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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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Blue is “In” for Spring 2014, and That’s Not All

There’s a certain magic behind Coolibar products for Spring 2014. And, while UPF 50+ sun protection provides its own technical wonders, this magic has much more to do with color – bright, positive, life-in-the-sun kind of color – and patterns that accentuate both what we do and how you feel.

To start: the color blue is officially “in” for spring. So are ranges of mints and corals, along with striking prints that call to mind soft, light, watery brushstrokes that reflect the unique design personality of Coolibar.

You can see these choices in our spring 2014 catalog. But they originate from the runways of fashion meccas worldwide, and from renowned authorities on color such as the Pantone Color Institute®. Pantone includes some of the same shades in its semi-annual report of the latest in fashion. This report is generated in part through a survey of New York Fashion Week designers.

The Important Role of Water

Womens Water Jacket – Deep Navy

Womens Water Jacket – Cobalt
Of all the new Coolibar spring colors and patterns, blue takes precedence. Blue is “in” at Coolibar because it suggests tranquility, the calm of a pool and the gentle ocean tides. Water is part of the joy of life in the sun, and it’s a big part of Coolibar; it’s also, naturally, most of what we are as human beings. You’ll see blue represented in spring fashion shows worldwide, and you’ll see shades from deep navy and cobalt blues to azure turquoise throughout the Coolibar spring line.

Mint and coral – also prominent spring color worldwide – are variously bold (e.g. Coral Heather) and complementary (e.g. Mint Deco) and extend the overall water-based Coolibar identity. In fact, the new spring prints – bold ikats, striking tribals and more simplified geos – are all reflections on the motion of water.

Appeal That Doesn’t Go Out of Style

Topping off what’s “in” for spring is a nice dash of black and white. By themselves, each color has a timeless quality; along with the blues, corals and mints and other Coolibar colors, they complete ensembles that are truly stunning.

Shop Coolibar online to find out more about our spring 2014 selection. New products are arriving daily!

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Coolibar and PRI Celebrate 10 Years

Coolibar and Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI) recently celebrated 10 years of doing business together! PRI forms partnerships with Twin Cities area businesses, arranging jobs for its more than 230 clients with developmental disabilities. These workers help Coolibar by sorting, steam cleaning and repackaging returned items. Between four and 10 PRI clients work at Coolibar daily.PRI group

The 10-year partnership was marked with a luncheon provided by PRI and held at the Coolibar St. Louis Park, MN headquarters. The event was featured this week in the local Sun Sailor newspaper, which you can read here.

Coolibar is proud of our 10 years with Partnership Resources, Inc!

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What History Tells Us About Skin Cancer and African Americans

February is African American History Month. Among much else, it can serve as a fitting reminder about a myth that has persisted for too long: African Americans (and those with darker skin tones) can’t get skin cancer. In fact, among the African American population, melanoma – the most serious kind of skin cancer – is much more deadly than among Caucasians.

You may have heard that naturally dark-skinned people have less chance of getting skin cancer, and that is true.  Darker skin naturally has more melanin, the dark pigment that protects against the sun’s UV rays. But the simple fact is, no one is immune to skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation shares these facts:

  • The overall 5-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91 percent  for Caucasians.
  • 52 percent of non-Hispanic black patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.
  • Melanomas in African Americans (and other nationalities, including Asians, Filipinos and Indonesians) most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. Up to 75 percent of tumors arise on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common skin cancer among African Americans. It tends to be more aggressive and carry a 20-40 percent risk of metastasis (spreading).
  • Skin cancer comprises one to two percent of all cancers in African Americans.  

Why is this? One reason is that the familiar story about how darker skin has a higher SPF than lighter skin (which it does) has for too long translated into “My dark skin prevents me from getting skin cancer” (which it doesn’t). It’s important to keep skin cancer top of mind; early diagnosis is often critical in successfully treating melanoma and other skin cancers.

