Inside Coolibar

Happy Holidays from Coolibar

The holidays create such excitement here at Coolibar. Chances are you’ve probably talked with one of our cheery customer service gals on the phone or chatted with our social fanatics on Facebook, but now we want to take a brief moment to let you get to know some of the people you’re dealing with (and we mean that in the nicest way).  Let us preface this by saying we work VERY hard, but we like to have a little bit of fun too.

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone –right? Our tremendously smart accounting team (or should I say Ben?) decided to arrange an ugly holiday outfit contest.  The competition was fierce, as you can see from the group photo, but our customer service extraordinaire Peggy took home the ‘prize’ for this one.

Ugly Shirt Day

Then, who can resist homemade cookies, candy canes and boxed chocolates that seem to make their way into the office every day during the month of December.

The holiday treats are almost gone!!

This holiday season, we decided to sponsor a family through the East Metro Women’s Council. Many of us took an hour out of an afternoon to neatly wrap all of the goodies we went out to find and top every last package off with a bow.

Wrapping presents for the adopted family

Finally, as a fun little activity, everyone had to reveal what the BEST gift they ever gave was. Answers included:

“Dog sledding in Jamaica.” – Alicia, Coolibar Merchandising

“I surprised my husband with a piece of artwork that he really wanted.  He thought I wasn’t listening when he spoke of how much he liked it.  I had to sneak around to connect with the artist, pick it up and keep it hidden – not an easy task.” – Jennifer, Coolibar Marketing

“A toaster. Long story.” – Seth, Coolibar Warehouse

“The first year Aaron (my boyfriend) and I celebrated Christmas together, we gave gift cards to a Hibachi restaurant to each of our families and some of our closest friends, and planned a date where we all came together for a meal. There were probably about 25-30 people at the dinner, and it was a great chance for our separate friends and family to finally meet and mingle.” – Rose, Coolibar Administration

“Two diamond rings…long story.” – Lu, Coolibar Creative

“My step mother has been going to a vacation house in northern Michigan since she was young. Often I have joined them in the summer. There is an old abandoned barn in a field that she loves to spend time looking at and getting lost in the beauty of it, and the picturesque scenery. One summer I took my 35mm camera and tripod and snuck out to take black and white photographs. I kept this a secret until Christmas. I had the picture blown up and framed in a mounting that resembles old planks of wood. Now she can look at the barn set in a field of high wheat any time she wants to.” – Ben, Coolibar Accounting

“Happiness and smiles.”  – Oumkarn, Coolibar Information Technology

“I gave my husband a hot air balloon ride over Lake Minnetonka.  He loved it!” – Pat, Coolibar Customer Service

Let us know on the Coolibar Facebook page what the best gift you ever gave was. We hope you enjoy celebrating the holidays as much as we do. Happy holidays from the Coolibar family to yours!

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Educate Others SunAWARE

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the skin, as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). So when you hear about the most common types of skin cancer which include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, what does it really mean? What are the differences between these types of skin cancers?

Skin cancers occur if there’s uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis (outer layer of skin). The type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma depends on the types of cells the cancer forms in.

Basal Cell Carcinoma:
If skin cancer begins in the basal cells, which produce skin cells that continuously push older cells toward the surface, it’s known as basal cell carcinoma. Basal cells are found in the lower part of the epidermis. This is the most common form of skin cancer accounting for an estimated 1 million of the over 1.3 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year according to the CDC. This type of skin cancer is usually easy to treat.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma:
Cancer that forms in the squamous cells, the flat cells that form the surface of the skin, is called squamous cell carcinoma. According to the CDC, squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 16 percent of diagnosed skin cancer cases each year. While this type of skin cancer can be treated in most cases, if untreated it can be fatal.

Skin cancer that forms in pigment cells (melanocytes) is melanoma. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but it’s also the deadliest because it tends to metastasize or spread throughout the body when not detected early.  

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are also referred to as nonmelanoma skin cancers to differentiate them from melanoma. Anyone can get basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, regardless of skin color. Factors that may increase your risk are: age, cumulative ultraviolet radiation exposure, where you live and complexion.

When looking at melanoma specifically, the exact cause has yet to be determined; however, researchers argue that certain risk factors increase a person’s chance of developing melanoma including: abnormal moles, having more than 50 normal moles, fair skin, personal history of skin cancer, family history of melanoma, weakened immune system, severe sunburns and ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.

