapply after swimming or strenuous activity.
  • Wear sunscreen every day – up to 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can reach your skin even when it’s cloudy.
  • Seek shade when necessary.
  • Wear sun protective clothing!

Meet Some Amazing Melanoma Survivors.Coolibar Melanoma Survivors May 2014

Each week during Melanoma/Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like you to meet several very courageous people who can tell you about melanoma much better than we can. Their stories are powerful, personal and inspiring (and, unfortunately, similar to many others from people all over the world). But each one will change the way you think about your health and your life.

We’ll introduce the first of these people on Thursday, May 8.

In the meantime, help us spread the word about melanoma!

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Warm Winter Olympics All the Better for Sun Protection

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics - Coolibar

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, if only to imagine what it’s like to slide down an ice-covered slope at 80-plus miles per hour on purpose. If you’ve been watching too, you likely saw something unexpected: temperatures topped 17 degrees C. in Sochi (that would be more than 60 degrees here at Coolibar headquarters near Minneapolis, MN, which hasn’t happened in a while). This is the Winter Olympics?

Especially as we look at these photos from February 12 in the Mail Online, we’re reminded once again how important it is to protect ourselves from the sun year round. In fact, sun protection is much easier to overlook during winter, when exposure tends to be more intermittent. UVA and UVB rays are always a danger for unprotected skin regardless of the temperature or time of year.

One of our heroes, Julia Mancuso – a US Olympic alpine skier who won a bronze medal February 10 in the Ladies Super Combined, which is an official name for “flying down an icy slope at 80 mph”– is already on top of it. Aware of the dangers, especially at higher altitudes with the sun reflecting off of snow, she shares her story and her tips for staying sun safe with the American Academy of Dermatology.

While sitting in the sun sure looks more fun than, say, missing a gate in the Olympic downhill, let’s remember to take care of ourselves. Here are our SunAWARE tips, good all year round:

SunAWARE tips

 

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The Sun, Heat and Skin Cancer: Is Tennis Too Dangerous?

On days like this past Thursday in Melbourne, the answer is yes. That day, all matches in the Australian Open – the opening grand slam event in pro tennis each year – were suspended because of heat that climbed to 110 degrees F (40+ C).

That’s not sustainable for players or fans; if you happen to be either one, you know that tennis requires you to be out in the sun for hours at a time. But when it isn’t so hot, a larger and less obvious danger remains: how are people protecting themselves from UVA and UVB rays that can cause skin cancer?

In Australia – which as a nation has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world – this isn’t an unusual question. At this year’s Australian Open, officials have passed out sunscreen to fans and stocked it in the locker rooms. And well-known professional tennis players like John Newcombe of Australia and Felix Mantilla of Spain have had very public battles with skin cancer after their playing days were over.

Yet many tennis pros today say they don’t like to wear sunscreen. They cite the same reasons you might as a casual player (or a fan):  sunscreen is too slippery; it can feel like it’s blocking the body’s natural cooling process; it gets in your eyes.

Other players, like Australian former world No. 1 player Patrick Rafter (who played a doubles match in this year’s tournament), make it clear that sunscreen is a must. But what else can be done?

Patrick Rafter and Novak Djokovic at Australian Open
Tennis champion Novak Djokovic posted this on Twitter from the Australian Open.

A great option that can no longer be overlooked is wearable sun protection.

In 2000, former tennis pro Chris Evert explained to a tennis magazine that her eyes had been permanently damaged by UV rays. Now, UV protective sunglasses and even contact lenses are available for players and fans.

But there’s much more available than that. In the same article, Evert mentioned that players had only recently begun wearing hats while playing. Now there’s a whole range of UPF 50+ sun protective hats in a variety of styles, with features like wide brims, breathable and quick-drying fabrics and removable neck drapes.

In fact, tennis players can now outfit themselves with entire ensembles – complete sun protection from head to foot. This is partly because of increased awareness about the dangers  of UVA and UVB rays, and partly because fashion has finally caught up with function.

Is tennis too dangerous? Even if you’re not playing in a prestigious professional tournament watched the world over, the answer should always be a resounding “no.”

Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade

Texas teens bid farewell to tanning beds

Texas will now join California, Vermont, Oregon, and Nevada in prohibiting tanning beds for minors younger than 18 years of age. This announcement comes shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18.

