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SunAWARE

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Tennis camp teaches sun safety on and off court

If you play tennis, you know it’s sometimes difficult to find shade on outdoor courts. So this summer, Twin City Tennis Camp, a local Minnesota business, is taking great strides to educate youth and their parents on the importance of using sun protection both on and off the court.

Since I started the organization in 1999, Twin City Tennis Camp has been committed to providing kids interested in tennis a healthy, fun and athletic atmosphere. Tennis is a lifetime sport, and we want campers to have fun and stay safe!

To promote sun safety on and off the court, I reached out to Coolibar- Sun Protection You Wear to help me educate parents and players on the importance of sun protection. Coolibar is a part of our local community and once I saw the superiority of the different fabrics, I knew we had to work together. I love the 3d dri pro SUNTECT® items for tennis!

Twin City Tennis Camp

This summer, we are providing sunscreen during tournaments and informationa to educate the importance of sun safety. I want to set an example for the kids and show that wearing UPF 50+ items and broad-spectrum sunscreen is not only cool (pun intended), it will keep me safe from the sun. I am excited to begin educating the kids, while still helping them perfect their tennis stroke.

– Dan Nabedrick

“Many have the will to win, but few have the will to PREPARE to win”

To learn more about Dan Nabedrick’s Twin City Tennis Camps and commitment to safety, visit http://www.twincitytenniscamps.com/

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Parenting SunAWARE

Summer Camp Sun Protection 101: Why the Cotton Shirt Your Kid Swims in Just Won’t Do

Summer camp is jam-packed with activities from sunrise to sunset. Counselors and camp staff make it a priority to ensure safety of all campers; however, with the rigorous reapplication routine sunscreen requires, sometimes sun protection may be overlooked in all the commotion. Sunburn and skin damage are easily preventable. Educating and equipping children with good sun protection habits prior to the start of camp is essential.

While sunscreen is a necessity, adding additional forms of sun protection may ease parental anxiety.

SUN PROTECTION STRATEGIES FOR SUMMER CAMP

1. Pack sun protective swimwear and clothing: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using sun protective clothing first, followed by sunscreen. A WHITE COTTON T-SHIRT WILL NOT PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM THE SUN! In fact, it only offers an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7, and even less when wet. UPF and SPF ratings for sunscreens are similar, but UPF is the standard for clothing and accounts for both UVB and UVA rays. When shopping for UPF clothing, look for a UPF 50+ rating, the highest rating available. This means a garment will block 98% or more of UVA and UVB rays. Swim shirts (also known as rash guards), are great for extended water play since the sun protection will not wash out.

2. Remember a wide brim hat:  To be protective, a hat must have a 3” brim or greater (for toddlers this might be less) or a flap in the back to cover the ears and neck if it’s a baseball style cap. Hats also protects the scalp, especially along the part-line.

3. Wrap on UV sunglasses: Eyes are susceptible to sunburn too, and not all sunglasses protect against UV. Opt for a pair of wrap style sunglasses that fit closer to the face so UV rays don’t leak in the sides. Look for sunglasses labeled UV 400 or blocks 99% or greater of UVA and UVB rays. For younger kids, purchase sunglasses with straps to keep them secure.

4. Choose the right sunscreen: Most kids will be active, so look for brands that offer better protection in water or while sweating. Also remember the following:

  • Look at the label. Many parents assume the higher the SPF the better, which is not necessarily the case. Look for quality ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are physical sunscreen ingredients. Choose an SPF of 30 that’s labeled broad spectrum, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid aerosol sunscreens. The major drawback of a continuous spray sunscreen is that it could get into the eyes or inhaled by a child, long-term data on those effects are unknown.
  • Apply generous amounts on exposed skin. Start with the neck down, covering thick and evenly on all areas of the body, not forgetting the ears, backs of the hands, crease of the neck, underarms, between the fingers, underneath the bathing suit (if it’s not sun protective). After covering those major areas, do the face last. Even on a cloudy day, 80 percent of UV reaches the Earth’s surface.
  • Reapply. According to new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for sunscreens, labels must display a reapplication time of either 40 or 80 minutes and after swimming or sweating. Remember to do so.

