Last week spring was in the air. With temperatures in the 70’s in New York City, it felt more like June than March. The cherry blossoms were in bloom and New Yorkers were out in masses soaking up the summer sun– grabbing their shades and leaving their jackets behind.
This was perfect weather to introduce Coolibar’s spring and summer line to fashion, health and beauty editors across the city. Carol Schuler (of Schuler Publicity) and I hit the Manhattan streets and hauled our oversized bag of Coolibar goodies to the “big books” at Hearst, Meredith and Conde Nast, in addition to meeting with some of our favorite bloggers.
The new line and fabrics were met with great enthusiasm. In fact, a new hat was called in immediately for consideration. We heard ooh’s and ah’s as editors felt the silk like texture of our aire SUNTECT® fabric and tried on fabulous hats with an 8” brim. “The big brims are glamorous and keep your shoulders protected too,” exclaimed on editor (she got to keep that hat). Look for Coolibar products in your favorite magazines this summer.
What does this all means for you, our dear customer? It means you are in for a real treat! Our new catalog hits homes next week and is bigger and better than ever with over 32 new styles to keep you cool and protected this summer. We’ve introduced new fabrics and fitness gear alongside our customer favorites.
So get out there and enjoy life in the sun, Coolibar will keep you safe!
Does your child wear a hat on the playground during recess? If not, your child is not the only one. Many elementary schools in the U.S. ban students from wearing hats on school grounds. As a result, children are left exposed to the sun during peak ultraviolet radiation hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
In Australia, schools and daycares have a strict “no hat, no play” policy, meaning children cannot go outside to play unless they’ve slapped on a hat (a wide brim or legionnaire hat). Evidence suggests that childhood exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds contributes significantly to the development of skin cancer. As a result of the rise in skin cancer rates, in 1998 the Cancer Council Australia launched the national SunSmart Schools program to promote good sun protection habits in childhood.
The Slip Slop Slap Seek and Slide campaign in Australia started by the Cancer Council Australia in 1980, originally just Slip Slop Slap until 2007, is the core message of the SunSmart Program. Slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses is the message they remind children and parents of through public service announcements played on television and in classrooms. The hats children wear are also not ordinary baseball caps as they offer very little protection, but rather wide brim hats or legionnaire hats. The SunSmart program now has over 2,500 schools and 3,500 childcare centers participating across the country. This campaign is widely credited as playing a key role in the dramatic shift in sun protection attitudes and behavior over the past two decades in Australia.
Australian SunSmart Schools and Day Cares have a written sun protection policy meeting minimum standards relating to curriculum, behavior and the environment. They also work to increase shade and reschedule outdoor activities to lower UV times of the day. Finally, they teach children about sun protection. These are all simple standards American schools can replicate.
Hats can be provided inexpensively to schools through fundraising or discount programs such as the Coolibar School Sun Hat Program, which offers a 50% discount to schools purchasing children’s hats. As an educational resource, the SunAWARE acronym is available in the U.S. to help educate children about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, in addition to books such as “SunAWARE Hits a Home Run”. Our kids are outdoors when UV is strongest, and while the damage may not appear initially, there is much greater chance severe skin damage will emerge down the road.
Dermatologists agree that style is just as important as long lasting UPF 50 coverage when it comes to choosing sun protective clothing. This was a frequent comment at this year’s American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. Dermatologists often recommend sun protective clothing to patients with sun sensitive conditions, such as skin cancer, but claim patients more often comply when sun protective clothing looks like normal clothing that’s “in-style”. After hearing numerous comments from dermatologists at the AAD Annual Meeting last weekend, Coolibar sun protective clothing has great news for those looking for “stylish” sun protective clothing.
Sun protective clothing has evolved over the last decade. What was once seen as a medical device for those with sun sensitive conditions is now common practice for families and individuals looking to stay healthy and covered under the sun versus using sunscreen alone. Coolibar has spent 10 years producing moisture wicking, breathable, natural feeling fabrics along with stylish fashions for people to wear during outdoor activities.
