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.
Behind-the-scenes footage from Coolibar’s spring 2013 photo shoot, including a sneak peak at our new UPF 50+ sunwear. Look for our catalog in your mailbox starting January 21 (may arrive anytime within a three week time frame).
Exercising benefits your heart, lungs and mental health – fairly common knowledge these days. But did you know exercise benefits your skin too, and can even help your skin stay younger looking longer?
Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, including to your skin. According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, in a WebMD article, she cites, “Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells.” Since exercise improves circulation, it makes it easier to cleanse skin from the inside-out, keeping skin healthy and vibrant looking!
If you exercise outdoors, be aware that the sun can have reverse effects on skin. You don’t want to spoil all the hard work you put into looking and feeling great! UV exposure from the sun can damage and age skin that’s not well protected. Following tips from SunAWARE, a non-profit helping prevent and detect skin cancers, will help you avoid sunburn and get the maximum benefits exercise provides.
A – Avoid unprotected UV exposure and avoid peak sun hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
W – Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, tights/pants, and wide-brimmed hat and UV sunglasses. This may seem warm, but numerous companies, including Coolibar, are manufacturing lightweight, moisture wicking UPF materials. Sun protective clothing actually keeps you cooler since your skin is not in direct contact with the sun.
A – Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to all exposed skin. Reapply after sweating, swimming or as recommended on the label. Athletes: look for a sport sunscreen that’s oil-free.
R – Routinelyexamine your skin for changes. Seek a dermatologist if you notice anything suspicious.
Exercising may exacerbate existing skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. However, the benefits far outweigh the possible skin side-effects from exercise. Additionally, by working with your dermatologist, you’ll likely find solutions to battle your skin issues while getting all benefits exercise has to offer.
If you’re under 18 years old and live in the state of California or Vermont, say goodbye to tanning bed use once and for all. California stepped up and became the first state in the nation to ban the use of indoor tanning beds for all minors under 18. The CA ban went into effect on January 1, 2012, followed by Vermont on July 1, 2012 – both monumental dates in the anti-tanning movement.
“According to (California) State Senator Ted Lieu, who introduced and sponsored the legislation on its long journey through the state assembly, the bill’s successful passage provides hope that similar action can be achieved in other states across the United States. ‘I strongly believe that this law is a good model for other states and countries to follow,’ says Mr. Lieu. ‘Every year the evidence is more overwhelming that tanning greatly increases one’s likelihood of skin cancer, which is why we need to keep pushing the envelope to bring about more legislation to restrict indoor tanning,’ Mr. Lieu notes.”
The National Council of State Governments has assembled an easy to read graph and table for state indoor tanning laws and regulations for minors for a side by side comparison. Visit their website to learn more about the anti-tanning legislation in your state.
Make your voice heard.
If you believe indoor tanning devices should receive the maximum amount of regulation, which more closely matches the health risks of these harmful devices, write a letter of support to your state elected representatives urging the FDA to regulate tanning beds and ban those under 18 from using them. You can also email The Skin Cancer Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Foundation will compile all emails of support and send them to the FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s office.
After a lifetime of holidays abroad, Suzanne Morphet combined her passion for travel with her profession as a news reporter and became a travel writer. Suzanne shares her latest venture to Marquesas Islands – which she calls a tropical paradise – as well as the Coolibar gear she took along.
“Before my recent cruise through the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific I looked for clothing that would protect me from the harsh equatorial sun. But I also wanted clothes that would be comfortable in the heat and stylish. I was pleased to discover Coolibar, which uses innovative new fabrics and technology to make clothes that are breathable and a pleasure to wear.
For ease of travel, I pack lightly. I took just one small suitcase for my two-week cruise, with only clothes that I could wash and hang-dry overnight. Coolibar clothes fit the bill perfectly. These are some of my favorites:
Sport Shirt: I wore this shirt many of the days we went ashore. It’s light as a feather, with a hidden front pocket for a passport or money. I loved the vibrant color (Lagoon) and got lots of compliments on it.
ZnO Sun Wrap: This is what I mean by innovative technology. The ZnO line is made with bamboo cotton embedded with micro-particles of zinc oxide. Sounds like sunscreen for your skin, but there’s no messy application. It’s safe to say I wore my ZnO Sun Wrap every day. It kept me comfortable in air-conditioned restaurants or out on deck late at night while stargazing.
ZnO Beach Pants: They might be considered beach pants, but I got away wearing them into town, to market, sightseeing, you-name-it. Indispensable, they are the perfect accompaniment to the Sport Shirt or other sun-protective shirt. Mine are white and I worried if they would stand up to frequent hand-washing but they did and still look like new.