5. Inquire about camp sunscreen application policies: Most camps are like schools, sunscreen is not allowed without written consent. Also, camp staff are often discouraged from helping kids apply sunscreen. Teach children to do their best applying sunscreen everywhere they can reach and ask for help on spots like their back.

Dr. Amy Brodsky, founder of the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation is advocating a comprehensive sun protection strategy for her kids and hopes other parents will catch on. “I’m a dermatologist and a mom who has seen a lot of skin cancer and aging skin in my practice, so it’s only natural to want my own kids and others to think of wearing sun protection as the norm and sun protective shirts and sunscreen as cool,” said Dr. Brodsky. Dr. Brodsky often refers to the four-S’s to teach kids and parents alike the key skin cancer prevention measures — sunglasses, sunscreen, sun protective shirts, and sun hats.”

Additional Resources:

More about the Pediatric Sun Protection Foundation and sun protection advice for parents.

Read what the American Camping Association has to say about fun in the sun.

Follow SunAWARE for easy to remember steps for sun protection.

Shop Boys and Girls UPF 50+ clothing.

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Inside Coolibar Wear Sun Protection What's Hot

Sun Protective Fashions on the Runway

Skin for Life, an annual fundraiser hosted by Advanced Dermatology in Lincolnshire, IL not only raised over $14,000 for the Skin Cancer Foundation, but put on a stellar runway show featuring Coolibar sun protective clothing. Check out photos from the runway.

Photo credits: Photo Affair Studios

[nggallery id=33]

Shop the look:

Photo 1: Aire Wrap and Shapeable Travel Hat

Photo 2: Aqua Dress and Packable Wide Brim Hat

Photo 3: Beach Tunic

Photo 4: Fitness Jacket

Photo 5: Convertible Polo

Photo 6: Convertible Polo

Photo 7: Fitness Jacket and Fitness Shorts

Photo 8: Pareo

Photo 9: Shoreline Cover Up and Wide Leg Pant

Photo 10: Sunblock Jacket

Photo 11: Vera Ruched Hoodie and Swim Tights

Photo 12: Vera Shores Tunic

Photo 13: ZnO Seaside Hoodie and Beach Pants

Photo 14: ZnO Sun Wrap and Beach Hat

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Expert Rx SunAWARE

Caring for psoriasis in the summer

If you’re one of the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis—the most common autoimmune disease in the country—summer can be a blessing and a challenge. Psoriasis often improves with warm weather, but many people with psoriasis are also self-conscious about showing their skin.

While symptoms of psoriasis may improve due to extra sunlight and increased humidity, it’s important to make sure psoriasis doesn’t flare. Here are some tips from the National Psoriasis Foundation to help keep your skin healthy.

Limited sun exposure

Sunlight can be beneficial for psoriasis. As with any treatment regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor as they can recommend the appropriate amount of sunlight. They can also caution you about how the sunlight may affect your current psoriasis treatments. Some medications may be inactivated by sunlight, while others may make you more susceptible to sunburns and side effects.

In addition to skin cancer risk, sunburn can worsen existing psoriasis or cause new plaques, known as the Koebner effect. Avoid overexposure and wear sunscreen on areas without psoriasis. Experts suggest starting with just a few minutes of sun at a time and gradually increasing exposure if your skin tolerates it. Look for water and sweat-resistant, fragrance-free sunscreens and wear sun-protective clothing when outdoors for longer periods of time. Read more about sunlight and psoriasis.

Beware of bug bites

Bug bites and poison oak/ivy can also trigger psoriasis. To protect from bug bites, cuts and scrapes that could worsen psoriasis, apply an insect repellent with little or no DEET. Covering up can help, too. Loose, cotton clothing is best to avoid skin irritation from sweating or itchy fibers.

Swimming

For many psoriasis patients, salt water and swimming pools can soften skin and plaques. Chlorine can dry out skin, so be sure to shower immediately after swimming with chlorine-removing shampoos and soaps. Apply moisturizer to damp skin to lock in moisture, and try thick creams and ointments, which are more hydrating than lotions. Be careful with hot water and long soaks in hot tubs as they can increase itching and irritation.

