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Wear Sun Protection

Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing

It’s All in the Fabric – Coolibar SUNTECT

The most common question we get from first time customers at Coolibar is “how does your clothing protect against the sun’s UV rays?” The answer is quite simple – it’s all in the fabric!

Our SUNTECT® fabrics are rated UPF 50+ meaning they block 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays and provide protection in one of two ways: 1) A broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredient, either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, is permanently embedded into the fibers during the manufacturing process. These sunscreen ingredients reflect UV, so UVA and UVB rays bounce off the garment. 2) Tight-weave construction prevents UVA and UVB rays from penetrating the garment.

Each SUNTECT® fabric has unique qualities to suite a variety of outdoor lifestyles. The fabric type can be found on each individual item page on Coolibar.com under the “Fabric Details” tab. Here are our most popular SUNTECT® fabrics:

3D dri SUNTECT® – Stay cool when the sun heats up.
(The Sunblock Hoodie pictured above is made with this fabric. Click on the picture, zoom in, and you’ll see the texture!)

Description: A visible tiny surface grid pattern lifts the fabric off skin providing cooling comfort.
Sun protection source: embedded titanium dioxide
Features: lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, soft
Activities: hiking, jogging, walking, beach bumming, boating, high-heat activity, traveling
Content: 100% Polyester
Care instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry

ZnO SUNTECT® – Dress in the comfort of everyday cotton.

Description: Millions of tiny particles of zinc oxide are woven into every fiber for sun protection that cannot wash or wear out.
Sun protection source: embedded zinc oxide
Features: soft cotton feel, lightweight, cool, antimicrobial properties reduce rash and body odors
Activities: everyday, casual, camping, walking, hiking, gardening, biking, traveling
Content: 70% cotton, 25% viscose from bamboo, 5% spandex (exception: grey color)
Care Instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry

aire SUNTECT® – Slip-on silky feminine coverage for work or play.

Description: Feather-light, with a luxurious feel, this fabric is so soft, airy and cool, no one will ever guess it provides maximum sun protection.
Sun protection source: tight weave construction
Features: silk like feel, lightweight, fast-drying, moisture-wicking, naturally wrinkle resistant
Activities: working, farming, gardening, traveling, beach bumming, boating, picnicking
Content: 86% polyester, 14% spandex
Care Instructions: Machine wash, tumble dry

aqua SUNTECT® – Dive in with quick-dry UV gear made for water or workouts

Description: Much lighter weight than typical swimwear, it’s extremely water friendly and comfortable enough to wear even in the hottest weather.
Sun protection source: tight weave construction
Features: chlorine and salt water resistant, retains shape, doesn’t cling, quick-drying, durable
Activities: swimming, surfing, boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, running, biking
Content: polyester/lycra blend or polyester/spandex blend or nylon/spandex blend (check item label)
Care Instructions: Machine wash, line dry

 

Common Questions:

What is the difference between sun protective clothing and regular clothing?
Most summer clothing actually provides less sun protection than a SPF 30 sunscreen. We test each garment we sell for UPF 50+ coverage.

What is the difference between UPF and SPF?
The Ultraviolet Protection Factor or UPF on sun protective clothing is actually a very similar concept to the Sun Protection Factor or SPF rating for sunscreen but there are some differences. The major difference is that the UPF for sun protective clothing and swimming shirts rates protection for both UVA and UVB whereas the SPF number on sunscreen only rates protection against UVB. Also, a person wearing a UPF 30 garment will, in practice, be protected against 96% of UVA and UVB, whereas most people who use a SPF 30 sunscreen don’t apply enough sunscreen and, in practice, end up with significantly less protection, typically being protected against less than 50% of UVB.

If I wear sun protective clothes, do I still need sunscreen?
Sunscreen is always recommended on areas not directly covered by our sun protective fabric, such as your chin, cheeks and hands – this will ensure maximum UV protection.

Why can I see light through some of my UPF 50+ clothes and hats? Does that mean they’re not blocking 98% of UVA and UVB?
The garment or hat is still protective even when you can see light through it. UV rays are shorter and have a higher frequency than visible light rays. Visible light is not harmful to us since the frequency is not high enough. You can still see light through sunglasses with 100% UV protection – right?