Take a personal quiz to see what your risk of developing skin cancer is and what you can do to help prevent it at the National Cancer Institute’s website:

Watch a video on the differnt types of skin cancer and how to help prevent them:

Sun Protection for Life by Mary Mills Barrow and John F. Barrow (2005)

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Inside Coolibar

2011 Coolibar Athletes – Our Inspiration Team

Our 2011 Coolibar Athletes were more than inspirational. They demonstrated that it’s possible to reach goals beyond yourself and help others in the process. The athletic endeavors of Paul Ridley and Dr. Pamela Peeke take place in the “Great Outdoors” where protection from the sun is nearly nonexistent. They trusted Coolibar to keep them safe from UV, so they could concentrate on their game.

Paul Ridley

Paul Ridley is an all around outdoor adventure seeker and sun protection advocate. At age 25, he was the youngest American to row any ocean solo. His rowing career began at Colgate University and he continues to train out of Norwalk River Rowing Association, in Norwalk, CT. In 2009, Paul took his passion for rowing to face almost 3,000 miles of the Atlantic’s open waters to raise money for cancer research in honor of his mother, who lost her life to malignant skin cancer in 2001. As if rowing, attending grad school and balancing a job weren’t enough, during his breaks, he’s using his mountaineering experience to climb the seven summits, the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, all while keeping sun protection top of mind. Paul’s sun protection essentials include the Ultra Sport Hat, Short Sleeve Water Jacket and ZnO Long Sleeve T-shirt.

The Coolibar Blog’s posts on Ridley’s adventures include: 

 High Altitude Sun Protection

 Would You Row 3000 Miles to Fight Cancer?


Dr. Pamela Peeke 

Docotor Pamela Peeke is an internationally recognized expert, physician, scientist and author in the fields of nutrition, stress, fitness and public health. She also believes in good sun health. As an avid athlete and to further uphold her reputation as the ‘doc who walks the talk,’ Dr. Peeke lead seven determined women from the north rim or the Grand Canyon to the south rim of the canyon. This 26.2 mile trek included 112 degree temperatures, steep hills, and the load or their 25-pound backpacks. She and her “Peeke Performers” did it while wearing Coolibar UPF 50+ shirts, hats and sunscreen too. Their gear consisted of the Travel Shirt, ZnO Sun Shell and a versatile travel hat.

The Coolibar Blog’s posts on Dr. Peeke’s adventures include:

The Grand Canyon Peeke Performers

Reflecting on the Expedition

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Snowboarders and Skiers Take Cover

TRUE or FALSE – you’re more likely to sunburn in a snowy landscape than a grassy plain. Think about it. Ultraviolet rays from the sun reflect off of shiny surfaces such as sand, water and SNOW! When walking into any ski resort chalet you’ll notice bright red faces of snowboarders and skiers fresh off the hill. Now the only question is, are the rosy cheeks and nose from windburn or sunburn?

Snowboarders and skiers have to protect themselves from more than frostbite. UV radiation exposure increases 8 to 10 percent every 1,000 feet above sea level, so if you’re snowboarding down the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, you could be starting your descent at almost 13,000 feet above sea level. By 13,000 feet, UV radiation exposure increases 104 to 130 percent! Then add the fact that snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, and you’ve got UV coming from all directions. The combination of increased elevation and UV rays reflected by the snow puts skiers and snowboarders at an increased risk of sun damage, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer later in life.

While wearing sunscreen on the snowy slopes can offer sun protection, snow and wind can reduce its effectiveness. Avoid sunburn (and perhaps even windburn) this winter and take some advice from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

  • Cover your head – it will protect your scalp and help keep you warm.
  • Wear items like ski masks, which will leave very little skin exposed to the wind and sun.
  • Sunglasses or goggles that offer 99 percent or greater UV protection and have wraparound or large frames will protect your eyes, eyelids and the sensitive skin around your eyes, which are common sites for skin cancers and sun-induced aging.
  • If possible, ski early in the morning and later on in the day, before 10 AM and after 4 PM. This decreases the amount of time spent outdoors in the most intense sunlight and it may also help you avoid long lines.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before hitting the slopes. Using a moisturizing sunscreen with ingredients like lanolin or glycerin can soothe skin while protecting. Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to all exposed skin – at least a teaspoon to the face. Reapply every two hours, and immediately after heavy sweating.
  • Always wear a lip balm with an SPF 15 or higher – lips are very sensitive.