Get more information on managing psoriasis in the summer at www.psoriasis.org. Have specific questions? Contact a health educator at education@psoriasis.org.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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Apply Sunscreen SunAWARE Sunscreens and Lotions

Study confirms regular sunscreen use prevents photo-aging

Fifteen minutes of sun exposure does more than sunburn fair skin, it ages skin too. The good news is with daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, people can prevent photo-aging.

Even though dermatologists currently recommend daily sunscreen use to patients for wrinkle, age spot and skin cancer prevention, a new Australia based study in “Annals of Internal Medicine” provides the most extensive evidence of sunscreen’s anti-aging effectiveness to-date.

900 Caucasian participants in Australia under age 55 were randomly split into two groups. Group one was instructed to apply sunscreen to their head, neck, arms and hands every morning, after a few hours of outdoor sun exposure or after being in water or sweating. Group two was told to use sunscreen at their leisure.

Two-thirds of all participants had small skin samples taken from the back of their hands at the beginning of the study. Four-and-a-half years later, researchers once again excised a skin sample from the same participants, but the results of the study turned out to be more visible than expected. Those who applied sunscreen daily displayed younger looking skin than those who used sunscreen at their discretion.

Aussies are already known for their diligent sun protection habits but not necessarily motivated by anti-aging efforts. Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer of any country in the world. Almost two out of three Australians will be treated for some form of skin cancer during their lifetime and melanoma is more commonly diagnosed than lung cancer. Factors contributing to Australia’s skin cancer rates include the generally light skinned population, the active outdoor lifestyle, depleted ozone layer and the country’s proximity to the equator. According to the “NY Times”, most participants, regardless of which group they were assigned, were using sunscreen at least some of the time, and two-thirds wore sun hats.

It’s never too late to start using sunscreen. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor reported on the “Today Show”, “Even if you’re 55 you can still roll back the clock two or three years”.

Choosing the right sunscreen is essential for the protection to be effective. In the study, participants used broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays, and sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Reapplication throughout the day was also essential.

For complete sun protection, dermatologists recommend wearing sun protective clothing, a wide-brim hat, UV 400 sunglasses, and applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater.

Shop sun protection

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New Products Sunscreens and Lotions

Sunscreen Talk: CoTZ and Total Block Explained

Two of our favorite sunscreens at Coolibar, CōTZ and Total Block, provide excellent UVA and UVB protection; however, there are some differences you should know about. We invited Justin Dannecker of Fallene to answer some of the most common questions we get from customers regarding these sunscreens.

Please provide a brief background of the company, your mission, and what you’re working on these days.
Fallene, Ltd. was founded by board certified plastic surgeon and dermatological chemist Dr. Harry Fallick. He had the idea to formulate a product with superior protection for individuals with photosensitive skin. Thus Total Block was created. Continuing along the path of photo-protection innovation came Fallene’s latest sun protective product–CōTZ. CōTZ sunscreen offers maximum protection for individuals that may have sensitive skin and are concerned with chemicals found in many sunscreens. For example, CōTZ Balanced Mineral Complex™ is free of oils, fragrances, preservatives, parabens, PABA, gluten, phthalates, does not irritate or sting and is gentle enough for all skin types.

What is the difference between your CōTZ brand and Total Block brand?
Total Block contains 5 sunscreen filters (2 physical and 3 chemical) for a very protective barrier against UV radiation and even into the visible light spectrum. These products are for someone who needs the ultra high protection.

CōTZ contains only physical sunscreen filters: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These products are for people who have sensitive skin and are concerned with chemical sunscreen filters. Both lines contain the #1 and #2 rated sunscreen ingredients: titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Can you explain why your packaging looks different this year? What is new on the label that we should know about?
The packaging changes were mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The two main features on the packaging that changed were that water-resistance of a product must be given a time frame of effectiveness, either 40 or 80 minutes. The second was that all sunscreens must pass a “broad spectrum” test in order to claim broad spectrum protection on their packaging and also be above an SPF 15. These changes were done so that it would be clearer to consumers what they were purchasing and how it would function as a sun protective product.