Are all sun protective clothes the same?
No. Every company that produces sun protective clothing has different quality standards and fabric types for their UPF clothing. In addition, different sun protective clothes may have ratings lower than UPF 50+. Coolibar only sells sun protective clothing with a UPF rating of 50+.

Is the titanium dioxide in some of the fabrics safe?
Yes. The micronized non-nano titanium dioxide particles are encapsulated by the fibers. We often use the seeded watermelon analogy to explain.

– The fibers (fibers are thread together to make the fabric) = the rind of the watermelon.
– The titanium dioxide = the watermelon seeds. If you cut the watermelon in half, you can see the seeds on the inside.

The seeds, however, are never able to reach the surface of the watermelon. The same principle applies with the titanium dioxide used in our clothing.

How many times can I wash it before the sun protection wears out?
Our SUNTECT® brand fabrics have guaranteed UPF of 50+ for the life of the garment. The protection does not wash or wear out.

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Sun Protection Clothing

Sun Protective Clothing – Your Best Defense Against the Sun

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) has updated their advice on skin cancer prevention, and “Wear Protective Clothing” has been listed before “Generously Apply Sunscreen.”  The National Coucil is comprised of members from all leading skin cancer prevention organizations.  The Skin Cancer Foundation, a member of the NCSCP, says, “Clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection. It is our first line of defense against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.” However, not all clothing provides adequate sun protection.  Look for a UPF 50+ rating, which is the highest rating available for clothing and blocks 98% UVA and UVB rays.

Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s rundown on sun protective clothing and learn how to choose apparel that will ensure your skin is safe in the sun.

The Skin Cancer Foundation on Sun Protective Clothing

What a UPF Rating Really Means

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly, because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through.

What’s the Difference between UPF and SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is the rating you’re familiar with for sunscreens and other sun-protective products. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden, while UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin.

Which Fabrics are Best?

As a rule, light-colored, lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun. That white T-shirt you slip on at the beach when you feel your skin burning provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7. At the other end of the spectrum, a long-sleeved dark denim shirt offers an estimated UPF of 1,700 – which amounts to a complete sun block. In general, clothing made of tightly-woven fabric best protects skin from the sun. The easiest way to test if a fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate it – and your skin.

The color of the fabric also plays a role. Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter at blocking out the sun. For instance, the UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 versus 7 for white cotton, and a thicker fabric such as velvet in black, blue or dark green has an approximate UPF of 50.

Fabric Content and the Wearer’s Activity Make a Difference

What the clothing is made of matters. Fabrics such as unbleached cotton contain special pigments called lignins that act as UV absorbers. High-luster polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation.

Even if the piece of clothing has a good UPF, what you do while wearing it can make a difference. If the fabric gets stretched, it will lose some of its protective ability, because the fabric becomes thinner and more transparent to light. And once it gets wet, it can lose up to 50 percent of its UPF. In Florida, it is a common practice for parents to put a white T-shirt on their children to protect them from the sun while swimming. But when that T-shirt gets wet, it provides a UPF of only 3.

Consider High-Tech Clothing

When selecting clothes for sun protection, consider fabrics that have been specially treated with chemical UV absorbers, known as colorless dyes. These prevent some penetration of both UVB and UVA rays. A number of manufacturers are now making special sun-protective clothing that has been treated with a chemical sunblock during the manufacturing process. In addition, they use fabrics of the weave and colors that provide protection best. The garments are designed to cover as much of the skin as possible.

New standards for sun-protective fabrics in the US were unveiled in January, 2001. UPF is similar to SPF, in that they both measure protection.

Only clothes with a UPF of 15-50+ may be labeled as sun-protective. Clothes that are marketed with a sun-protective claim are usually UPF 50+. Also, like regular clothing, sun-protective clothing may lose its effectiveness if pulled too tight or stretched out, if it becomes damp or wet, or if it is washed and worn repeatedly.

Reference: Skin Cancer Foundation website. http://www.skincancer.org/sun-protective-clothing.html 

Coolibar is the authority in sun protection. With years of advanced testing and innovative sun-blocking technologies, we make the highest quality sun protective fabrics available. Shop Coolibar or visit the Coolibar Facebook Page to have a sun protection expert answer your questions about sun protective clothing.

