Events

It’s World Vitiligo Day (Almost!)

Coolibar - World Vitiligo Day

World Vitiligo Day is a public initiative aimed at building global awareness about vitiligo (pronounced: vit-til-EYE-go). The Vitiligo Research Foundation (see below) launched a website and an online petition, aimed at the United Nations, to highlight vitiligo and officially designate June 25 as World Vitiligo Day annually. The petition needs 500,000 signatures. It’s almost there!

And so you’re asking: what is vitiligo? It’s an acquired skin disease where the cells stop producing melanin – the pigment that gives color to skin – causing irregular white patches. There is no way to tell where the patches will form, or if they will spread; however, they are more common on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun.

You might have heard of vitiligo because pop star Michael Jackson suffered from it. But since the beginning of history people all over the world, regardless of gender or nationality, have struggled with vitiligo. Today, as many as two million Americans have vitiligo. By many estimates, it affects more than 100 million people worldwide.

You’re also asking: why does the world need a vitiligo day? Vitiligo is not life-threatening or contagious. It’s not well-known compared to lots of other diseases and disorders. But let’s take a moment to realize what vitiligo does: Many of them are forced to live in the shadows of society. They become anxious and self-conscious. They often receive no support from healthcare providers or insurance companies. Depression and low quality of life is common among vitiligo sufferers.

The cause of vitiligo is unknown. There are accepted treatments depending on the severity, but no cure.

A petition has been created to officially designate June 25 as World Vitiligo Day every year. It is almost there. Click here to add your name to a list of 500,000 signatures needed to address the United Nations and highlight vitiligo.

Check out these resources on vitiligo:

VR Foundation
Firmly committed to curing vitiligo, the VR Foundation is a non-profit organization funding and fast-tracking medical research across the biomedical spectrum. The organization is committed to a mission of developing effective treatments for millions of people around the world who suffer from vitiligo.

Vitiligo Bond Inc.
Founded in November 2010, Vitiligo Bond Inc. (VBI) is a registered nonprofit 501c(3) organization that aims to provide support for those living with vitiligo. VBI is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for vitiligo; increasing awareness of vitiligo spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with vitiligo and their families. Natasha Pierre, founder of VBI, is a current vitiligan.

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Coolibar Athletes Valerie Stewart

Learning to Win: Coolibar Athlete Does It Her Way

Valerie Stewart - Coolibar

BValerie Stewart MAINy Valerie Stewart

Snowboarding is the sport that makes me feel truly alive. I’m fully present when flying down a mountain on a race course, or carving powder in the trees. My thoughts are not cluttered or stuck in past or future; I am completely in the moment. For me, snowboarding creates an ideal state of mind.

I’m a self taught boarder because snowboarding teachers didn’t exist when I started 21 seasons ago. The first few days were tough, but then it clicked. I decided to compete in the Lake Tahoe division of USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association) when I heard I could win a snowboard.  I had no idea that it would lead to years of competing on the national level. USASA has an Open Class category which any age can enter if they are good enough and brave enough. Olympic medalist Shaun White was in that group as a very young teenager.

Intently observing the Open Class compete is how I learned to win. I watched the racers with laser focus. What was their body position in the start gate?  Their angle out of the gate? Where did they land, and what happened – did they hit a rut or patch of black ice?  When did they initiate their turn around the first gate? Did they fall in the trough formed by all the previous racers, or did they cut the gate a little wide to avoid the trough – losing a hundredth of a second, but still standing to charge the next gate? Observation is a marvelous teacher. My other “teacher” is simply time on the hill, always pushing myself to go faster and carve like a pro.

Valerie StewartWhen I’m boarding, the only skin that is exposed is part of my face. I always wear a helmet and goggles, so the big issue is my nose and mouth. Zinc-based sunscreens are definitely the best protection. Blue Lizard is a great brand, because the zinc disappears instead of making me look like a ghost. I also apply it to the back of my hands for when I take my gloves off.  To cover my neck, I wear Coolibar’s Sun Gaiter, which comes in a rainbow of colors. If it’s cold out, I pull the gaiter up over my nose and can still breathe without fogging my goggles. My other protective strategy is to do some stretching before and after boarding to avoid injury.

The Waterfront Pullover is ideal for a spring day on the slopes, or over a swimsuit in the summer. It’s super stylish, with ruching at the shoulders and wrists, as well as very technical. The aqua SUNTECT® fabric resists chlorine and saltwater, stretches four ways, dries quickly, and is super breathable. The half zipper allows for temperature adjustment, and the thumbholes protect hands from the sun. There’s even a hidden zipper in the side seam for money and keys. The fabric doesn’t wrinkle, and doesn’t shrink when machine washed and dried. I’m lovin’ this shirt, and own it in three colors.