Do you have any sunscreen that won’t sting or burn sensitive facial skin?
The most popular product that we offer for sensitive facial skin is the CōTZ Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40. This product is 100% free of: oils, fragrances, chemical sunscreen filters and parabens. It is also very gentle and goes on smooth as to not irritate. Additionally it is non-comedogenic, so it is great for acne prone skin as well since it will not clog pores.

For the active ingredients, you have a sunscreen with both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and then one with just zinc oxide. Why is this?
Zinc oxide has been used for centuries as a healing ingredient in many products so it is considered to be very gentle. It also happens to be the #1 UV filter. We have utilized only this ingredient in our pediatric and sensitive skin products to offer the ultimate in gentle protection for those with the most sensitive skin.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind?
Our sunscreens are formulated with micronized zinc oxide, which does not leave a white residue on your skin.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?
The best product to use on children is our CōTZ Pediatric product, which contains no chemical filters, oils, fragrances, parabens or PABA. This is a great product for children above the age of 6 months.

Why is there tint in some of your sunscreen such as CōTZ Plus SPF 58?
We add iron oxide to some of our products for several reasons. It allows the product to match most skin tones by adding a slight tint. It also acts as another sunscreen filter since iron oxide is another mineral just like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Which is better, spray sunscreens or cream sunscreens?
Spray sunscreens all contain chemical filters and are not entirely effective since you might be using it in a windy environment and not get the appropriate amount of the product on your skin to protect you. Since they also all contain chemical sunscreen filters, they are not ideal for individuals with sensitive skin.

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your products/brand?
At Fallene we are committed to developing the next generation of sunscreen and skincare products to meet the needs of our customers. Keep your eyes out for new products on the horizon!

If you have any further questions about Total Block and CōTZ sunscreen, send us a message on the Coolibar Facebook Page.

Shop CōTZ and Total Block Sunscreen at www.coolibar.com.

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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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Success Stories SunAWARE Wellness Warriors

Melanoma Survivor Tim

During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Coolibar invites skin cancer survivors to share their stories with us in their own words. Hope, determination and drive to educate others play a major role in these individuals’ lives. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone. Prevention and early detection can be life saving! We hope you share these stories with your friends, family and colleagues. Be SunAWARE. Read Tim’s story.

Like the day my wife and I were married, and the days our children were born, Thursday, August 18, 2011 will forever be burned into my memory. We were on vacation in Maine. My wife, son and I were leaving to sneak in nine holes of golf before the day was over when I got the call from my doctor. He confirmed that the suspicious looking mole on my arm was melanoma. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, was on the top of my right forearm. Wow. The prognosis was good, the melanoma was .62mm in depth (generally if the melanoma is thicker than 1mm it is more likely to have spread) and therefore was considered an “early stage” and would require an excision surgery to remove surrounding tissue to check for spreading. I was scheduled for this surgery just five days later and although the surgery showed that all of the melanoma was removed, the pathologist suggested another surgery to obtain the proper margins; 1 cm of clean tissue around the melanoma is required to be removed and be clear of cancerous cells for a pathologist to consider it a clean excision. A month later, I had another excision surgery and this time the margins were met. My doctors determined that with these successful surgeries, no further treatment would be necessary at the time.

The physical healing is progressing well; the mental and emotional healing will take a bit more time. A cancer diagnosis is a very scary. This disease can strike at any time, to anybody without prejudice. It can take your world and turn it upside down. Support of friends and family is critical.

I am currently scheduled for full-skin examinations every three months for the next three years. If I am fortunate enough to not have a re-occurrence of melanoma, then I will move to six month examinations and eventually annual examinations.

My diagnosis not only came as a shock to me, but because melanoma can be hereditary, my family was impacted. They scheduled skin exams since their risk was now elevated. As a result, my older brother recently had a procedure to successfully remove a squamous cell carcinoma, a non-lethal form of skin cancer but alarming just the same. With a new outlook on skin protection for my family and myself, I am very thankful for my early detection and now am focused on keeping us all sun safe. There is an acronym being used now concerning the prevention and detection of skin cancers, SunAWARE. A=avoid unprotected exposure to the sun, W=wear protective clothing and hats, A=apply broad-spectrum sunscreens year-round, R=routinely check for changes in your skin and E=educate yourself and family about sun protection.