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New Products Parenting SunAWARE Wear Sun Protection

Sun Safety for Junior Sailors

Danger at Graves Light

Adult sailors and junior sailors alike must be able to swim, wear a personal floatation device, and stay calm in an emergency. However, sun safety is often forgotten or left out when teaching children important sailing safety basics. 

The reflection of the sun off the water represents a significant skin cancer risk to sailors. One person dies every hour from skin cancer in the United States and melanoma is responsible for 90% of these deaths. Melanoma is associated with both childhood sunburns and recreational boating, which emphasizes the need for children interested in sailing to be educated about protecting their skin from the sun. 

This is why Maryellen Maguire-Eisen (Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation Executive Director) and Mary Mills Barrow (SunAWARE Executive Director) decided to write “Danger At Graves Light”.  “The book will empower adolescent sailors with current and reliable information about the dangers of overexposure to ultraviolet radiation on the water and will offer five easy action steps for sun protection,” says Barrow. 

The sun protection steps are described by using the SunAWARE acronym, which provides a useful and memorable way to get across all important information about sun safety. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More about Danger At Graves Light: 

“Danger At Graves Light” tells the story of five young sailors who don’t believe that bad things can happen on a calm, sunny day on the water. When their grandmother tells them the amazing story of a sunny day rescue at Graves Light, they finally understand that the sun can be just as dangerous as a storm at sea. 

“Danger at Graves Light” has been endorsed by US SAILING and features a personal introduction by Susan Epstein, US SAILING Director.  The book hopes to raise awareness of the need for sun safety and aid US SAILING in developing a skin cancer prevention education campaign.

If you are interested in more information or in obtaining copies of the book, contact CMPF or SunAWARE.

Danger At Graves Light” can also be purchased at Coolibar

 

MaryEllen Maguire-Eisen at the Release of "Danger At Graves Light" on Don't Fry Day 2011
Susan Epstein (US Sailing), Adam Lipson (Community Boating Inc.), Charlie Zechel (Community Boating Inc.), Maryellen Maguire-Eisen (CMPF) and Mimi Svenning (CMPF) at book release on Don't Fry Day 2011
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Sun Protection Clothing Wear Sun Protection What's Hot

How to Add Sun Protection to Your Beach Wardrobe

cover ups

You’ve heard about the dangers of tanning, and worry about UV rays causing skin cancer and wrinkles.  You want to protect yourself, but you don’t want to look like a beekeeper at the beach.  Sound familiar?    

We at Coolibar have a few simple tips on incorporating sun protection into your beach wardrobe.  It’s easy and you get to keep your bikini!  By adding key beach accessories to your broad-spectrum sunscreen and sunglasses you’ll be ready for a worry-free day at the beach.   

Wide brimmed hats offer excellent sun protection

Add a Wide Brimmed Hat

Big hats are hot this season!  Not only do they look good, they provide excellent sun protection.  Wide brim hats, with 3” brims or greater shade your face, ears and neck and the enormous 8” brim beach hats even protect your chest and shoulders.  Not to mention they keep you cooler since you’re not exposed to as much direct sunlight. 

 

Cover-ups are a versatile sun protection accessorie.Add a UPF50+ Cover-Up

Sun protective cover-ups, tunics and sarongs are essential sun protection accessories and can block up to 98% UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. In fact, CNN reported that sun-blocking styles are A Healthy New Fashion Trend. The beauty of the cover up is its versatility. Cover-ups offer shoulder, chest, back and arm UV protection depending on the design. You can wear it or take it off according to the amount of sun you’re exposed to.  

You’ll only need to apply and re-apply sunscreen to the exposed areas of your skin.  

These tools are your best defense against sun’s rays. So, grab your hat, sun tunic, broad-spectrum sunscreen and sunglasses for your next beach adventure.  

You’ll look great and your skin will thank you for it!

Shop Coolibar hats and cover-ups.

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Apply Sunscreen Expert Rx Inside Coolibar Parenting Sun Protection Clothing Sunscreens and Lotions Videos

FDA Updates Sunscreen Regulations

Sunscreen Label Changes

In case you haven’t heard, on Tuesday, June 14, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new guidelines that sunscreen manufacturers will be required to follow for sunscreen labeling in order to help protect consumers from skin damage caused by sun exposure. Beginning summer 2012 the new rules dictate that in order to earn a “broad spectrum” designation, sunscreens must protect from both UVB rays, which cause burning, and UVA rays, which cause wrinkles.