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Expert Rx

Coolibar Investigates – Adding Our Thoughts to This Morning’s Segment on GMA

We woke up to a little thrill this morning: sun protective clothing got the spotlight during a special segment on Good Morning America (ABC). This GMA Investigates piece makes a wonderful introduction for people who are just learning about the benefits of sun protective clothing.

In case you missed it, you can catch it here.

We at Coolibar believe this entire discussion is valuable for anyone who shops or will shop for sun protective clothing, and we’d like to add to it from our perspective.

GMA says: “Sun protective clothing has tightly woven fabric often treated with chemicals to help absorb UV rays.”

Coolibar adds: This can be true. But fabric technology has advanced far beyond spray-ons or other chemical treatments that will, eventually, wash out. Coolibar, for example, embeds tiny particles of common mineral ingredients used in sunscreen, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, into the fibers. These sun protective particles are permanent; they won’t wash or wear out.

Good Morning America - Coolibar

GMA says: “The darker the fabric and the tighter the weave, the higher the UPF.”

Coolibar adds: Also true. But the same advanced fabric technology drastically reduces the necessity for dark colors and tight weaves. Sun protective clothing does not need to be dark or heavy; instead, it’s lightweight, breathable (it actually keeps you cooler in the hot sun) and definitely fashionable.

GMA says:GMA Investigates tested five items all claiming to have a UPF between 50 and 100…All the clothing had around the UPF it claimed.”

Coolibar adds: We don’t discount these results, although current ASTM standards do not provide for a sun protective clothing manufacturer to label its clothing 100 UPF (some manufacturers claim 100 SPF). Instead, the highest possible rating is UPF 50+. We recently spoke with Dr. B. Lewis Slaten of International UV Testing Laboratories, an independent lab in Auburn, Alabama that tests UPF fabrics. Here is what he told us: “Well, 100 SPF is meaningless. The highest label is UPF 50. A 50 rating means that the material blocks 98 percent of UVA and UVB (the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays). Anything above that is inconsequential for most people.”

Again, it’s great to see sun protective clothing starting to pop up on conversations about health and skin care. Pass this along!

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Coolibar Athletes Rich Early

Age, Opposing Team – But Not Sun – Are My Biggest Adversaries

Rich Early - Coolibar 2014 Sponsored Athlete

By Rich Early, 2014 Coolibar Sponsored Athlete

I play for a Senior Softball age 65 tournament team that travels throughout Oregon and Washington, and will also play in Reno, Nevada and St. George, Utah this year. To play competitive tournament softball I work out at home five days a week at 6 am. I may not be the fastest player on the circuit but I work out hard in order to at least be in the conversation.

Working out at home has several advantages besides not having to go out into the cold and drive 10-15 minutes to a gym. Not having to share equipment and deal with distractions is a plus.

I primarily do multi-jointed exercises for a full body workout which I perform using a three-day rotation. This rotation consists of chest on day one, back on day two, and shoulders on day three. I do three sets of two exercises for these muscle groups along with core work and lower body exercises. On the next three-day rotation I select different exercises to perform for each muscle group, along with changing core and lower body exercises. I rotate between strength days and endurance days by altering the weight and the repetitions. Using the three-day rotating system Monday through Friday creates different days during the week I perform the exercise. It’s not as complicated as it sounds and I’ve found it eliminates boredom and training ruts.

The home gym workouts also allow me to get the most out of practice on the ball field. Since we are able to use a synthetic turf field, we are out two days a week for hitting and fielding practice as long as it’s not too rainy or cold. At this time I am able to work on increasing running speed and strengthening my throwing arm. At our age we have to keep working on our abilities to hold off their decline.

Even on the cloudy and rainy days at practice I have to be aware of UV exposure and make sure that I’m protecting myself. When the sun is out in its glory I have to cover up as much as I can to block out the UV rays.

Before I discovered Coolibar clothing I envisioned I would burn up and explode like a vampire if the sun touched me. Ok, a little exaggerated, but that is how I felt.

Now with the Coolibar Sun Gaiter, the ZnO Long-Sleeve shirt or the new Cool Long-Sleeve Fitness Shirt I’m covered up and confident in my sun protection. I have to admit that I was self-conscious the first time I wore the gaiter to cover my entire head, neck and ears. It was short-lived, after playing a weekend of softball and not having any of the problems that come with too much sun exposure. It may sound silly but now I want the other players and fans to notice me wearing Coolibar sun protection. It makes me want to play better!