Another big reason, according to Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, is within the medical community. Crutchfield is a board-certified dermatologist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with specialized experience treating ethic skin. He says that the relatively higher incidences of skin cancers among Caucasians – and therefore the related training for physicians – makes it more difficult for professionals to diagnose skin cancer among African Americans and other ethnic groups. The lesions, moles and other symptoms that commonly help with a skin cancer diagnosis do not always appear as readily on someone with darker skin.

Skin cancer in African Americans is also more apt to develop in harder-to-find areas such as under fingernails or toenails.

So education is one of our most effective tools to combat skin cancer. As African American History Month continues, keep in mind how you can avoid skin cancer.

Be SunAWARE and be safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cooltect Adds Cooling Effect to Sun Protection

Coolibar is already thinking spring: warmer temperatures, more active lives and all that goes with them. This spring, we’re also thinking about staying cool when the weather heats up.

Which brings us to CooltectTM. What is it?

Unlike other names you may have seen as part of our SUNTECT® fabrics, such as ZnO, aqua plus, 3D dri or lite, Cooltect is not a fabric.

Instead, it’s an innovative cooling technology that Coolibar adds to the sun protective fabrics in selected items. You can usually tell if your Coolibar item has Cooltect by looking on the inside lining. You can probably feel it, too; Cooltect actually holds the garment slightly away from the skin, creating extra airflow.

But Cooltect doesn’t really start working until you do. Think about the instant cooling sensation when you start chewing a piece of mint gum. Just as the gum reacts to saliva, the technology within the fibers of the Coolibar garment reacts as your body begins to perspire. This activates a cooling sensation and helps lower the surface temperature of your skin.

This cool, comfortable sensation has already impressed some well-known Coolibar athletes; check out their reviews here and here.Coolibar Sponsored Athlete Chad Hannon

Remember, Cooltect doesn’t replace any of the Coolibar features that provide UPF 50+ sun protection. You get fitness gear that protects AND keeps you cooler during warm weather activity.

Coolibar offers Cooltect cooling technology on select UPF 50+ products suited for fitness activities. They include our Long Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt for women, Long Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt for men, Short Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt for women, Short Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt for men and the Quarter Zip Long Sleeve Fitness Pullover for women. Watch for the latest Coolibar products featuring Cooltect in our spring catalog!

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2014: The Year to Make it Happen

Coolibar makes it happen in 2014

At the turn of the New Year, did you vow that 2014 would be the year that your dreams and goals would become reality? Perhaps your wish list included a travel destination, a positive health habit, a new adventure or an endeavor you’ve always dreamed about. You’ve likely also heard that once you start, it takes 21 days to break or form a new habit.

So here we are, 21-plus days into 2014. How’s it going?

If you answered: “Weellll…” then take heart. Research now shows that achieving a longer-term goal will require more than that first 21-day cycle. Instead, it takes, on average, from 66 to more than 200 days to “Make It Happen.”

If you find this discouraging, take heart again. To turn a dream into reality, it helps to keep in mind these three steps:

1) Define the Why. Figure out why the goal is important to you. Why is it important to achieve the dream? Who will it impact? Why do you want to make this impact? Figuring out why your resolution is important will encourage you to make it happen!

2) Take Action. Remember the adage that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step? Reassess your goals and plan as you move forward with each step on your journey. Does your goal still ring true? Does it still satisfy the “Why?” Does it still make sense as planned, or do you need to make an adjustment?  Take another step, and re-commit to the work required.

3) Visualize Your Success. Draw on the experience of previously successful models. There are good examples all around us: people that have turned a dream into reality. See “the win” in your mind’s eye.

The new year is underway. Take the time this year to commit to your dreams, health, and goals – to program a new you. Speaking of new, you can start showing off your athletic and sun safe prowess now by signing up to be a 2014 Coolibar sponsored athlete. Share your favorite sport, your inspiration and your goals as you achieve them – and wear the latest Coolibar gear! Deadline for applications is Sunday, January 26.

