On Tuesday, October 24, 2011, “The Doctors” TV show aired a segment nationwide about a new skin cancer treatment for basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. This treatment option uses low doses of radiation on a targeted area to kill the cancer cells, going no deeper than the skin. Only a few dermatologists are offering this non-surgical treatment for basal cell carcinoma opposed to micrographic surgery, the current standard for treatment, which can take hours to perform.
Seth Forman, M.D. practices dermatology in Tampa, FL and demonstrated the procedure on his patient Betty for the show. From patient Betty’s perspective, the treatment is like having an x-ray – it’s painless and over within 45 seconds. She will need multiple treatments to destroy her cancer – 12 times over a 4 week span. There are no shots, no blades, no bleeding, no stitches, not even a band-aid.
Watch the “Low Dose Radiation Treatment” segment from “The Doctors.”
To find out more about low dose radiation and other treatment options for basal cell carcinoma, visit http://www.skincancer.org/bcc-treatment-options.html.
Dr. Drew Ordon, an expert on “The Doctors”, also took advantage of the opportunity to talk about prevention. His advice:
1) Try to avoid daytime sunlight, between the hours of 10-4 avoid mid-day sun.
2) Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen – at least SPF 15, we recommend [broad-spectrum] SPF 30 and to be generous with application using a shot glass full and re-apply every two hours.
Finally what you can do is…
3) Wear protective clothing – UPF 50+, it blocks both UVA and UVB rays and is a great way to go because you can’t get sunscreen everywhere.
Worried your kids aren’t getting enough fresh air and exercise? You’re not alone. Inactivity in children is an issue many parents and health care providers are concerned with. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the U.S, approximately 17 percent of all kids (ages 2-19) are obese. Environmental factors are mostly to blame, such as poor eating habits and a lack of physical activity. With an increasing number of electronic devices for kids to glue their eyes to, it’s easier than ever for children to find entertainment that requires little movement. An article in the New York Times recently stated “children ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices”. Today, children are eating more and moving less, which puts them at risk of becoming over-weight or obese. Now is the time to form healthy habits and start moving!
The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) recognizes the need to get children outdoors and is taking action through their Children and Nature Initiative. The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage parents, doctors, teachers, and organizations to get kids outside for their own health. According to NEEF, “Research indicates that unstructured outdoor activities may improve children’s health by increasing physical activity, reducing stress and serving as a support mechanism for attention disorders.” This program encourages pediatric health care providers to prescribe outdoor activities to children. It also connects medical professionals with local nature sites, so when doctors prescribe outdoor exercise, they can recommend safe and easily accessible outdoor areas. From there, it’s up to the parents to take the lead and help encourage kids to exchange screen time for outdoor play.
Forming healthy habits includes using sun protection on a regular basis, especially when being active outdoors. Kids get between 50 to 80 percent of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18, and unprotected sun exposure can lead to health problems such as skin cancer later in life. To keep outdoor playtime safe, use the SunAWARE acronym:
Help your kids start good habits at an early age. Be SunAWARE and get outdoors!
Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations in the world. While mineral, agricultural and fishery resources are abundant, its physical and social infrastructure have not fully recovered from the civil war that ended in 2002, and social disorder has hindered economic development. Coolibar’s friends at OneVillage Partners, a Minneapolis, MN based non-profit, have been working with people in Eastern Sierra Leone since 2006 to provide assistance to rural villages and stimulate growth within these deprived communities.
From Paul Vliem at OneVillage Partners:
OneVillage Partner’s goal is to identify a model of rural development that, simply put, works. In order to be successful, OneVillage works in partnership alongside villagers to transform problems into solutions. We provide access to information and technology not easily available in Sierra Leone, while the villagers drive their own development by identifying their own needs and possible solutions. Our partners live on less than a dollar a day with limited food, so we find an appropriate balance between relieving the immediate need and suffering while delivering programs that focus on longer term growth and empowerment. We pride ourselves on collaboration rather than management or oversight and seek to develop the organizational management capacity of our Sierra Leonean staff to work in full partnership.