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Coolibar Athletes Mekia Earle

Deadlines! Even in Hawaii, Being a Mom, Teacher & Athlete Requires Planning (and Stamina)

Mekia Earle - Coolibar Sonsored Athlete 2014

Another Coolibar 2014 Sponsored Athlete…

By Mekia Earle

I know that the parents out there will relate to my morning frenzy. Some may call it a routine, I suppose, but I prefer to call it “somewhat controlled chaos.”

As a teacher, I need to get to work by 7:15 am to prepare for the three hundred-plus other keiki (Hawaiian for children) in my life. This means that I am up by 5:45 am and am making the fruit and kale smoothie for the whole family by 6:00. And that’s the relaxing part. The craziness starts with my own two kids up a few minutes later, out of PJs, into clothes, breakfast, and out the door by 6:45. Deadlines!

Yes, my wonderful husband helps in this process, too.  He uses the double stroller and runs our son to day-care and then continues his trek taking our daughter to preschool.  He needs the exercise.

Because both kids will be outside playing in the tropical sun, my last two duties as morning mom are applying a thick layer of sunscreen to each and then sending them off running up the hill with two, make that three, kisses. My husband usually deserves one, too.

Then I head to school, but not before I also lather up with sunscreen as I, like my kids, will be outside for most of the day. My sunscreens of choice are Elta MD and Neutrogena – both highly recommended by the best dermatologist on the island.

Upon arrival at school, I set up the necessary equipment for the day’s lesson, which could range from gymnastic equipment to basketball hoops to obstacle courses. Teaching physical education is my dream job for many reasons.  I am lucky enough to play most of the day with eight- to ten-year-old girls, spreading the love of movement to the keiki. This is a built-in light workout; I don’t even have to make the time.

On my coffee breaks I get my heavier workout in.  I either hit the road running or do some kind of crossfit – a high-intensity workout in the school weight room.  These heavier workouts are my training for 10ks, which I hope I’ll feel ready for by summer.

As I tell my students, husband and children, it is very important to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or even sooner after a very sweaty workout.

Also integral in sun protection is clothing. I prefer Coolibar fitness long sleeve shirts and have found that these are the best, most cost-effective and most comfortable way to keep cool and protected at the same time.

As you can tell, I wear multiple different hats in a day, literally and figuratively, and depending on the time of the day, I can be seen around the campus wearing anything from visors to large rim straw hats to Super Sport Hats. My all-time favorite hat would be the Ultra Sun Hat, which keeps my neck protected as well.

After school, I pick up the kids, although I hate to say, I drive. My muscles would revolt if I even considered doing the kid pick-up running. Once my family is all back home, the fun chaos starts all over (although it is much different than the morning chaos).

The only true deadline in the evenings is kid bedtime and depending on what book we are all reading together before bedtime, we can cheat a bit with that.

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Coolibar Athletes Jim Webster

A Scene from the Mountain

JIm Webster - Coolibar 2014 Sponsored Athlete

Throughout June, Coolibar gives each of our 2014 Sponsored Athletes the spotlight. For a quick look at all of our 2014 athletes, go here.

By Jim Webster

Checking in from Beacon, New York: the 2014 competitive rifle season is just starting for me, but my training regimen, both strength and cardio, is year round.

One of my favorite places to train is Mt. Beacon. This hill rises 1,400 vertical feet from my frJim Webster - Trainingont door and was once home to one of the longest incline railways in world.  Steep and ever-changing terrain make it a perfect natural gym.

During the week before work, Molly and I will head to the park and do laps on the steps.  On the weekends we extend our hikes to the many trails that have formed over the years.  The photo is from the beginning of Mt. Beacon Park – these 200 steps are the warm-up.  When you stop for water you throw in a set of push-ups…not as a penalty, but to make the most of your break.

When I am not on the mountain, I study and instruct jujitsu at a local dojo.  The combination of these very active pursuits is a perfect balance for the calm that is required when I am behind the rifle.  The better my cardio, the more patient I am when attempting to score a center hit on the target that is more than half a mile away.

I really like the versatility of Coolibar’s line.  For example, the sun was not bearing down on me in the photo above; in fact the temperature was just over 40 degrees F.  Just the same, the UV is present. The combination of the Cool Fitness Shirt and Neck Gaiter added enough breathable warmth to remain comfortable and protected the entire workout.

Stay tuned for more scenes from the mountain.  Train hard and stay safe.

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Coolibar Athletes Stesha Carle

A Rower’s Day in SoCal

Stesha Carle, 2014 Cooilbar Athlete

All month, Coolibar will be introducing our 2014 Sponsored Athletes – or better, letting them introduce themselves. We’ll follow these people throughout the year as they continue pursuing extraordinary, sun safe activities outdoors. For a quick look at all of our 2014 athletes, go here.

