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.
Coolibar Athlete Sara Snyder recently returned from a six month 2,663 mile trek from Mexico to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through 24 National Forests, seven National Parks, five California State Parks, five Bureau of Land Management Resource Areas as well as other public and private lands. Sara shares her thoughts throughout her long hike.
Photo left: PCT trailhead at the start of Kennedy Meadows
By Sara Snyder:
A lot of people may wonder why I would choose to wake up each morning for five and a half months straight in the middle of nowhere to begin the daily routine of hiking a marathon. I can understand that curiosity, as my first few days on the Pacific Crest Trail had me asking the same sort of question.
Believe me, a lot went wrong in the beginning, from delays to running out of food and water, carrying too much weight, changing my daily miles to avoid certain folk, losing maps, broken tent poles, ripped shoes, to several physical ailments.
Everything that could go wrong, pretty much went wrong whenever it had the opportunity. The freedom I was craving so badly seemed guarded by a brigade of cactus spikes, ungodly traps and woes I had to fight for the prize. (Merely blessings in disguise, I’d always come to find out later), but at times, it would all become overwhelming. I had thought about postponing the adventure a year, and even quitting when things got really out of control, but I’d always come back to the same decision… to push through all the obstacles and fulfill my dream to hike from border to border.
There were a lot of odd moments where I sensed the universe actually wouldn’t allow me to quit, even if I wanted to. No matter how difficult things became, someone, or something would get me through the struggle.
Everything would always work out in the end and seemingly occur for a reason, no matter how crazy. Other days it felt like I’d be given the choice to leave, as if I were being tested, but I was never silly enough to do it. I knew in those times of uncertainty that there was just too much I’d regret and miss out on, so I’d continue north – the right choice of course. The only choice that made sense.
Quickly, the entire spectrum of trail life for me, to put it mildly, became addicting, just as I thought it would with a little bit of patience, hard work, and trust. At the start, I think I was more in love with the dream than the doing, but warm ups never seem to give the full impression. This I always knew. Then one day, finally conquering the monotonous desert, it all hit me. I was in fact actually doing this…and doing a pretty good job. I was impressed with myself, and began to fall hard in love with the reality, who I was turning into, as well as oddly, the taste of dirt. This is what I wanted, and this is what I got, and I was going to embrace every second of it, bad or good. It was all good now. Perfect in fact. The Sierras and Cascades were awaiting my arrival, and I was eagerly getting myself to them. I felt stronger and more confident than ever before, and even more so with every day that passed.
Each day was a new adventure filled with mystery and excitement, where expecting the unexpected became natural law. Some cold misty mornings I’d awake with the brief thought that the day would just be another routine day on the trail. Possibly nothing special, but I was proven wrong each and every time I would dare to think such a thing. From the scenery to the people, weather, wildlife and town hitches, every day was unique, challenging and memorable.
Upon reaching the Canadian border in a snowy white blur I was able to say that I never exactly doubted my capabilities; however, it definitely took a few mountain passes to rough me into great shape physically.
This journey was not only a physical endurance test, but involved a complete mental and spiritual transformation of my entire being. It had me humbled and in awe, most of the time having to rely on the kindness of strangers, which was for me, a deeply unfamiliar and beautiful experience in itself. I have stories engraved in my memory that I couldn’t even begin to ask anyone to believe if I tried my hardest. In a good way, it has completely changed my life and my character forever.
I think there are those who like to look at pictures or videos of other people doing amazing things and get lost in their stories. For whatever reason, some of these same people seem to think that they can’t ever be the person creating their own story / becoming the story. This is upsetting to me. Dreamers who make excuses as to why they think they can’t actually live should know that those who do choose to live see their dreams as the best reason to wake up each and every morning. Dreams exist for a reason. We all have them. The choice to fulfill them is personal, and what keeps me fueled. I choose to fulfill mine, because we only have so much time in the physical world. Why waste the opportunity?