Anti-skin cancer organizations are pleased and hope to see a decrease in skin cancer rates over time. “The American Academy of Dermatology Association is proud to have supported this legislation and commends the state of Texas for joining the fight against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said board-certified dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, the most common users of indoor tanning beds. Prohibiting minors’ access to indoor tanning stops this behavior before it can become a habit that continues into adulthood.”

Legislation prohibiting the use of indoor tanning beds by minors under 18 passed both the Texas Senate and House in May. Gov. Rick Perry did not sign or veto the bill within the 20-day period. Therefore, the bill automatically became law. The ban will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2013.

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

Oregon joins the tanning bed “ban” wagon

On May 9, 2013, lawmakers passed a bill making Oregon the third state, following California and Vermont, to restrict indoor tanning for minors less than 18 years of age. The only exception is if a minor has a doctor’s note allowing him or her to tan for medical purposes.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, said the bill was aimed at reducing melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer, which studies show is linked to teen tanning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon women have the highest rate of death from melanoma in the country. “At the end of the day this is about protecting Oregon’s children. Something that we’re all committed to do,” Steiner Hayward said to Oregonian. “When 32 percent of high school girls are using tanning beds, parents aren’t doing their job.”

Tanning beds were also highlighted during Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their support of stronger warning labels on tanning beds, including a recommendation that people under the age of 18 abstain from using the devices. The FDA also hopes to reclassify tanning beds and sunlamps from Class 1 (low risk) to Class 2 (moderate risk) devices.

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade

FDA works to increase awareness of tanning bed risks

Tanning Bed

Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a proposed order that, if finalized, would reclassify sunlamp products and require labeling to include a recommendation designed to warn young people not to use these devices.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there is a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, in those who have been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning, and the risk increases with each use. The proposed order does not prohibit the use of sunlamp products by those under the age of 18, but it provides a warning on the consequences.

The order would reclassify sunlamp products from a low risk device (class I) to a moderate risk device (class II).

“Using indoor tanning beds can damage your skin and increase your risk of developing skin cancer,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The FDA’s proposed changes will help address some of the risks associated with sunlamp products and provide consumers with clear and consistent information.”

If the order is finalized, manufacturers would have to submit a pre-market notification (510(k)) to the FDA for these devices, which are currently exempt from any pre-market review. Manufacturers would have to show that their products have met certain performance testing requirements, address certain product design characteristics and provide comprehensive labeling that presents consumers with clear information on the risks of use. The order proposes to include a contraindication against use on people under 18 years old, and the labeling would have to include a warning that frequent users of sunlamp products should be regularly screened for skin cancer.

Resource: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm350864.htm

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

Tanning bed legislation – where are we now?

This week, the Connecticut Health Committee passed a bill they hope will ban teens from tanning beds. The state senate and house still need to pass the bill before it becomes state law. Nationally, anti-tanning bed regulations have increased significantly over the past decade due to rapidly increasing skin cancer rates and new studies on the negative health effects of indoor tanning.

Also in the news this week, New Jersey officially signed their teen tanning bed ban into law. Now, no one under 17 years of age will be able to use a UV tanning bed. Curious where your state stands?

Tanning bed legislation in the U.S.

  • 5/2/2012, Vermont became the second state to ban indoor tanning for those 18 years and younger.
  • 10/9/2011, California became the first state to prohibit indoor tanning for children under age 18.
  • As of today, over 30 states restrict indoor tanning use by minors.

National Conference of State Legislatures Indoor Tanning Laws for Minors (July 2012)

Resources:
1. Norwich Bulletin
2. Washington Post
3. American Academy of Dermatology
4. National Conference of State Legislatures

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade

#TanningIsOut: A Pledge for Teens

Spring break, prom, summer, all the reasons teens say they tan are around the corner. The Melanoma Foundation of New England is asking high school and college students to take the “no-tanning pledge” through their Your Skin Is In program. While the pledge contest portion is only for schools in New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), the pledge can be taken by anyone.

Your Skin Is In started as an effort to help build awareness in teens, as well as the general puclic, that UV exposure from both sunlight and tanning beds is linked to skin cancer. Using a tanning booth once a month before the age of 35, increases your chance of getting melanoma by 75%. Melanoma is also the second most common cancer in teens and young adults ages 15-29.

The Melanoma Foundation of New England hopes teens hearing this will take the following actions:
If you’ve never tanned before – don’t.
If you currently tan – stop.

Share #tanningisout with your friends on Twitter.

Take the pledge: #TanningIsOut or enter your skin is in Your Skin Is In Student Challenge before April 26, 2013.

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