By Stesha Carle

As a rower, I spend a lot of my time on the water training outdoors. I row for SoCal Scullers, a high performance rowing club for high school, masters and elite rowers. We are very fortunate to start each day with a training session under a beautiful Southern California sunrise in Huntington Harbour.

Our typical day includes a 12-mile row in the morning followed by boat washing and stretching.  During the weekdays, I head off to my part time job as project coordinator for Fastech – a company that engineers and builds gas stations. After logging in some hours at my desk, I head back for another workout session which is usually a combination of lifting weights, yoga, running, core, erging (rowing machine) or spinning.Stesha Carle - Rowing NSR2 May 2014

I also teach rowing machine classes for Roworx in Long Beach. And Sunday mornings I follow up my training session with personal training for Long Beach Rowing Association members.

Rowing has given me so many awesome experiences. I have traveled the world and competed in many major championship races. Most notably, I have won three silver medals at the Rowing World Championships! My next goal is to win gold at the 2016 Olympic Games!

I am incredibly inspired by all the Coolibar athletes who have put a priority on sun protection. It wasn’t until last year when my dad had surgery to remove melanoma from his cheek did I realize that the threat of skin cancer was very real. I am excited to be taking the right steps towards protecting my skin.  Coolibar clothing is perfect for rowing and outdoors sports because of its lightweight, flexible and sun protective qualities. I could not be more proud to represent this company.

Update: Stesha’s team placed second at the National Selection Regatta (NSR2), conducted at the Princeton National Rowing Center/Casperson Rowing Center in West Windsor, New Jersey. “The Long Sleeve Cool Fitness Shirt is my new favorite race warmup/cooldown piece of gear!”

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What's Hot

All Terrain® and Coolibar Team Up for Total Coverage

All Terrain Sun Protection Kit

Here’s an offer that’s only natural. Purchase $150 or more from Coolibar, and get a FREE All Terrain Family Sun Protection Kit! Just enter KIT14 at checkout.

This all-natural sun safety kit includes:

– 3-oz. “no slip, dry grip” All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen SPF 30

– Convenient spray-on All Terrain AquaSport SunSpray SPF 30

– Minty fresh, oxybenzone-free.15-oz. All Terrain Lip Armor SPF 28

– A reusable hemp cosmetic bag

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you use a broad spectrum SPF 15+ sunscreen every day. For extended outdoor activity, you should use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30.

All Terrain makes UVA/UVB sunscreens that are extremely moisture resistant and great for sensitive skin with no eye sting. They are transparent (no white noses!) and water resistant to 80 minutes. They are also PABA-, oxybenzone- and paraben-free, a terrific alternative to chemical-based products.

It’s total coverage and unbeatable sun protection from All Terrain and Coolibar sun protective clothing! SHOP NOW!

NOTE: If you purchase $150 or more from Coolibar online, do NOT add the sun protection kit to your shopping bag. Simply enter KIT14 at checkout and it will be added for you as a FREE item! Limit one kit per $150+ 0rder. All Terrain Family Sun Protection Kit is also available for individual purchase at a $35 retail value.
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Educate Others Routinely Check Skin Success Stories Sun Protection Clothing Wear Sun Protection Wellness Warriors

Staying Positive, Staying Aggressive

Tim Fater - Coolibar

Coolibar wraps up our official Melanoma Survivor Series with Tim Fater, a Rhode Island native whose sense of adventure has never wavered (we suspect it’s actually gotten stronger) following his diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma Month is almost over, but we’ll share additional stories throughout the year. Tell us yours!

Tim Fater noticed the first sign of melanoma in December of 2003. It wasn’t ominous; just an unusual freckle on his right forearm. Tim was 19 then, a junior at Fairfield University in Connecticut. He was also preparing for a semester abroad in Australia.

His mother, a nurse, urged him to get the freckle checked out before the trip. A biopsy was performed and a follow-up phone call told him the results were benign.

“I went to Australia,” Tim says now, “and burned for six months.”

The Adventure Begins

Following his graduation in 2005, Tim took off on another adventure. “I was doing the classic backpack trip across Europe,” he says. “While sitting on the train, I noticed the hints of a subtle re-growth emerging from the scar on my forearm where that initial excision had taken place. When I got back to the States, I immediately scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist to have the growth examined.”

Tim noticed that more doctors were involved this time, and that they were talking a lot more than usual. “I could tell by the way this was being treated that thiTim Fater - Melanoma Foundation New Englands was something serious, although no one wanted to admit it until we knew for certain,” Tim says. Finally the news came back: malignant melanoma. In fact, it had been all along.