Many development organizations operate short-term with specific and actionable projects, which although important, are rarely able to create long-term, improved quality of life for their beneficiaries due to their piecemeal nature. For this reason, OVP strives to be holistic and comprehensive by investing simultaneously across areas which greatly affect village life. We operate in the five distinct yet mutually-reinforcing areas of water and sanitation, health, education, agriculture, and income generation. Growth in one area undoubtedly affects success in another area. For example, with greater crop yields households are better able to practice nutrition, which results in healthier children who are better able to concentrate in school.
We invest in the essential building blocks of an economy – micro business loans, agricultural improvements, secondary education, and global connections – that allow villagers to increase their income. Throughout our work, we strategically implement and rigorously evaluate our investments to achieve measurable results. Through this approach, OVP is working with villages to create tangible, positive impact that sets the groundwork for continued, sustained development in each of these communities.
Learn more about OneVillage Partnership’s work and opportunities at http://www.onevillagepartners.org/.
OVP and Coolibar continually work together to protect the volunteers helping the rural village of Sierra Leone by providing sun protective clothing to protect skin from Africa’s intense sun.
About OneVillage Partners Video
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
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.
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and worldwide according to the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). Raising awareness about melanoma can save lives, and catching it early is crucial. In an effort to get the word out to a massive audience, on October 9th the MRF teamed up with the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team to hold a Melanoma Awareness Day during the big game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Throughout the game, over 300 volunteers handed out 50,000 stadium cups with the phrase, “Make a Great Catch! Spotting melanoma early can save a life!” The cups were filled with sunscreen and skin cancer prevention literature. Print ads in the game-day book, electronic ads on all the videos in the stadium, and promotions on radio enforced the importance of checking skin regularly. The Jaguars also provided Jacksonville Melanoma, an affiliate of the MRF, $10 for each ticket sold through its website, www.jacksonvillemelanoma.org.
The efforts of all involved in the melanoma awareness event proved to be gratifying almost instantaneously as one father of a 20 year-old girl sought after the MRF team at the event for advice. He wanted to know how to approach his daughter regarding seeing a dermatologist to get a suspicious mole checked. He believed the mole appeared after his daughter badly burned from using a tanning bed twice in one session, which he said has caused her to have negative skin reactions in the sun. A rep from the MRF told him, “Do whatever it takes to get your daughter to the doctor to get the spot checked out”. More on this story can be found on the MRF blog.
While you may not have watched the game, you can still make a lifesaving catch. Check your skin and the skin of the ones you love.
MRF “Check Me Out!” Slideshow. Please note there is no sound.
The ABCDE’s of Melanoma
Provided by the MRF.
A – Asymmetrical Shape
Melanoma lesions are typically irregular, or not symmetrical, in shape. Benign moles are usually symmetrical.
B – Border
Typically, non-cancerous moles have smooth, even borders. Melanoma lesions usually have irregular borders that are difficult to define.
C – Color
The presence of more than one color (blue, black, brown, tan, etc.) or the uneven distribution of color can sometimes be a warning sign of melanoma. Benign moles are usually a single shade of brown or tan.
D – Diameter
Melanoma lesions are often greater than 6 millimeters in diameter (approximately the size of a pencil eraser).
E – Evolution
The evolution of your moles(s) has become the most important factor to consider when it comes to melanoma. Knowing what is normal for YOU could save your life. If a mole has gone through recent changes in color and or size, get it checked out by a dermatologist immediately.
Should teens be able to decide whether or not to use tanning beds? According to Aim at Melanoma Foundation, using a tanning bed before the age of 20 doubles a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Even more staggering is that 28 million individuals in the U.S. use tanning beds each year despite the statistics, which includes 2.3 million teens.
On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making California the first state to prohibit minors from using tanning beds. The only exception is if a minor obtains written consent from a medical professional that they’re tanning due to a medical condition. This law will go into effect on January 1, 2012. Multiple health organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) are praising the governor for taking action.
In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category. Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category. Just like the law protects minors from the negative health effects of cigarettes, this new law in California is a way to protect teens from the negative health effects of using tanning beds. Dermatologist Ann F. Haas, MD, FAAD, past president of the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery says, “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, 3 percent per year since 1992 in those ages 15 to 39. We pushed for this legislation in the hopes of stemming that rise and encouraging other states to follow California’s lead and prohibit the use of tanning devices by minors to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the U.S.”