Wishing you a sucessful and SunAWARE season on the slopes!

Coolibar employee Amanda and her boyfriend Josh snowboarding in the Black Hills
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Wellness Warriors

“More Than Skin Deep” – This Film Can Save Lives

If you had the resources to tell hundreds of thousands of people around the world about skin cancer and prevention would you? Director and Cinematographer Stan Kozma has worked in the film business his entire adult life. He also knows all too well how skin cancer can affect people’s lives, so he decided to take action. All is revealed about skin cancer and melanoma in his film “More Than Skin Deep: Skin Cancer in America”. The hour long film examines the cultural, historical and social facets of the disease, including how the tanning craze was accidentally popularized by Coco Chanel, as well as its medical, scientific and treatment aspects.  Since 2009, the film has been broadcast over 500 times on 200 stations to approximately 500,000 viewers in addition to audiences attending film festivals across the U.S. and currently in Norway. This landmark film has so many elements that we decided to speak with Stan and get the reasoning behind his creation of the film.

Here’s a brief clip from the film “More Than Skin Deep: Skin Cancer in America.” 


Why did you decide to create a film about skin cancer?
As the saying goes, “You choose some projects. Some projects choose you.” My fiancé, Kristi, a professional make-up artist was diagnosed with melanoma. After four tough years of operations and protocols, she was taken by the disease at age 35. During a brief period of remission, she and I vowed that upon her return to full health, we would do what we could to spread awareness about skin cancer. Prior to “Skin Deep”, I had produced a successful PSA campaign about sun awareness directed at kids, teens and parents. The documentary was planned as the next step.

Stan Kozma Shooting "More Than Skin Deep"

Who do you think your audience is for this film?
The audience is anyone who is exposed to the sun – which is all of us. The film is directed at mid-teen to adult. Classroom versions have been created for middle school, high school and nursing academies.

What is your hope for every person who watches “More Than Skin Deep”?
One hope is that people who watch “Skin Deep” will want a friend or family member to watch it as well. We’ve received many requests to send copies of the film to a granddaughter or younger family member who might not realize the possible consequences of their sun habits.

What was the number one point you wanted to get across?
If there is one overarching message it is that skin cancer is REAL cancer. While the film addresses basal and squamous cancers, the primary focus is on melanoma. There are two main points we emphasized. One is that melanoma is an unpredictable and very treacherous cancer that although when caught early has a 99% cure rate, once it spreads it is very difficult to control. The second is that sun exposure or early sunburns can have long term serious consequences. Your body doesn’t really ‘get over’ a sunburn. It’s not like getting over a cold. Your skin stores that information for your entire life – and we get 80% of our lifetime sun exposure before we are 18.

How did you choose people to interview?
During Kristi’s treatments we traveled from Florida to California, New York and Bethesda for consultation and treatment. We met many brilliant and caring physicians and nurses during that time. I remained in contact with most of them after her passing. When it came time to make the documentary, not one turned down the opportunity to be on camera. In fact, several made important introductions that resulted in interviews that otherwise would not have been possible.

Sun protective clothing is now being recommended as the first line of defense by many leading organizations. The movie doesn’t really address the use of sun clothing as a protection method, was this intentional?
Several of our interviewees did mention sun protective clothing. Our limiting issue was time. The film had to be a specific length to adhere to broadcast standards. We had more footage than time. Since “Skin Deep’s” initial release in 2009, there have been significant developments in melanoma treatment and in skin cancer news. Currently we are looking to revise the film for a new broadcast version and a longer non broadcast version without time constraints. The importance and advantages of sun protective clothing will certainly be included in the update.

In your eyes, has the film been a success?
The film has been successful. But its full potential is far from being reached. “More Than Skin Deep” is the most engaging, emotional and entertaining film to examine skin cancer produced to date. It can be updated and advanced as new information and treatments become available. Custom versions of the film can be created for certain geographical regions and for ages and occupations.

Do you have any future plans as a skin cancer crusader?
In addition to continuing the outreach of “Skin Deep”, I am developing a feature film which Kristi and I started writing together and which chronicles the odyssey of her melanoma journey. It is not a standard approach to the subject and the intent is to create a narrative film that will do for skin cancer awareness what the film ‘Philadelphia’ did for HIV/AIDS understanding.