While you’re at it, check out what the new you can wear from our new collection of sun protective clothing for spring. Coolibar wishes you the courage, health and happiness to Make It Happen in 2014!

 

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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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Sun Protection in Winter? Ask an Olympian

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin in less than a month. While the events are cold weather related – bobsled, hockey, ice skating and skiing to name a few – the athletes remind us of the importance of sun protection year round, no matter where you live. US Olympic skier Julia Mancuso is a US favorite (gold medalist and Minnesota native Lindsay Vonn is staying home due to injuries). Julia is out skiing every day to train. And although the temperatures may be low, UV rays are still damaging – especially at higher altitudes, such as in Sochi where the alpine ski courses start more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Julie gives her tips on sun protection before hitting the slopes.

  • Apply sunscreen at least fifteen minutes before going outside
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect against both UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays)
  • Reapply sunscreen every few hours; keep a small bottle of sunscreen with you
  • Don’t forget to protect your eyes!
  • Wear a hat or helmet

Along with UPF 50+ sun protective hats, 100%  UV protective sunglasses and SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, we recommend the Coolibar Sun Gaiter for added face and neck coverage.

We wish Julia and the other athletes great success at the Olympics. Whether you’re going outside to cross-country ski, or taking your dog for a walk, or if you happen to be going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi (jealous!), remember: it’s always important to protect your skin from the sun!

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Technology for a Cooler, More Comfortable Workout

Our newest fabric, Cooltect, now incorporates sweat-activated, cooling technology into every UPF 50+ Coolibar Fitness Shirt! When the body begins to perspire, tiny dots printed inside the fabric work to absorb moisture and activate a cooling agent that actually lowers the temperature of your skin. Check out this review from Coolibar Athlete Chad Hannon, an adventure race competitor and all around healthy living devotee.

I am the kind of athlete that gets hot when I compete or train. In fact, I get so hot that other athletes regularly notice my lack of clothing. No…I’m not “Shirtless Guy” at your local 5k. Although I understand that guy, I still maintain that a shirt should be worn in races. However, I am the guy that is caught wearing just a shirt in races in January and February. No coat. Remember, I live in Illinois.

For instance, last February, I ran an eleven mile race through Starved Rock State Park. The temperature was twelve degrees at the start, and at times when the course took us right by the ice filled Illinois River the wind chill would drop to zero or less. I ran it in an Old-school Coolibar long sleeve fitness shirt. Yes, I did have a hat and light gloves, I’m not totally nuts. You get the idea how warm my body burns though when I compete.

Fast forward to August of this year, and I’m racing the Thunder Rolls 24 hour Adventure Race and it’s 90+ most of the daylight. The humidity taking the heat index past 100 degrees through the hottest part of the afternoon. What am I wearing? Yep, an Old-school Coolibar fitness shirt. I did opt for the short sleeves. The same guy who only wore a shirt in zero is now wearing pretty much the same shirt in 100.

I can honestly remember saying out loud as I ran along “Coolibar needs a cooling shirt! I mean ‘Cool’ is in their name!”. So, I was excited to find out THEY HAVE ONE NOW!

First, from a style standpoint, I was happy so see they stepped up the style. Coolibar shirts always look nice, but they did the stitching in a more contrasting color and it really looks great. I love it.

Second, they kept it just as comfortable. That is to say, it’s one of the most comfortable shirts you will ever own. I have no idea why Coolibar shirts are so comfy, but they are. The fabric is stretching and soft and just feels awesome. I gave my teammate a Coolibar shirt to run a race with me and it’s become a standing joke between us that it’s all she wears now. I am constantly seeing her on Facebook wearing it to a mountain bike race, a long trek, or even to dinner. She swears by its comfort, and so do I.

So, I really can’t tell you how the cooling works. It’s science beyond me. I can just tell you from experience that it does. It is a welcome addition to an already fantastic shirt.