Coolibar clothing designer Alicia Pizzo has over eight years of experience designing women’s clothing. Since coming to Coolibar in 2011, Pizzo has worked to create more flattering styles that still provide the skin coverage people want. Pizzo says, “During the AAD Annual Meeting, we wanted to get as much feedback as possible from dermatologists on our new UPF 50+ styles.” New styles showcased, available on www.coolibar.com starting tomorrow, included nautical print dresses, skirts, and tops for women and girls. “All feedback was extremely positive,” says Pizzo. Dr. Michelle Tarbox, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Saint Louis University, liked the new styles so much that she purchased a new UPF 50+ Polo Dress on the spot. “I love this polo dress, it has a flattering feminine fit and modern styling with a young hip look to it, but still provides full sun protective coverage of the upper body and the legs down to the knees. You would never guess looking at the garment that it is designed for sun protection. After the Meeting, I wore the dress all day and was impressed with how comfortable and cool it was and also by how many compliments I got on it!”
Other dermatologist who stopped at the Coolibar booth continued to express their excitement toward the new sun protective styles. Some women even debated how to accessorize the new looks. Ideas included wearing the navy stripe pattern with red wedges, red jewelry accents and a simple white sun hat.
Paralleling dermatologists’ interest in stylish sun protective clothing at this year’s AAD Meeting, skin cancer prevention was a hot topic. SPOT Skin Cancer™, a new initiative designed to raise skin cancer awareness to a new level while positively positioning dermatologists as uniquely trained doctors treating life-threatening diseases, was introduced during the Meeting. The campaign is using an attractive bright orange on all campaign material versus the color black that’s currently associated with skin cancer and “spot” patterns that represent moles. The Academy says, “With SPOT, the Academy is bringing all of its skin cancer public education efforts under one consistent brand identity for maximum impact.” SPOT will be launched to the public on Melanoma Monday, May 7, 2012.
“Tanning is beneficial to your health,” claims tanning salon owners and employees when the House Committee on Energy and Commerce undercover investigators called 300 tanning salons nationwide. This false claim may not fool many sun protection advocates, but the rest of the U.S. population could be easily led to believe that tanning is good for you. In actuality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Tanning, whether outdoors or in a tanning bed, can have harmful effects on your health. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation states on their website that indoor ultraviolet tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Most people are not properly informed about the risks of using tanning beds and are putting their lives at risk without even knowing it.
During The Committee’s study, they had investigators pose as fair skinned teenage girls (over the phone) looking for information on tanning bed safety and policies. After contacting 300 salons, at least three in every state, they released these unsettling results:
1) Nearly all salons (90%) denied the known risks of indoor tanning.
2) Four out of five salons falsely claimed that indoor tanning is beneficial to a young person’s health.
3) Salons used many approaches to minimize the health risks of indoor tanning including saying, “it’s got to be safe, or else [the government] wouldn’t let us do it.”
4) Three quarters of tanning salons failed to follow FDA recommendations on tanning frequency.
The Skin Cancer Foundation, in an effort to help educate teenagers and save lives, is urging people to email letters of support urging the FDA to regulate tanning beds and ban those less than 18 year of age from using them. The SCF will then compile all emails and send them to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. You can email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Skin Cancer Foundation’s report on Congressional Report Exposes Tanning Industry’s Misleading Messaging to Teens.
Coolibar hats not only express personal style, they protect your precious noggin from the sun’s harmful rays. Comfort is important too. You’ll know when you have a hat that fits well because you’ll forget you have it on!
Here’s how you can measure your head to ensure you have the right fit:
1) Hunt down a tape measure – yup over there in the “junk drawer”- this is the case at my house anyway.
2) Starting at your forehead, measure around your head where your hat would normally sit –about 1/2″–1″ above your eyebrows and about 1/4″ above your ears, then continue around the back of your head and back to your forehead. Pull the tape snug but not tight, as you would like a hat to fit (measuring errors occur from pulling the tape too tightly). Measure to the nearest 1/8″a couple of times in front of the mirror –smile, say cheese!