To view clips or purchase the DVD, visit

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Sun Protection Clothing Wellness Warriors What our customers say

For Women with a Sense of Adventure – Travel Sun Shirt Review

Soft Adventure Travel, the fastest growing segment of the exploding travel industry, is rewarding for the spirit and intellect, yet is safe and without excessive physical demands. Linda Ballou, author and soft adventure travel writer, has hiked, biked, kayaked and horse-backed through untouched country. Most trips are with a reliable guide, but often she explores alone seeking the sustenance from nature that can only be found in solitude.  With a degree in English Literature and a published author for over twenty years, Linda’s well-researched articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Northwest Travel, Specialty Travel Index and she’s the LA Outdoor Travel Examiner .

Linda knows a thing or two about the importance of carefully preparing for every excursion, including sun protection. “Since I am a ‘booming boomer’ in the most likely demographic to develop skin cancers, I really must pay attention to sun-protection,” says Linda. “It’s so important that I plan to write an article on the subject in my column on the National Association of Baby Boomer Women site in January. I hope to spotlight the Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt, which contains a built in sun scarf for additional coverage on tender chest skin, and the need for sunscreen with zinc oxide as well as a wide-brimmed hat along with other skin saving tips.”

Linda also shares her thoughts about her favorite Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt and sun protection accessories she uses. Strolling the sands of Malibu, hiking the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, river rafting and horseback riding, I need strong sun protection. I am thrilled to have this ‘Sunsational’ Coolibar Travel Sun Shirt in my wardrobe. It is light as a summer’s breeze and is sophisticated enough for street wear, but sturdy enough for outdoor activities. I live in Southern California and spend a good deal of time at the beach or hiking on the trails. This shirt is perfect for my sunny clime,” says Linda.

Linda Ballou, Expert Travel Writer

We asked for Linda’s opinion on our aire SUNTECT® fabric, which her shirt is constructed with. “My favorite feature of the fabric is the light airy feel. Plus it needs no ironing after washing. I’m glad a fabric that makes me feel so feminine can stand up to the rigors of an active outdoor life. I would give the fabric a 10 (on a scale of 10 being great to 0 being horrible) for hot weather hiking. For cool weather, I might opt for my flannel shirt, but that does not have sun protection. The fabric also didn’t stick to my skin like polyester tends to.”

“Other sun protection accessories I use include a hat and sometimes fingerless gloves. I love my Sedona Hat. It is sturdy and wide-brimmed and really does keep the burning rays off my face. The chin strap keeps in on in the strongest winds. The fingerless gloves are just the ticket for river rafting when hands take a beating from wind, sun and water. You do not lose mobility while gaining much needed protection against the elements,” says Linda.

To read more about Linda Ballou’s adventures, visit her blog and website.

To view the sun protection items Linda takes on her adventures, click any of the following links:

Coolibar Women’s Travel Sun Shirt
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Coolibar Sedona Sun Hat
Coolibar Fingerless Aqua Gloves

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SunAWARE Videos

Does a Tan Make you More Beautiful?

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Dermatology, the answer is “yes” for many teens and young adults in the United States.  When asked if they think people look more attractive with a tan, a large percentage of respondents (66 percent) answered yes, especially indoor tanners (87 percent).

The survey found that a vast majority (86 percent) of Caucasian teen girls and young women who tan indoors do so for the sake of vanity despite knowing the health risks.  Young Australians, on the contrary, have begun to shift their perceptions on beauty and tanning.

The Aussie tan is officially no longer cool. At least not among the 12-17 year old age group who’ve grown up with the slip, slop, slap message.  New research by the Cancer Council has revealed young Australians are rapidly changing their attitude towards tanning, with fewer than ever seeking the bronzed look.  The council’s national sun protection survey conducted last summer shows the preference for a suntan among 12-17-year-olds has steadily dropped to 45%, proof that a public health campaign can be effective.

Below is the well-known Australian Slip!Slop!Slap! advertisement from the Cancer Council Victoria with Sid the Seagull, launched in the 1980’s. Just say these simple words – slip, slop, slap. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.