Prior to the ban, the state allowed those between 14 and 17 years of age to use tanning beds with parental consent. Thirty-one other states have similar laws restricting minors from using tanning beds without parental consent. The remaining 18 states have no restrictions. This is frightening not only because teens who tan put their health at risk, but also because adolescents choosing to tan are still developing their decision making skills and may make bad or uneducated decisions that will affect their quality of life down the road.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), “based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to: act on impulse or engage in dangerous or risky behavior. Adolescents are also less likely to: think before they act, pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions and modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors.”
“These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong”, states an article on the AACAP website. “It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.”
On top of the cognitive development argument, there is a lack of awareness on the dangers of tanning. “Many parents may not be aware that melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children, followed by basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas,” Dr. Thomas Rohrer, Secretary of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Many tanning salons tout that tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanning as they use UVA rays or that it’s good to get a base tan before vacationing in warm regions. These claims are false. UVA rays (aging rays) are not safer than UVB rays (burning) rays and numerous studies have proven this. Additionally, getting a base tan before a sunny vacation is equivalent to the sun protection of a SPF 3 or less, and the AAD suggests using SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen and sun protective clothing for adequate sun protection.
Based on this information, would you be comfortable having your teen use a tanning bed? For every parent residing outside of the state of California, that’s for you, or your teen, to decide.
Michigan news broadcast with dermatologist insights on tanning beds.
Looking up the UV Index is as important as looking up the weather online or watching the morning forecast every day. Just like the weather forecast, the UV Index forecast tells you what to wear. In addition, it indicates how you should prepare for the sun’s intensity so you can feel comfortable and keep your skin protected while outside.
Over-exposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun can cause more than painful sunburn. Repeat exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays over time can cause premature aging of the skin and contribute to your risk of developing skin cancer. The UV Index predicts UV intensity levels on a scale of 1 to 11+, and the higher the UV Index number is, the greater risk you’re at of damaging your skin. The Index takes into account clouds and other conditions that affect the amount of UV radiation reaching the ground.
|Index Number||Sun Protection Measures|
|LOW||<2||Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV. If you burn easily, cover-up and use broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+. In winter, reflection off snow can nearly double UV strength.|
|MODERATE||3-5||Take precautions if you will be outside, such as wearing a wide-brim hat and sunglasses that block 100% of UV and using broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.|
|HIGH||6-7||Protection against sun damage is needed. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block 100% of UV, use broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+ and wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants when practical. Reduce your exposure to the sun’s most intense UV radiation by seeking shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.|
|VERY HIGH||8-10||Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A tightly woven shirt (or sun protective clothing), wide-brim hat and broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+ are a must, and be sure you seek shade.Beachgoers should know that white sand and other bright surfaces reflect UV and can double UV exposure.|
|EXTREME||11+||Protection against sun damage is needed. If you need to be outside during midday hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., take steps to reduce sun exposure. A tightly woven shirt (or sun protective clothing), wide-brim hat and broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30+ are a must, and be sure you seek shade.|
If your local weather channel doesn’t announce the UV Index, you can get your local UV Index on the Environmental Protection Agency’s SunWise webpage. For smart-phone and tablet users, there are also UV Index apps available. Just search “UV Index” when in your app store. Look up your UV Index right now by entering your zip code into this UV Index widget.
By taking a few simple precautions daily, you can greatly reduce your risk of sunburn and causing permanent skin damage. At Coolibar, we like to use the SunAWARE acronym to explain the simple steps you can take to stay sun safe every day:
Dermatologists are medical doctors who specialize in treating skin, hair and nails. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), at any given time, one out of every three people in the United States suffers from a skin disease. Many skin conditions cannot be cured or relieved with over-the-counter treatments. For skin conditions that are out of your control or you’re not sure what to do about, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist. Depending on your specific skin problem, you may even wish to search for a dermatologist online and find a doctor that specializes in specific areas, such as cosmetic procedures, skin cancer or skin of color.