You’d be amazed by what you have been missing out on.
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?
The latest issue of Perfect Skin Protection from SunAWARE just hit the Apple Newsstand this week. And if you haven’t yet read through this publication, you should. It’s FREE and chock full of the latest advice on skin protection from leading dermatologists, health & beauty experts, educators and skin cancer survivors. Plus, this issue features an article by Coolibar’s very own, President John Barrow.
“These articles, especially the special section, demonstrate that skin protection, far from being a personal or cosmetic issue, is a global concern, affecting the health and well-being of individuals and families in different countries around the world,” said Mary Mills Barrow, executive director of SunAWARE International Foundation.
“We urge our readers to take advantage of the advice offered by our experts and incorporate it into their daily routines, for themselves and for their families,” she added.
Even if you didn’t watch Jersey Shore, you have likely seen images of the tanning obsessed cast in the tabloids. The recently canceled show with the motto “gym, tan, laundry,” and MTV are now under fire from the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) for promoting tanning to teens and young adults.
The SCF audited season three of Jersey Shore and found 186 references to tanning in just 17 episodes, and 48 images of tanning throughout the series’ third season. They believe the focus on tanning in the series implies that tanning is necessary for social acceptance.
This September, the SCF asked MTV to include warnings with each episode alerting viewers to the danger of tanning. MTV refused, which provoked the SCF to file a complaint with the FTC under the Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices section of the FTC Act.
The SCF is worried that pro-tanning messages will continue in spin-offs such as Snooki & JWoww, a reality television series on MTV starring Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (pictured above) and Jennifer “JWoww” Farley from Jersey Shore.
According to the SCF, just one indoor tanning session increases users’ chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent, and each additional session during the same year boosts the risk almost another two percent.
What are your thoughts? Do you think shows such as Jersey Shore push real teens to tan? Should something be done?
Winter’s dry air can leave skin feeling sore, itchy and uncomfortable — especially if you don’t have a skin care routine that works with your specific skin type. Coolibar Athlete Kristie Cranford has struggled with finding a lotion for the dry winter months, and with sensitive skin, she has tried numerous skin care products! Before spending another cent on a new lotion this winter, she remembered the Vanicream she received from Coolibar.
“I take my words back, all of them,” says Kristie.
“When I became a Coolibar athlete we were able to try some items from the skin care line. I chose Vanicream, a moisturizing skin cream.
I have sensitive skin and I live in the desert. It is hot and dry. I have lotion in my house, in my car, in my desk at work, in my purse, pretty much everywhere. You could say I have a lotion problem.
I was excited to try something new. As I pulled it out of the box, was excited. I put some on. I wrinkled my nose. It was thick, sticky. It didn’t smell pretty, it had no odor at all to be honest. I was not impressed. I tossed it under my bathroom sink.
Fast forward to a very cold, dry and windy Las Vegas winter. My hands hurt. They were dry, cracking. My back was so dry I could not sleep at night it itched so much. My son, who inherited sensitive skin from me, had the same problem with his back. I tried everything in my house. Nothing was working. I have suffered through every dry winter. I have yet to find a lotion that has helped. Then I remembered…
I went underneath my bathroom sink and pulled out the Vanicream. Unlike other lotions when I put it on, my hands did not sting…it soothed. Instantly I felt relief. It absorbed quickly. I put some on my son’s back, I put some on mine. The itch went away.
Have you ever put on lotion to discover you are now trapped in the room because you cannot turn the doorknob because your hands are so slippery? It doesn’t happen with Vanicream. It absorbs quickly leaving the skin silky soft.
It is odorless, completely. Not like some lotions that claim to be odorless but they have a medicinal smell. It truly is odorless.
So I take my words back, all of them. Vanicream soothed my dry, cracking skin in the first application. It is easy to spread and is quickly absorbed leaving skin soft and smooth. It is odorless so if you choose to wear a fragrance it does not compete.