 

New FDA Sunscreen Guidelines

Here’s what you need to know about the new Broad-Spectrum labeling.  An example of the new FDA label is pictured above.

 

  • Established standards have been set for testing the effectiveness of over-the-counter sunscreens and will be labeled as “Broad- Spectrum” according to the test results.
  • A certain percentage of a broad-spectrum product’s total protection is against UVA.
  • If a sunscreen is labeled as both “Broad-Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) it can claim to protect against sunburn and if used as directed, can help reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
  • The familiar “Drug Facts” box found on most OTC drugs will be required.
  • Any sunscreen not labeled as “Broad-Spectrum” or that has an SPF value between 2 and 14, has only been shown to help prevent sunburn.
  • Sunscreens that are not broad-spectrum or that are broad-spectrum with SPF values less than 15 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert:  Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
  • No “waterproof,” “sweatproof” or “sunblock” labeling.  Water resistant labeling is allowed with SPF effectiveness times of only 40 or 80 minutes.
  • Sunscreens cannot claim protection immediately upon application (instant protection) or for more than 2 hours without reapplication, unless they submit data and get approval from FDA.
  • The FDA is proposing that the maximum SPF value on labeling is SPF 50+.
  • The agency currently considers wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes, and shampoo not eligible for the monograph. Therefore, they cannot be marketed without an approved application.


Guaranteed Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens from Coolibar

Hooray to the FDA for finally making these necessary improvements to sunscreen labeling.  If, however, the new guidelines seem overwhelmingly complex, let Coolibar take the guesswork out of your next sunscreen purchase.  Our merchandising team has researched and tested the best sunscreens on the market.  As always, we offer only broad-spectrum sunscreens with at least an SPF of 30 or higher.  You can trust that any sunscreen you purchase from Coolibar will provide both UVA and UVB protection; you have our word on it.  And when combined with a hat, Coolibar clothing and sunglasses, you’re equipped for all day, worry-free UV protection.


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New Products Sun Protection Clothing What our customers say

3D dri SUNTECT – Coolibar’s “Coolest” New Fabric

Scott Boating

3D dri SUNTECT®, one of Coolibar’s latest innovative fabrics, does more than offer UPF 50+ sun protection. It’s a performance fabric that uses tiny grid patterns to prevent this lightweight polyester fabric from sticking to the skin, enhancing breathability and moisture-wicking effectiveness.

Coolibar customer, Scott Eisen (pictured to the left) has always enjoyed boating and fishing and loves to hit open waters where the sun’s rays reflect off the water’s surface, intensifying UV exposure. After spending some time out in the boat on a hot sunny day in his new Coolibar Sunblock Hoodie, Scott decided to share a few thoughts on the garment’s design and Coolibar’s new 3D dri SUNTECT® material.

 “Great material, very lightweight … and good to use even when it’s hot outside,” says Scott referring to the Sunblock Hoodie. “The hood is a great feature as well. I also like the white color and the vents that are in the sides that let air in to cool me.”

We asked Scott to tell us the overall comfort level of the fabric (ranging from 10 great to 0 horrible). His response – a 10! “The 3D dri SUNTECT® fabric is very soft and very light. You don’t notice that you’re wearing anything.” Scott repeats, “The fabric keeps you cool because you don’t feel that you’re wearing it, yet it blocks the sun. And it does not stick to your skin at all!”

“My favorite feature of the fabric is how light it is. The fabric has no downsides. The garment itself is a bit tight around my torso when putting it on, but once it is positioned properly it’s not tight at all,” says Scott. We also asked Scott if he would recommend this garment to a friend and he said, “Yes, absolutely.”

The Coolibar Sunblock Jacket, another one of Coolibar’s new 3D dri SUNTECT® garments, was recently featured in Antenna Magazine, the first mainstream magazine to target individuals who are on a constant quest for the newest and coolest products on the horizon.

Antenna Mag - Summer 2011SUNTECT® Sun Protective Clothing for Men

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SUNTECT® Sun Protective Clothing for Women

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Shop Coolibar

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Sun Protection Clothing

Vacation Without the Burn

Before Jennifer’s recent trip to Hawaii, she packed her sun hats, sun protective clothing, sunscreen and sunglasses in order to avoid bringing back a flamboyant red tone as a souvenir. So, did her pre-planning help her avoid a painful situation? 