Dermatologists are way more than “pimple popping M.D.s”, which according to the popular ‘90s sitcom Seinfeld is all the profession is good for. They save and improve lives every day by helping people get control of their problematic skin, hair and nail conditions.
Seinfeld Clip “Pimple Popping M.D.s”
Still not sure if you should seek medical attention? Here are some of the top reasons to see a dermatologist.
Acne. For acne that is not responding to an over-the-counter skin treatment, a dermatologist can determine which kind of prescription skin treatment would be most effective for your acne and lifestyle.
Eczema. Many people suffer from eczema, a chronic condition characterized by irritation, itchiness, and flaky patches of skin. A dermatologist can help find ways to manage this condition and, if necessary, will prescribe medications.
Skin cancer. An annual full body skin exam performed by a dermatologist is especially important if you are in a high-risk group (fair skin, had bad sunburns, especially blistering sunburns, skin that burns or freckles rather than tans, 50-plus moles or atypical moles). In addition to regular screenings, you should see a dermatologist if you notice a change in the shape, size or coloring of any of your moles. A dermatologist can remove some or all of the suspicious tissue, then examine it under a microscope for cancerous cells. Skin cancer does not discriminate. All ages and races are susceptible to skin cancer.
Wrinkles, dark spots and scars. If you are concerned about minimizing skin damage or caring for aging skin, a dermatologist can suggest products or lifestyle changes that reduce your exposure to damaging elements. They can also perform cosmetic procedures to reduce visible signs of aging and scars.
For almost any condition that affects your appearance (skin, hair and nails) you can seek a dermatologist for advice and treatment. For a complete list of the conditions dermatologists treat, please visit the AAD website.
Take care of your skin, your largest organ. Remember, everyone needs sun protection, but those with skin conditions may be even more sensitive to the sun. When talking with your dermatologist, ask him or her about photosensitivity (a negative skin reaction to UV rays) and get sun protection recommendations. Using sun protective clothing, wide-brim hats, sunglasses and broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly can reduce visible signs of aging and help prevent skin cancer.
Photo courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives.
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.
Coolibar employee and camping enthusiast Amanda lets you in on a little secret to make your days outdoors easier. It also may save you from packing piles of clothes and lugging jugs of sunscreen from place-to-place during every trip to the great outdoors. What’s her secret? …
Tent camping is one of my favorite ways to spend the weekend. Each summer and fall I travel to state parks throughout the Midwest to kayak, bike, tube, hike and cook over the campfire. I have my list of essentials for each weekend excursion that make roughing-it easier, such as my trusty LED lantern, Swiss Army knife, pie iron and soap sheets for quick dishwashing. Recently, I added a new item to my list of must have camping gear, the Coolibar Weekend ZnO Pullover. I live in this shirt every weekend I’m outside for an extended period of time, and the fabric feels comfortable day and night.
I’ll admit, I starting working for Coolibar a little over a year ago, but I hope that doesn’t dissuade anyone from trying out a shirt with the ZnO SUNTECT® material because it is fabulous! ZnO SUNTECT® feels like jersey cotton, it’s slightly stretchy, super soft and lightweight. The sun protection in the fabric comes from zinc oxide, an ingredient used in physical sunscreens that block UVA and UVB rays. The zinc oxide is permanently embedded into the fibers, so I don’t worry about it washing out. The zinc oxide not only protects skin better than sunscreen by reflecting 98% of UV rays, but I can go about my activities without worrying about reapplying sunscreen everywhere. It also keeps me cool since less than 2% of the sun’s rays penetrate through the shirt. I doubly love it because my dermatologist strongly recommends wearing sun protection year-round, and my Weekend ZnO Pullover makes following the doc’s orders a cinch. Best of all and what makes the ZnO material so great, is that when I feel extra lazy after a long day of exploring, I don’t have to change because it keeps me warm when sitting by this fire. It’s a serious all-in-one find!
If you are a minimalist when it comes to packing for a weekend of fall camping and you want easy-to-use sun protection, I strongly suggest trying a Coolibar long-sleeve shirt made of ZnO SUNTECT® fabric.