I have been working on farms and in the construction industry since I was 13 years old. The days of my youth were as many others, careless and carefree. I was never a lay around in sun kind of person but kind of lived my life with the motto “no shoes, no shirt, no problem”. Always outdoors and rarely protected! Eight years ago, with the passing of my friends father from cancer, a group of friends and I signed up for the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. This event, which is the most successful cancer fundraiser in the nation, was started by a gentleman named Billy Starr after losing his mother to melanoma back in 1980. It is this event that had brought so much good in my life. It became an annual tradition my whole family took part in. The event was most likely caused the damage to those skin cells on my arm. The top of your forearm is 100% exposed while riding a bike. I am on my bike hundreds of hours a year riding over 2000 miles in preparation and before 2010 was completely unprotected from the sun. I have included a picture with my family form the 2012 ride (pictured above) and for the record; I removed my Coolibar Full Zip Bike Jacket a mile from the finish so I could cross the finish line with my team jersey.

Now, as a 42-year-old father of two and an outdoor enthusiast with activities that take me through all 12 months of the year, the protection of my family and myself has become a daily occurrence. Our leading defense against the suns damaging rays is with UV protective clothing and sun protective lotions for the exposed skin. I am similar to most, once I received my diagnosis I enveloped myself with what melanoma is, every aspect of it’s being and mostly how to prevent a re-occurrence, or in my families case an occurrence! That is how I found Coolibar — my leading defense against re-occurrence. I cannot be found outdoors with out a piece of clothing with that distinct logo on it. My other line of defense is sun protection lotion and I have found another ally in that battle, the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG is the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization. Their mission is to serve as a watchdog to see that Americans get straight facts, unfiltered and unspun, so we can make healthier choices and enjoy a cleaner environment. I research different products on this site for me and my children, and then can usually find those products on the Coolibar website.

As previously mentioned, my diagnosis has rippled through my family and friends. My brother successfully had squamous cell carcinoma removed and is currently on a yearly check up. My children’s pediatrician is on heightened alert to anything that might be remotely suspicious. Most of my friends have gone to a dermatologist for a skin check and have also increased their protection levels. I am not one to soap box, but when it comes to skin cancer awareness, I will stump all day. So many cancers are not preventable and although melanoma might fall into this category we can all greatly diminish our risk. It is becoming increasingly easier in this country to protect yourself, your friends and loved ones, so why wouldn’t we? Awareness over the last five years has significantly skyrocketed. In 2011 the FDA issued new requirements for over-the-counter sunscreens concerning their labeling with regard to their protection levels, what type of UV protection they offer, the terminology used like “sunblock” and “waterproof”. The ability to be protected is ever-present. My hope is that everyone absorbs as much information as they can and use it to protect themselves and their families.

This year I will be adding another acronym to my list, the ABCDE’s of skin cancer. This acronym is concerning moles on your skin and what to look for: Asymmetry (each of the mole’s halves should be identical. Is the mole flat or raised)
; Border (an irregular border is abnormal)
; Color (dark and/or multiple colors signify a potentially dangerous change)
; Diameter (if the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it may need evaluation)
; Evolution (a sudden change in the mole can indicate a problem).

Tim

“I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.” …. Terry Fox, October 1979, in a letter requesting support for his run

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SunAWARE

What is Ichthyosis? The answer may surprise you.

By Maureen Neville
Communications Director
FIRST, Foundation for Ichthyosis and Related Skin Types

When someone discovers that I am the Communications Director for FIRST, the Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types®, typically, I am greeted with the same three questions: “What is ichthyosis?”, “Is someone in your family affected?” and…“What brought you to FIRST?” From a clinical perspective, I may respond by saying: ichthyosis is a family of genetic mutations of the skin characterized by dry, scaling skin that may be thickened or very thin, and most forms of the disorder are very rare. Each year, more than 16,000 babies are born with some form of ichthyosis and it affects people of all ages, races, and gender. Ichthyosis may also severely affect someone’s emotional health and it can lead to a host of other illnesses such as bacterial infection, heat stroke, and immobility.