For the first time in my life I returned from a sunny vacation without a single sunburn!  The idea that this fair skinned, red haired woman can spend a week in sunny Hawaii and not get burned is a new concept for me.  I’ve spent countless hours in the sun with my darker complected friends only to contend with the pain of sunburn in the places I missed with sunscreen or in some instances a full out sunburn from not re-applying sunscreen at all (having too much fun to stop and re-apply) .  Terms like lobster and tomato have been used to describe my skin’s reddish hue after a day on the beach…and I felt like a fool when I changed for dinner and my cute new sundress was overshadowed by my flaming skin!

I’m a proud 5 year Coolibar employee.  When I was interviewing with the company, I remember thinking, “I don’t get it, isn’t all clothing sun protective?”  I’ve since learned that not all clothing is equal in its ability to protect from the sun, plus it doesn’t matter if you’re not willing to wear it.  So now, thanks to Coolibar, I’ve got my arsenal of UPF 50+ hats, swimwear, clothing, sunglasses, and dermatologist recommended sunscreen.  I can spend endless hours in the sun, feeling glamorous, in my Coolibar stuff and I don’t have to worry about sunburn, skin cancer or wrinkles.  I say, bring on the sun, I’m ready for it!  I heart my Coolibar!

Jennifer

Coolibar Employee

Jennifer’s vacation items from Coolibar included: Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat (pictured above), Short Sleeve Swim Shirt and Swim Skirt with Shorts (pictured on boat), Avalon Bucket Hat (pictured in car and boat), and Cotz SPF 58 sunscreen (not pictured).

Jen and Ren under an umbrella
Jen and Ren seeking shade
Jen Boating
Jen Boating in her Swim Shirt and Avalon Hat
Jen driving top down
Jen driving top down in her Avalon Hat
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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing SunAWARE

Make Sure Dad is Covered This Father’s Day

If dad loves to spend time fishing, golfing, biking or participating in any outdoor activity, you may want to consider giving him the gift of sun protective clothing this Father’s Day. It not only will keep him cooler and more comfortable than if his skin was directly exposed to the sun,  but it will protect him from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation says, “The sun’s UV radiation is associated with about 90 percent of all skin cancers.” Men over age 40 spend the most time outdoors and have the highest annual exposure to ultraviolet radiation. And the majority of people diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, are white men over age 50, states the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Middle-aged and older men often don’t perform self skin exams or regularly visit a dermatologist, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Thus, they are the least likely individuals to detect melanoma in its early stages. Encouragement from family members is essential when convincing Dad of the importance of sun protection and early detection. Father’s Day is the perfect time to give your dad the gift of sun protection to show him how much you care. 

We asked our Dads at Coolibar what their favorite sun protection item is so we could pass their recommendations onto you. They gave the following sun protective shirts and hats two thumbs up!

Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing

Swim Shirt

“When coming out of the water on a hot day the shirt keeps me cool even in the sun. Plus it reduces the need for sunscreen.” –Lu

Convertible Polo

“The Convertible Golf Polo is the lightest and softest polo shirt I have ever owned. It stretches when I move and keeps me as cool as most T-shirts.” –Ben

Travel Shirt

“It has great light fabric and nice big pockets for passport and other documents. For my photo shoots in sunny FL & CA, I packed 5 travel shirts. I use the triple collar all the time to protect my neck.”  –Lu

Long-Sleeve Polo

“I have one of these with me in my suitcase at all times.  It’s very comfortable, very protective, and is great for traveling.”  –John

Coolibar Sun Hats

Featherweight Bucket Hat

“It is extremely lightweight and packable so I carry one with me in my bag all of the time.  It’s very protective with a nice curved brim and a navy under-brim to absorb reflected UV.  And if it gets windy I can use the draw string to make sure it doesn’t blow off, normally I tuck this up into the hat.”         –John

Packable Fedora

“This is a great value, classic style, and allows you to wear a fedora without worrying about crushing it when you take it off. Especially great on a winter vacation to the south – you can pack it way so you don’t look out of place in the Minneapolis, MN airport in the middle of February wearing a straw hat!” –Michael  

Shapeable Outback Hat

“It’s perfect for landscaping work, and is extremely durable and rugged.” – Alan

Don’t forget Sunscreen and Sunglasses for Dad too!