Let’s face it, the ultimate fitness shirt is one you don’t notice you’re wearing. This is it!

Chad Hannon testing out Cool Fitness Shirt
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Fit to Wear Coolibar

Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Ambassador Chris Cronick spends a lot of time outdoors, teaching spin classes at the gym and traveling around the community to raise awareness for lupus along with her husband Patrick. Coolibar provided them with a few items to test during their busy month. Chris shares their thoughts on fit and function.

Coolibar is an awesome sun protective clothing line for those with lupus (like me) because we need UV protection, yet want fashion and comfort. My husband Patrick and I had the opportunity to try some fantastic items throughout the past couple of months.

I don’t know about you, but when I shop, I’m always curious to know the size and measurements of the model so I can visualize how it may fit on me. I’ve included some pictures so you can see how Coolibar fits on real people. I’m 5’8” and about 130 pounds. I wear extra small and small sizes.

Chris (pictured middle) wearing the Coolibar Vera Resort T-Shirt

One of my favorite Coolibar items is the Vera Resort T-Shirt (size small). I love this shirt so much that I now have it in Fig and Turkish Blue! It didn’t cling around my waist and was longer for my arms, providing great coverage. It’s the softest (almost silky) long sleeved shirt I have ever owned. I’m all about layering, especially living in Minnesota. This shirt can be worn alone or perfectly layered underneath a short-sleeved t-shirt, under a button-down shirt, a light jacket or vest. In fact, I thought it would make a great Christmas gift so I’m getting a couple more for my family!

I sported the Vera Resort T-Shirt, along with the Fitness Jacket in White/Iron at the most recent Twin Cities Lupus Walk for Hope event. There’s reflective piping which makes this the go-to jacket for walking the dog at night (picture upper left). There’s a zippered pocket perfectly situated on the front chest. I found this to be a nice, handy home for my cell phone. I also like the wrist cuffs which double as gloves. How ingenious is that? This lightweight, breathable jacket provides all the sun protection I’ve come to know with Coolibar with the same fitness savvy details you find in more expensive brands.

Chris and Patrick

_ I also wore the black ZnO Long Sleeve T-Shirt for the Lupus Walk for Hope in Duluth, MN. I like this T-shirt because it has a sturdier cotton/spandex construction perfect for a cooler yet sunny day. Again, the ZnO is another great layering staple. I needed to be comfortable for the two-plus hour ride to Duluth, so I wore the ZnO Long Sleeve T-shirt paired with the ZnO Beach Pants. I like to be comfortable when I travel but still feel put-together. As you can see, these beach pants are also great for doing the elliptical at the gym too! You can wear them for virtually anything. They really are an everyday pant, not just for the beach.

Chris wearing ZnO Beach Pants on elliptical

My husband Patrick does not have lupus but has very fair skin and burns easily. I encouraged him to try Coolibar as well, so he wore a few pieces to each walk. To give you an idea of his stature, he is 6’1”, about 220 pounds and mostly wears extra-large. He is tall with broad shoulders and long arms. He finds Coolibar fits his frame perfectly with a little extra “give” where he needs it. He really liked the Men’s Fitness Jacket in Limelight/Iron and the XL fit him great. The sporty colors combined with the functionality and design of the jacket made it perfect for layering up or down. There is a zippered pocket on the sleeve that conveniently held his cell phone and zippered pockets on the front that held our car keys and some money. Lightweight, breathable 3D dri SUNTECT® fabric makes this jacket sun-protective and the surface grid wicks moisture for quick-dry performance. He wears this to the gym all of the time.

I welcome any comments or questions you may have about the items I mentioned. I also want to extend my gratitude to the wonderful people of Coolibar and the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota who opened my eyes to sun protection clothing. I wish you all the very best of health!

LFM Ambassador Chris Cronick received free sun protective product for the purpose of this review.

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