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Educate Others Events Inside Coolibar

Help Us Give the Gift of Sun Protection Education

Sun protective habits developed in childhood promote a lifetime of healthy skin. Giving a child the gift of sun protection education is as easy as ‘liking’ the Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing Facebook page. For every Coolibar Facebook page ‘like’ (a.k.a. fan) we receive in December, we’ll donate a SunAWARE book to the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation

‘Like’ us now to give a child a SunAWARE children’s book and help support our cause! Just click the ‘like’ button below.

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Inside Coolibar Sun Protection Clothing What's Hot

2011 Coolibar Gift Guide for Life Outdoors

QUESTION: Do you need to find a gift for …

a. A family member who spends a lot of time outside?

b. A girlfriend who obsesses over her skin and owns oodles of cosmetics?

c. A parent with small children?

d. A friend who lives to garden, bike, hike, climb, fish, run, walk, camp, swim, surf, golf, farm, surf, sail, travel and participate in a never ending list of outdoor activities?

If you answered YES to any of the above then we strongly suggest you proceed reading!

While the holiday season may not have you thinking about sunny beaches and or long afternoons on the golf course, we’ll bet everyone on your list would love a gift that’s associated with that carefree feeling. Sun protection is a gift everyone needs (and we’re convinced would want if they knew about it). Wide brim hats and sun protective clothes are not only practical for easy sun coverage, but over the years, these items have been recognized by both fashion editors and outdoor athletic communities for their style and performance. So, maybe not everyone on your list knows about sun protective clothing. Well, here’s your chance to show the one’s you love how smart and thoughtful you are.  Sun protective clothing is not only easy, comfortable and a health conscious move, but there are a range of styles and features so fashionistas and fitness enthusiasts alike can take on the outdoors in their own style.

If you don’t know where to start for a someone who’s new to UPF clothing, here’s our ideas:

Our Customer’s Favorite Coolibar Basics
Click on the first image to browse our gift ideas.

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Find the perfect Coolibar piece for that special person on your list.


Santa Letter Photo Credit: katerha

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Success Stories Wellness Warriors

Thankful for the Chance to Spread an Important Message

Duane Braswell is a recent skin cancer survivor whom is thankful for many things this holiday season. After being diagnosed with both basal cell carcinoma and melanoma in August 2011 and having his cancer cells successfully excised, he came to the conclusion that there is not enough awareness around the dangers of skin cancer. With the support of his family, friends and outside donors, Duane has arranged to complete a 2,500 mile bike circuit starting in Phoenix, AZ and ending in Washington, DC to raise awareness and money for skin cancer research.

Duane’s story:

I was diagnosed in August 2011 with several basal cell carcinoma cancers and melanoma. What a shock to hear the word “cancer” and your name in the same sentence! This is something everyone knows can happen, but we never expect it will happen to us.

Prior to the cancer I only wore a hat and sunscreen if I remembered or thought I would be outside for an extended period of time. When we were  kids, we just dealt with sunburns and didn’t think twice about it. After all of the cancerous cells were cut out in mid-October, I now wear my hat almost everywhere I go – plus it looks good anyway!

The biggest hit was realizing that even though I made my family a priority over my career, I still did not realize how fragile life is and how precious my time with my family is. The hardest thing was looking at my kids and thinking I might not be there for their children or even my youngest child’s graduation. I had never considered these things before my diagnosis, when I was ignoring my mole and ‘spots.’

Now, I am looking forward to spending five weeks with my son going cross country and showing him how great people are to visit and talk with. We leave May 13, 2012 from Phoenix and will arrive in Washington DC at the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) center by the end of June. We will be traveling 2,500 miles; enjoying our time together and sharing with others the importance of covering up in the sun and wearing a hat. We hope to raise $10,000 for the MRF through exposure on TV, radio as well as the internet. Both my son and I want to hear someone went and got checked for skin cancer because we talked to them.

After the ‘cancer’ scare, my oldest daughter had two moles removed when visiting the dermatologist. She told me it would be foolish to miss out on life because of something so small. Hers moles were VERY early and required no stitches. Mine were nearly too late and required over 60 stitches that we could count. It is so easy to prevent skin cancer, and so costly if we do not.

– Duane Braswell

P.S. My doctor recommended your products to me and I really love them.

Check back in May for a trip update!

Duane posing in his Coolibar gear with the bike that will be accompanying him on a 2,500 mile ride to raise funds for melanoma research