Have a SunAWARE Father’s Day!

–Coolibar

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Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

What is Your Coolibar Beach Style?

Answer 10 simple questions to determine your ideal Coolibar beach look, because there is no need to give up your style to get reliable sun protection!

Is your style Sporty? Timeless? Glamorous? Smart?

The answer is below!

  

  

Scroll down to see your Coolibar beach style.

Swim & Surf Chic (Sporty Style)

If your first mission is to hit the water once the waves are in sight, then you’ll need an ensemble that works as hard as you work the water (and is stylish of course!) Coolibar suggests: Swim Jacket, Swim Tights, Chlorine Resistant Hat, UV Swim Goggles and All Terrain Aqua Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen

 

Shoreline Meanderer (Classic Timeless Style)

If your plan includes meandering through shops or dining seaside, you’ll probably want something with a little more coverage and style. Coolibar suggests: Sun Sarong, ZnO Sun Wrap, Tropicana Sun Hat, Mixed Pearl Necklace, Mykonos Sunglasses and Colorscience SPF 30 Powder Makeup

Lounging Lady (Glamorous Style)

If your ideal day at the beach or poolside is sitting under a parasol, reading a book and only moving to grab and sip of your pink lemonade every so often, then you’ll want sun wear to make your day as comfortable and relaxed as possible while still keeping your sense of style in mind!  Coolibar suggests: ZnO Sarasota Beach Cover Up, Ruche Swim Shirt, Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat, Cookie Sunglasses and Body Cotz SPF 35 Sunscreen

Active Chic (Smart Style)

You never know what a day at the beach will bring for you and your spontaneous nature. You go for simple, versatile and carefree looks you can throw on in an instant at the beach for some sand volleyball or reading your favorite magazine. You may even wade in the water from time to time. Coolibar suggests: Beach Shirt, ZnO Beach Pants, Marina Sun Hat, Patrol Sunglasses, Stone and Leather Cuff and Soleo Organics SPF 30 Sunscreen

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Sun Protection Clothing Wellness Warriors

I’m Only 21, I Can’t Get Cancer

In 2009, Jessi went to a dermatologist to have a freckle removed. A week later, she received a call from her doctor and was told she had Melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer). She was only 21-years-old at the time. Before her diagnoses, Jessi was unaware of the dangers of UV exposure. In high school, she tanned during the short Minnesota summers and visited tanning salons before formal dances. Since then, she has been proactive about sun protection and tracking changes on her skin throughout the year.

Jessi’s Story

I never thought I would be diagnosed with skin cancer. I had a freckle on my forearm with all the characteristics of a questionable spot. After a couple friends said I should get that spot checked out, I finally decided to go to the clinic and have the freckle removed. The next week, I received a call from the clinic and was told I had Melanoma and needed to have more skin removed. Before I had a larger excision, I scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist for an entire body check. During that appointment, two more spots were removed. The spot on my back came back positive with Melanoma. Especially after the second spot came back positive, my mentality about sun protection has completely changed. I am now always prepared with sunscreen or sun protective clothing when I know I will be spending time in the sun. 

Jessi Staying Covered Hiking Grand Canyon
Jessi Staying Covered Hiking Grand Canyon, 2010

Since I was diagnosed, a few things have changed. First of all, I will never use tanning beds again. Although I never used them regularly or frequently, I did use tanning beds in order to be tan for formal dances. Secondly, I am now always aware of when I am in the sun and plan ahead for protection.

Sun protection played a minor role in my life before my diagnosis. After diagnosis, I now make sure I have a stock of sun screen, sun protective clothing and a nice hat. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with skin cancer, sun protection is important. Not only does it reduce your chance for skin cancer, it keeps your skin looking younger longer. It is never too early to start using skin protection. 

Melanoma Removal Scar on Back
Melanoma Removal Scar on Back
A-Typical Mole Removed on Leg
A-Typical Mole Removed on Leg

 

Jessi also has a scar on her arm where Melanoma was removed. She visits the dermatologist twice a year to have a full-skin exam. After her melanoma was excised two years ago, her doctor has not found any more traces of Melanoma, although Jessi continues to have a-typical (suspicious) moles removed almost every visit.

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