* If you don’t have a flexible tape measure, a piece of string (non-stretchy) can be held around the head and then measured on a yardstick.
Australia has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. For decades they have been taking measures to reduce the number of skin cancers by encouraging the use of sun protection through public health campaigns. Now, Australia is taking their sun safety efforts to the next level. In February, New South Whales (NSW), the most heavily populated state is Australia, declared they will prohibit the use of commercial tanning beds, regardless of age, by 2015.
This solarium ban (Australian jargon for tanning bed) will not take effect for approximately three years. Greens NSW Member of Parliament John Kaye claims this is too long to wait. He says during the time leading up to the ban, up to 43 will die from cancer related illnesses that likely could have been prevented if an immediate ban was imposed.According to NSW government, a three year wait is necessary in order to give solarium businesses time to diversify.
On a global scale, stricter tanning bed regulations and complete bans have been rising over the last few years. In 2009, Brazil was the first country in the world to ban tanning beds altogether after the World Health Organization declared ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds to be a class 1 carcinogen. Asbestos and cigarettes are in the same category. In 2011, California announced a ban of tanning beds use for those under 18 years of age. This law is similar to France, England and Wales, all countries taking action on the topic of concern.
NSW seems to be helping push the anti-tanning movement forward. After their announcement, other Australian states have also begun talking about banning solariums in addition to New Zealand, which also has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world. Parts of Canada and U.S. states are also currently considering stricter regulations for tanning beds.
When you visit your dermatologist, you may often find yourself spending a lot time with your dermatology nurse. Let us tell you, these nurses know their stuff when it comes to skin and sun protection!
During the 30th Annual Dermatology Nurses’ Association (DNA) Convention in February, Coolibar had the amazing opportunity to spend a moment with almost 500 dermatology nurses and better acquaint them with Coolibar. Despite the fact that the conference took place in Denver, CO, and not a warm weather destination, we had 40 degree weather, lots of sun, and lots of interest in our big brimmed hats and new spring line of UPF 50+ clothing.
Of the dermatology nurses who were long time Coolibar patrons, a few shared their thoughts on Coolibar with us:
“I love my Coolibar hat so much, I wear it all over the place – in the garage, while mowing, in the attic. Not only does it protect me from the sun, it protects me from falling creepy crawlies.”
“How did you get the Princess Kate Middleton to be your model?! That’s great for sun protection!” (Side note: she wasn’t really our model, the model on our recent catalog cover just happened to look like her! Great observation!)
We want to thank all dermatology nurses and the DNA for the wonderful things you do to help treat skin conditions and for spreading the message about the importance of sun protection!
We often say “Be SunAWARE” at Coolibar, but we’ve never taken the time to explain its place within our company and why we use it. SunAWARE is a non-profit sun education organization that provides the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news. It’s also an acronym that helps people prevent and detect skin cancers. At Coolibar, we have adopted SunAWARE as our official sun education message as it’s easy to remember and easy to follow.
SunAWARE is based on the acronym created in the book Sun Protection For Life: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy and Beautiful Skin, by Mary Mills Barrow and John F.Barrow (New Harbinger Publications, 2005). The book won the Gold Triangle Award from the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 for excellence in public education of dermatologic issues.
The SunAWARE acronym was created after an exhaustive review of educational material produced by the major organizations and foundations specializing in skin cancer prevention. And, it was edited by Craig Sinclair who originated the very successful “Skip Slop Slap” sun protection campaign in Australia. It should also be noted that SunAWARE is endorsed by several leading not-for-profit organizations in the skin cancer community including the Children’s Melanoma Foundation and the Melanoma International Foundation.
The acronym was created to meet the twin goals of developing a comprehensive framework for organizing key points about the prevention and detection of skin cancer and, creating a useful, proactive and easy-to-remember slogan that can be used by any organization and individual.
For the most up-to-date sun protection tips and skin cancer news, visit www.sunaware.org.