Sun Shawl: Sometimes I just wanted to wear my skimpiest bathing suit and lie in the sun. That’s when my sun shawl came in handy. It’s long enough to cover me from head to toe. And it’s so lightweight I wouldn’t heat up underneath it. Perfect for lying poolside and reading.
ZnO Maxi Dress: You can dress it up or down. Nicely fitted, but not clingy. Does double duty as a sundress and a dinner dress. I never thought a little black dress could be so versatile!”
Bob Greene is an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer specializing in fitness, metabolism, and weight loss. Greene is the creator of Best Life, a diet and fitness plan, and Best Life Foods, author of “20 Years Younger” and numerous other health books. As an avid exerciser, he wishes to share his winter fitness gear picks with you!
“I usually prefer outdoor workouts to indoor workouts—you don’t have to worry about fighting for the treadmill at the gym, the scenery can be inspiring and the fresh air is invigorating,” says Greene. “But as the temperature drops, you might be tempted to head indoors. Don’t let the weather ruin your workout plans. Use the tips below to stay warm until spring.
Step One: Select the right shirt. Layers are an exerciser’s best friend. Your first layer should consist of a long-sleeve undershirt (I love turtleneck and mock turtleneck athletic wear) made of wicking fabric without any buttons or zippers. Then, cover it with a sweatshirt made of a “Polar-guard” type of material. If needed, add a final layer of a wind-resistant shell or jacket. Even though it’s cooler out, you still have to worry about sun protection. I recommend choosing sun-protective clothing, like those sold from Coolibar.
Step Two: Go light on your lower half. Your legs will stay pretty warm once you get going so you don’t need as many layers on your lower half. Jogging tights are a good option because they don’t move and won’t chafe your skin. When it’s cold, you can add a layer of pants made of a “Polar-guard” type of material.
Step Three: Don’t forget about your feet. Don’t just throw any old socks on your feet. To keep your toes toasty, steer clear of cotton socks—once they get wet, they stay wet! Go for a sock made of material that wicks moisture away from the skin (you can find them at athletic specialty stores).
Step Four: Accessorize. Your body loses a large amount of heat through your head; you can retain heat by wearing a head covering of some sort. A simple ski cap or headband that covers your ears will work on most days. When it’s very cold, you may want to go with a full head mask (look for one made of a wicking material; running specialty stores sell them.) Also, you may want to consider investing in running gloves. They protect you from the cold and sun damage. Finally, don’t forget the sunscreen.”
When thinking about your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions, consider making a conscious effort to prevent skin cancer in 2013. Yes, skin cancer is preventable in many cases. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually (Skin Cancer Foundation).
Prevention starts with education, and knowing exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVA – aging, and UVB – burning rays) from the sun and tanning beds contributes to your risk of developing skin cancer. The good news is an individual can take simple steps to ensure a lifetime of healthy skin and still enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer.
3 Simple New Years Resolutions for Healthy Skin in 2013:
1. Incorporate sun protection into your daily routine.
Use sun protection every day of the year. Even if you are indoors, windows allow UVA rays to penetrate the glass (glass blocks UVB rays). Start by incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and all exposed skin. If you wear makeup, apply a face sunscreen underneath your foundation even if your foundation has SPF, as most people don’t use a thick enough application to provide adequate sun protection. (Click here for dermatologist recommended face sunscreens.) If you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, wear a wide brim hat, UV400 sunglasses and UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. If you cannot wear sun protective clothing, apply sunscreen underneath your T-shirt since most regular clothing offers less than SPF 30 protection. Not only will this keep your skin healthy, but as added incentive, you’ll look younger longer since UV rays significantly contribute to visible signs of aging.
2. Perform a self-skin exam every month and track your mole changes.
You know your body best, so you’ll likely be the first to notice changes in the skin. Also, when caught early, skin cancer is easily treatable in most cases. This is why performing a self-skin exam is important. Print this body map from the Skin Cancer Foundation and then look for the following:
1. A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.
2. 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.
3. A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.
4. An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.
3. Make time for a full-body skin cancer screening with a board-certified dermatologist once per year.
While you should check your skin every month, a board-certified dermatologist that works with skin every day may notice changes that you didn’t. Schedule an annual skin cancer screening to ensure your skin is healthy as can be!
The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday (5/6/2013). Dermatology offices often provide free skin cancer screenings. Find a free skin cancer screening on the AAD website or by calling your local dermatology office. Mark your calendars now!
Have a great 2013 and keep your skin healthy!
– Coolibar, Sun Protection You Wear
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.