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.
NY Jets DL Coach Karl Dunbar takes skin care seriously, especially since he has vitiligo. As a coach, he helps his players not only understand how to become a great football player, but also how to take care of their skin and health. Since players spend a significant amount of time outdoors, we asked for his take on sunburn.
Is sunburn something you think about as a coach?
Yes sunburn is something I think of everyday since I’ve become aware of my skin condition – vitiligo.
What do you do when your players get sunburn?
Because our training staff does a great job of providing sunscreen and sun protective clothing for our players, it doesn’t happen very often.
Does sunburn happen often?
It happens sometimes when we play in Florida or Arizona early in the season, and games are at 1 p.m. In training camp we do a great job of practicing early or late in the day to avoid the Heat Index, when it’s high, and peak UV hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
Obviously with vitiligo, you think about sunburn. Is sunburn a concern amongst your players with darker skin tones?
No, the players with darker skin don’t seem to care until their skin starts peeling. We’ve done a great job of educating them about ultra violet sun rays and what they can do to your skin over any period of time.
If you’re unfortunate enough to get sunburn, home treatment measures may provide some relief from a mild sunburn. WebMD recommends the following:
• Use cool cloths on sunburned areas.
• Take frequent cool showers or baths.
• Apply soothing lotions that contain aloe vera to sunburned areas.
• Drink plenty of fluids.
• Cover-up with a hat, clothes and sunscreen outdoors.
While you cannot reverse sun damage, be SunAWARE from that point on and make a conscious effort to protect yourself from UV.
Reducing your risk for melanoma by 20 percent could be as easy as popping aspirin, at least if you’re a woman over age 50. A new study in the journal Cancer looked at melanoma in 60,000 post-menopausal Caucasian women. Over a 12-year period, women who took aspirin twice a week or more had a 20 percent lower risk of developing melanoma, the most progressive form of skin cancer.
The results applied to aspirin use only and not other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
Before aspirin can be prescribed to patients at risk for melanoma, clinical trial testing must be performed. Additionally, pain relievers increase a user’s risk of bleeding and pose other potentially serious side effects. The only proven method of skin cancer prevention is avoiding UV exposure and using sun protection (a wide brim hat, sunscreen and sun protective clothing).
Currently, researchers plan to do follow-up studies in younger women and men.
As always, talk with your doctor regarding your health concerns.
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.
Going to the nail salon seems like a harmless act; however, dermatologists are concerned that the newest nail trend, gel manicures, and the UV machines used during the process may contribute to skin cancer and hand aging.
The process of a gel manicure includes placing your hands in a machine that emits UVA for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. UVA rays are proven to contribute to skin aging and skin cancer. According to a segment that aired this morning on the Today Show, most customers receive a gel manicure twice a month on average. In the short-term gel manicures prevent nails from splitting and look great. In the long run, dermatologists say regular customers may be looking at aged hands and possible skin cancers down the road unless customers take skin protection measures.
Here are a few precautions you can take before heading to the salon to protect your hands and skin as much as possible:
1. Wear UV protective gloves: Wearing UPF 50+ fingerless gloves can protect your hands from over-exposure to UV light. Regular cotton gloves may still allow UV to reach the skin. If you opt to make your own fingerless gloves without UV protective material, use sunscreen underneath.
2. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed fingertips: Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Have the nail artist apply sunscreen to your hands instead of lotion. Bring along a tube of sunscreen that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both ingredients provide physical UV protection that blocks UV instantly, unlike chemical sunscreens that are absorbed by the skin and can take up to 30 minutes to protect.
3. Routinely check skin for changes around and under your nail beds: Skin cancer is preventable in many cases, and when caught early, it is highly treatable. If you spot something unusual, seek advice from a dermatologist.
Watch “Nail safety: Do’s and don’ts of gel manicures”.
If you share a close bond with your significant other, you may want to consider giving them a skin exam this Valentine’s Day and asking them to do the same for you.
Melanoma and non-melanomas can be tricky to spot on one’s own skin, especially on the scalp and back. For men in particular, one third of melanomas are found on the back. Men are also much less likely to examine their own skin, and studies have shown that when skin cancer is found at an early stage, it is most often detected by a spouse or partner. Studies have also shown that couples who check one another for skin cancer tend to do so more thoroughly than people who perform skin self-exams alone.