When recently browsing the web for a new story idea, I came across this site called ModelKarma, a website for aspiring models, pro models and modeling industry professionals started by the famous Thomas Zeumer, supermodel launcher. While clicking through some of their pages that provide advice for models, I was hoping to find plenty about protecting skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. While somewhat disappointed by the small amount of information on this subject, I was relieved to see one post reminding models to protect their assets, meaning their looks or skin from ultraviolet radiation.
I think many of us know that over-exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer down the road. However, the cosmetic damage the sun does to skin can also be significant. As you age, your skin will start to show spots and wrinkles even more so if you haven’t been properly protecting yourself from the sun. The writer of the article on ModelKarma dramatizes it even more by saying, “Basically, [the sun] makes you look fried well before your years, thus killing your career before you are done!”
The article goes into detail about protecting yourself from damaging rays by using sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. It reiterates the Skin Cancer Foundation’s advice on how to properly use sunscreen to get the best result as well. While I agree that sunscreen is essential when choosing sun protection, the article failed to mention sun hats and sun protective clothing. It’s our hope at Coolibar that in the future sun protective clothing and hats will be talked about equal to sunscreen, as they’re an unbeatable match for keeping skin healthy and young looking.
I wish to add the other ways to “protect your assets” to their list, including wearing a hat with a three inch brim or greater that has a tight weave and a high UPF rating. Not only can you find hats that are glamorous in themselves, but they’ll protect your eyes, ears, nose and sometime even neck depending on the brim size. Also, wear sun protective clothing, especially when outdoors for extended periods of time. Remember, most summer clothing allows UV to penetrate right through the garment, so you’ll have to apply sunscreen underneath if you’re not wearing UPF clothing.
All of us at Coolibar are glad to see professionals in the modeling industry discussing the need for sun protection. Every time we see a new Marc Jacobs skin cancer prevention shirt or a fashion editor talking about the pale skin trend, we know we’ll start seeing a shift in the way many of us protect ourselves from the sun.
A few months ago, Coolibar employee Ben Socwell was sitting down to dinner at Dr. Michael T. Nelson’s home, a long-time family friend, when the conversation turned to Coolibar sun protective clothing and the East Africa Medical Assistance Foundation (EAMAF). Dr. Nelson is a Professor of Radiology and a Board Member of EAMAF, a Minnesota based nonprofit dedicated to supporting and enhancing radiology services (cancer treatment) at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC). KCMC is a 500-bed teaching hospital at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and is the site of the first radiology residency in the country. In Tanzania, the sun is unrelenting and people have little escape from it. There are also very high rates of skin cancer among Africans, especially for those who suffer with albinism (a deficit of melanin production that results in little or no pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes and makes skin ultra sensitive to the sun). After their conversation over dinner, Ben returned to work with a mission to help find sun protection relief for patients at the center.
“After my dinner with Dr. Nelson, I invited him to tour the Coolibar building and look at the items we sell,” says Ben. “To my surprise Dr. Diefenthal, the creator and head of the department of radiology at KCMC in Tanzania, was in town and came with us, along with Dr. Shavon Flanagan who teaches at Northwestern and has worked at KCMC in the past. We talked at length about the technology of our fabrics and the goals and intent of Coolibar. They were impressed with our fabric technology and our focus on getting Coolibar products into the hands of medical professionals,” says Ben.
As they say, the rest is history. Approximately 800 sun protective items were shipped to Tanzania in October with the help of Global Health Ministries in Fridley, MN who arranges the safe arrival of the EAMAF supply containers in Africa. Among the variety of garments were also 300 hats. “The EAMAF believes the Tanzanian women suffering from albinism will especially benefit from the large brims,” says Ben. The items should be arriving any day now and will be given to the dermatologists who service local villages to be distributed to those in need.
“As you can read on the EAMAF website or in the brochure, Dr. Diefenthal is an amazing man who has not only devoted his life to radiology and the detection and treatment of cancer, but has done much of this work in Africa, including starting the EAMAF,” says Ben. “In the picture below are Dr. Diefenthal and Dr. Flanagan and myself during their tour of Coolibar’s headquarters.”
Thanks to Ben for making the world a more SunAWARE place!