Then it was a whirlwind: shock, fear, confusion. “It’s just really hard,” Tim says. “Especially for your parents, to see the fear on their faces.”

Looking back, Tim believes the disease was pretty certainly enabled by sun exposure during his childhood in Newport, Rhode Island; he was “always outside…whether it was sailing, surfing, golfing or working at an outdoor bar on the beach.”

This annual summer routine rarely included sunscreen, or anyone advising sun safety.

He and his family immediately transferred from Newport to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. “I remember one of my first meetings with the dermatologist very clearly,” Tim says. “The dermatologist that day informed me that a patient in my situation, with the recurrence, depth of the disease and the amount of time that had elapsed, had a five- year survival rate of 50 percent.” This was consistent with a Stage IIIB melanoma diagnosis.

The resulting surgery and skin grafting claimed most of Tim’s right forearm, along with the lymph nodes in his right armpit. This was followed by interferon treatments – an initial five weeks of intravenous deliveries and plenty of cold-sweat discomfort – “they call it shake and bake,” Tim says – followed by 11 months of self-administered injections.

Aggressive, Yet Positive

Here is what else Tim remembers: “I committed myself to a positive outlook; I taught myself to disregard such negative news which I knew could be lurking around the corner at any time. At that point everything was one day at a time.”

In considering this battle, though, one shouldn’t confuse being positive with being passive. Tim says that from the start he had decided to be aggressive in treating the disease; at such a young age, he was determined to navigate what is always a significant disturbance in one’s life and live as close to normal as possible.

That has included educating himself, as well as a great deal of educating others about melanoma. People share the initial whirlwind: what is it? Where did it come from? When people ask how he “got” melanoma, Tim says he tells them: it is one-third sun; one-third genes; and one-third “nobody really knows.”

Still, he says, “this might be the most frustrating part of the whole experience – the fact that skin cancer is, for the most part, very preventable.”

Today Tim Fater is a CPA and works as a Senior Staff Accountant at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is married; he is an avid skier and a photographer. He is active in several melanoma-related causes. He has also spoken about melanoma at schools throughout New England.

Tim has remained aggressive through all of the doctor’s appointments, skin checks, scans and follow-ups that come with a melanoma diagnosis. There has been no sign of the disease since the fall of 2005.

He’s also remained positive.

“People get caught up with all the little things, and now after fighting melanoma you have more to fall back on,” Tim says. “You know: don’t worry about the small stuff.”

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More Success Stories

Minnesota Becomes Eighth State to Ban Indoor Tanning for Teens

MN State Capitol - teen tanning ban

The months-long debate over teen tanning in Minnesota ended on May 23 when Governor Mark Dayton signed HF2402 into law. Effective August 1, 2014:

– No one under the age of 18 may use a commercial indoor tanning facility in Minnesota.

– All tanning facilities must prominently display a sign to that effect.

– Tanning facility owners/operators who violate the law are subject to a misdemeanor penalty as determined by a judge.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association commended the approval of the bill in Consumer Affairs, pointing out that “dermatologists contend the risk for developing melanoma increases by 59% in people who use indoor tanning devices, and the risks increase with each subsequent use.”

In March, Coolibar (based in Minneapolis, MN) visited the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul for a day of lobbying on behalf of the bill then known as the Minnesota Skin Cancer Prevention Act (SF 1901). This effort was in conjunction with the American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network.

Here is an updated list of US states that either prohibit indoor tanning or are considering it:

  • Louisiana – just passed a law banning the use of tanning beds by anyone under 18
  • Pennsylvania – Just passed a law prohibiting tanning bed use by anyone under 16
  • Indiana – Just passed a law banning the use of tanning beds for those 16 & under
  • Nebraska – Prohibits tanning bed use by anyone under 16
  • Washington – Bans the use of tanning beds for anyone under 18
  • California – Bans tanning bed use for anyone under 18
  • Illinois – Bans tanning bed use for anyone under 18
  • Nevada – Bans tanning bed use for anyone under 18
  • Texas – Bans tanning bed use for anyone under 18
  • Oregon – Bans tanning bed use for anyone under 18
  • Connecticut – Bans tanning bed use for those under 17
  • New Jersey – Bans tanning bed use for those under 17
  • Vermont – Bans tanning bed use for those under 17
  • Wisconsin – Bans tanning bed use for those under 16
  • Hawaii – Bill recently passed in state legislature would prohibit tanning bed use by anyone under 18
  • Missouri – Law would prohibit tanning bed use by anyone under 17

About 15 other US states have some form of restriction, such as a parental consent requirement, for teens using indoor tanning equipment.

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