And, no, I do not know anyone on a personal level that has been affected with ichthyosis.

However, there is more to the story – much more. So what is ichthyosis? It is a genetic skin disorder, yes, but it has also been the catalyst that has lead me on a worldwide journey of meeting the bravest and most inspirational people of my life – a young mother from Illinois, whose baby was born with ichthyosis last December, who has not only accepted her fate of grueling skin care routines, a daily parade of doctors and therapists, and caring for an infant through unprecedented surgeries – but considers it a wondrous blessing; one that she is delighted to share, daily, with the entire world. The young woman from Australia with ichthyosis who has turned her strife into a worldwide “appearance advocacy” effort, changing the way people perceive disability by offering words of empowerment and guidance to all those who “look different” everyday. The teenager from Canada with ichthyosis who only recently shared with us his moment of enlightenment – when he finally realized that because he beat the odds of not “dying by age three,” as doctors had predicted, his life was not a merely ordinary existence, but a destined one. Or, the twenty-year old woman from Arkansas who is the second oldest living individual, with one of the most severe mutations of the disorder – who has not let ichthyosis steal a single moment of her life – and in fact, is now expecting her first child. And of course, the team of medical doctors, stowed away in a clinical laboratory at Yale University, for nearly 31 years, fueled by one and only one thought: finding a cure. Each day, they defy the odds and travel their paths alongside a disorder for which, presently, there is no cure. And they never lose sight that accompanying their every step is hope, support, and the tireless team of advocates at FIRST.

In fact, it is their hope that is the driving force behind mission of FIRST – to educate, inspire, and connect all those affected by ichthyosis. It is their hope that inspires this 31 year-old organization, that has affected so many lives, to be the only national non-profit foundation located in the United States dedicated to assisting families affected by ichthyosis; the only patient advocacy organization funding medical research specifically targeted toward finding advanced treatment as well as a cure, and an organization that has funded 13 projects granting over $1.4 million in research since 2006.

And it is their hope that expands the definition of ichthyosis to the far corners of the human experience – far beyond the diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder.

So what is ichthyosis? It is a message; a call for human compassion; an invitation to experience the authentic awareness of “other.” It is the doorway to unprecedented medical advancements and, most remarkably, it has become an opportunity for worldwide connections…and the chance for global unity.

But the question that is my absolute favorite to answer is this, “What brought you to FIRST?”
If only in these moments I had glamorous, compelling tale of high seas adventure that lead me to their door – but actually, I do not. In truth, the position for Communications Director was actually posted online. The beginning, clearly, is not exactly what you may call riveting. However, as I would not know for several months whether or not the position would be mine, I had the opportunity to discover that this organization was filled with the extraordinary. And what I can also tell you is that I never dreamed, when I was first invited to join the staff, a mere seven weeks ago, having neither friend nor family member affected with ichthyosis – that I would be brought into a community that has felt like the warmest embrace a family could offer.

It is a privilege to work alongside this team of intelligent, passionate and unwavering optimists and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity to meet all of the unforgettable individuals with ichthyosis; to answer questions about the disorder and to spread the word about our work, our mission and, above all, to raise awareness for this rare disease, so that someday I may be answering the question: When did they find a cure for ichthyosis?

The Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc.® (FIRST) is invited as a guest blogger and does not endorse or serve as a product representative for Coolibar.

Maureen Neville - FIRST Maureen Neville – FIRST

 

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SunAWARE

Isn’t it Time to Live SunSmart?

This month is Melanoma Awareness Month, which provides an excellent opportunity for foundations such as ours, LiveSunSmart.org, to educate the public about the importance of living “Sun Smart.” We know that melanoma is very curable when caught early, but we want to teach everybody ways to minimize their risk when out in the sun without curtailing the fun! It’s pretty simple, actually, we know that staying in the shade and avoid the peak sun hours when possible isn’t always realistic, so use your sunscreen every day, and reapply it often. Wear hats – with the big, wide brims if possible–wear sunglasses and protective clothing. Get your skin checked regularly, learn the signs of melanoma and most importantly make sure your friends and family do the same!