If you find a suspicious spot on your spouse, urge them to see a dermatologist right away for proper diagnosis. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the three most common types of skin cancer, are treatable when detected early. So help ensure you and your valentine are around for many Valentine’s Days to come.
Skin Cancer Warning Signs from the Skin Cancer Foundation
– A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.
– A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture, is irregular in outline, is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser, appears after age 21
– A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.
– An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
Look for any of the warning signs when you perform a self-exam. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.
Coolibar has new prints and colors galore this spring. Choosing a print that complements your facial features can be a daunting task. Our favorite go to stylist, Bridgette Raes, knows all about choosing the right print for your complexion, so we decided to take some advice from her blog.
“When choosing prints, one must consider their own personal coloring to decide just how much bold contrast to wear.
Print Intensity – Combining two colors together in a print creates a contrast between those two colors. For example, if those two colors are extreme opposites (like black and white) you have created a high amount contrast, which gives the print a high level of intensity. If, however, the color combinations found in the print are closer in relationship to each other (a combination of soft pastels, for example) you have created a low amount of contrast between the colors and that combination has a low level of intensity.
Just like color combinations in prints have an intensity level, so does your own personal coloring. Intensity levels vary from person to person, and can be high, low, or somewhere in between, which would be referred to as medium. Your own level is determined by the relationship of contrast between your hair, skin and eyes. The model on the right has a lot of contrast between her hair skin and eyes which creates a lot of contrast or an intensity in her coloring. The model on the left has much softer features, with her hair, skin and eyes being closer in color; therefore her intensity level, would be low.
Why does this matter?
When choosing prints, it is important to consider your own personal intensity level as you’ll always look best when your personal intensity matches the intensity in the prints you choose.
When someone with a low level of intensity in their personal coloring wears too much contrast in the color combinations they choose they look drowned out. When a person with a high level of intensity in their coloring chooses a color combination that is too soft or low in contrast, they look washed out.”
Keep these guidelines in mind if you’re unsure of a print choice, but at the end of the day, if you love a print, go for it!
About Bridgette: Since 2002, Style Expert Bridgette Raes has transformed the wardrobes and styles of hundreds of clients. She is the president of Bridgette Raes Style Group in New York and author of the book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want. Her witty, down-to-earth and educational advice has made her a sought-after writer, spokesperson and style expert for many media outlets.
Clothing has protected people from the sun (and other elements) for tens of thousands of years. In addition to keeping skin protected, clothing can also help maintain a modest appearance, which is still important in many cultures.
Effective protection from the sun comes through a combination of clothing that covers up the skin and fabrics that block UV penetration. What’s new today is that it is possible to create sophisticated fabrics that are bright and very light-weight, yet still highly effective in blocking UV. This is made possible by adding UV blockers, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, into the fibers of specially engineered fabrics.
The best of this combination of sophisticated fabrics made into clothing that covers up is the creation of fashionable designs that can appeal to different cultures and countries.
To what extent have these new fabrics been adopted around the globe? The original source of much of the innovation in sun protective clothing was Australia. This country has a relatively fair-skinned population, with high levels of sun exposure due to its location and the active, outdoor lifestyle of its people. In the second half of the 20th century, this combination of factors led to extremely high levels of skin cancer – with malignant melanoma overtaking lung cancer in the 1990s.
Part of the response to this problem in Australia was the re-introduction of the old idea of using clothing as protection against the sun. In particular, when at the beach or in the pool, Australians, particularly children, started to cover up using swim shirts, known as rash guards or rashies.
A federal government agency, now officially the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), developed guidelines for testing and labeling these garments. According to its website, the ARPANSA has issued over 50 million UPF rating tags for sun protective products.
In US, skin cancer rates have been increasing over the past 50 years with over a million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually. The Canadian Dermatology Society estimates 75,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with non-malignant skin cancer annually.
Like Australia, the well-publicized rise in skin cancer rates have prompted people in the United States and Canada to again use clothing as a primary defense against too much sun exposure. Children can often be seen wearing swim shirts while wide-brimmed women’s hats are once again in style. And for 15 years there have been guidelines for testing and labeling sun protective clothing from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists and from the American Society for Testing and Materials based on the standards originally developed in Australia.
These same sun protective clothing standards have also been adopted in Europe by the European Committee for Standardization and the related organizations within member countries. However, in many parts of Europe, particularly within the warmer, southern countries, people still believe that tanning is a sign of being healthy and attractive. On the other hand, there is a growing awareness of the dangers of overexposure to the sun and the role of sun protective clothing, particular in northern regions such as the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandinavia.
In Asia, many people have continued the practices of the past centuries and use clothing for modesty and protection against the sun. Sun umbrellas or parasols are very popular in countries such as China and Japan. And a number of countries, such as Indonesia, have started to adopt Australian-style swimwear. So, many people in Asia continue to be cautious about exposure to the sun in the same way they have for many generations.
Cultural beliefs about health and the sun have been an important factor in shaping the fashions we see and wear. Today, although attitudes differ around the world, in many countries we are seeing a generally increasing recognition of the importance of protection against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Did you know Coolibar was the first sun protective clothing company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) seal of recommendation? That’s right, the first! Founded by dermatologist, Perry Robins, the SCF is an independent non-profit organization, focused on promoting the dangers of sun exposure, as well as the importance of prevention.
The SCF states, “To earn the Seal of Recommendation, a manufacturer must provide scientific data showing that its product sufficiently and safely aids in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin.” The scientific data is reviewed by a committee of notable Photo Biologists- experts on the damaging effects of UV exposure.
Coolibar carries the traditional seal of recommendation, which is used for all sun protection products. To receive the seal, products have to pass a number of tests including, having a UPF rating of 30 or higher, meeting acceptable test results according to the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists method and our hats must have a brim width of at least three inches.
So, why is the seal of recommendation imperative to Coolibar? Currently, the FDA does not regulate sun protective clothing. In addition to testing performed at independent laboratories, the seal of recommendation is Coolibar’s way of providing customers with peace of mind, knowing that products are guaranteed to block 98% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays. We provide quality sun protection, it’s all we do. While wearing our sun protective products, you can go ahead and enjoy your vacation with your family, or play tennis all day.
Is the SCF seal of recommendation something you look for, before you purchase your sun protective products?
Minnesota’s skin cancer rates are going up, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota is not the only state seeing more skin cancer cases. Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says the national incidence of melanoma has been on the rise since the mid 70s. Officials are urging the public to avoid the sun all year long and stay out of tanning beds.
The department says melanoma rates rose 35 percent for men and 38 percent for women between 2005 and 2009 in Minnesota. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of melanoma isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma. Adversely, limiting UV exposure can help reduce a person’s chances of getting melanoma.
More on Minnesota’s Rising Melanoma Rates and Melanoma:
Earlier this month we discussed the growing role technology plays in the fight against skin cancer. In fact, we’ve created a pin board, highlighting some of our favorite apps.
Now, in light of a recent study published by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there is a growing concern for the accuracy of the apps that are meant to detect skin cancer. Four smartphone apps were evaluated on their ability to determine whether moles have morphed into cancerous melanomas. The results ranged from 98.1% accuracy to only 6.8%. If consumers are relying on their smart phone alone to diagnose their health issues, this inaccuracy poses a big problem.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Health-app makers include disclaimers warning patients that they don’t mean to diagnose anything. ‘We’re not saying this replaces a practitioner,’ said Avi Lasarow, co-founder of the Mole Detective app, which uses algorithms to gauge mole risk but plans to add a physician-referral feature. ‘We’re saying, this is a way you can look to determine whether you might have a problem,’ he said.”
Most consumer health apps haven’t yet been required to demonstrate their safety and efficacy through the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA said in a statement that the UPMC study results “reinforce the importance of consumers talking with a health care professional before making any medical decisions” because of the seriousness of melanoma, and that addressing mobile apps is a top priority at the agency.
What do you think, are skin cancer detecting apps helpful or harmful?