But, melanoma awareness isn’t just limited to the month of May. We want you to protect yourself year-round by making the proper application of sunscreen a routine part of your day, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. That means whether you are on the ski slopes or the beach, the athletic field or the construction site—if you are spending time outdoors eating, recreating or spectating, sun protection is essential. We are all at risk because skin cancer does not discriminate against color, race, ethnicity or gender.

At Live SunSmart.org, we are passionate about our mission and work diligently throughout the year to educate everyone on the importance of early detection and the prevention of melanoma. The foundation honors my father Ray—an athlete, community leader and friend to many—who tragically lost his battle with melanoma at the age of 53. Ray loved interacting with everybody and the best way to celebrate his life is to create a dialogue about skin cancer prevention that could save others.

Nobody should ever have to suffer from skin cancer the way my father – and consequently all of us – suffered. Just a few simple steps integrated into your daily life can change behaviors that may reduce your risk.

The best way to safeguard your skin is to:

• Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day
• Apply properly and reapply often
• Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses
• Get annual skin cancer screenings
• Tell your family and friends to do the same

At LiveSunSmart.org, we offer a variety of programs to inform the public about easy steps to safeguarding one’s health.

Did you know that UV radiation can damage the eye, affecting surface tissues and internal structures, such as the cornea and lens? Long-term exposure to UV radiation can lead to cataracts, skin cancer around the eyelids and, in some cases, can contribute to ocular melanoma. Our Look SunSmart™ program, encourages people to wear sunglasses year-round to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin areas from UV light.

Another program, Team SunSmart™, was designed to promote the health and wellness of student athletes by making the application of sunscreen a normal pre-game routine. After all, athletes often are outside participating in sports during the peak sun exposure hours. Packing sunscreen in an athlete’s equipment bag should be as important as packing cleats, water or a sports drink. A change in a student athlete’s behavior now will ensure a healthier future since anywhere from 23% – 75% of our lifetime UV exposure occurs before the age of 18.

Ski SunSmart™ works with ski resorts, outdoor winter sports pavilions, and skiing and snowboarding organizations to encourage winter sport enthusiasts to make the application and reapplication of sunscreen a normal routine on the slopes. At 8,000 feet above sea level, you are exposed to 40% more UV radiation than you are at sea level.

Another exciting program we have aims to educate non-medical and salon professionals to recognize the signs of melanoma. Pro SunSmart™ trains these professionals to spot signs of change in their regular customers or notice unusual moles in new customers. Whether it’s during a back adjustment, massage, physical therapy session, athletic training, shampoo and styling, or a pedicure, these professionals have the opportunity to visually examine our backs, scalps and bottoms of our feet.

Throughout the year, we offer on-site school and workplace skin screenings with Board-certified dermatologists. This health initiative helps to demystify the screening process and to broaden everybody’s awareness about the necessity of annual skin checks. So far, we have detected dozens of cases of skin cancer, several of which were melanoma.

There are so many positive benefits to spending time outdoors in the sunlight. At LiveSunSmart.org, we want to create awareness about melanoma and all skin cancers, without creating fear by offering you realistic strategies that allow you to live a sun-compatible life. That’s why we call our annual gala, Celebrate Living SunSmart! This year’s event, which helps support the development and implementation of our family of Live SunSmart programs, will be held on May 30th at Maritime Parc in Liberty State Park, NJ. We will be honoring NFL Coach and CBS NFL Today analyst, Bill Cowher for his tremendous efforts to educate the public, especially men, about the risks of melanoma. As a testament to his diligent work, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell will be on hand to present the Apollo Award. Set against the backdrop of the amazing New York City skyline, the gala promises to be a wonderful night of excellent food, entertainment and awareness.

If you would like to learn more about our organization, support our efforts or attend our Celebrate Living SunSmart Gala, please visit www.livesunsmart.org.

Teri Festa is Executive Director and Founder of LiveSunSmart.org, formerly known as the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation, based in Montclair, NJ.

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