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3 Personal New Year’s Resolutions to Stay Skin Cancer Free in 2013

When thinking about your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions, consider making a conscious effort to prevent skin cancer in 2013. Yes, skin cancer is preventable in many cases. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually (Skin Cancer Foundation).

Prevention starts with education, and knowing exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVA – aging, and UVB – burning rays) from the sun and tanning beds contributes to your risk of developing skin cancer. The good news is an individual can take simple steps to ensure a lifetime of healthy skin and still enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer.

3 Simple New Years Resolutions for Healthy Skin in 2013:

1. Use Sun Protection (Photo: Raw Elements SPF 30 Sunscreen)

1. Incorporate sun protection into your daily routine.

Use sun protection every day of the year. Even if you are indoors, windows allow UVA rays to penetrate the glass (glass blocks UVB rays). Start by incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on your face and all exposed skin. If you wear makeup, apply a face sunscreen underneath your foundation even if your foundation has SPF, as most people don’t use a thick enough application to provide adequate sun protection. (Click here for dermatologist recommended face sunscreens.) If you’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time, wear a wide brim hat, UV400 sunglasses and UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. If you cannot wear sun protective clothing, apply sunscreen underneath your T-shirt since most regular clothing offers less than SPF 30 protection. Not only will this keep your skin healthy, but as added incentive, you’ll look younger longer since UV rays significantly contribute to visible signs of aging.

2. Perform a self skin exam

2. Perform a self-skin exam every month and track your mole changes.

You know your body best, so you’ll likely be the first to notice changes in the skin. Also, when caught early, skin cancer is easily treatable in most cases. This is why performing a self-skin exam is important. Print this body map from the Skin Cancer Foundation and then look for the following:

1. A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored.

2. A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture, is irregular in outline, is bigger than 6mm or 1/4”, the size of a pencil eraser, appears after age 21.

3. A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed.

4. An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.

If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a physician immediately.

If you’re more of an smart phone app aficionado, technology is making performing a self-skin exam an exceedingly simple task. Check out smart phone apps on the Coolibar Pinterest page.

3. Get a full-body skin cancer screening (Photo: Charles Crutchfield III, M.D., M.B.B., F.A.A.D.)

3. Make time for a full-body skin cancer screening with a board-certified dermatologist once per year.

While you should check your skin every month, a board-certified dermatologist that works with skin every day may notice changes that you didn’t. Schedule an annual skin cancer screening to ensure your skin is healthy as can be!

The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday (5/6/2013). Dermatology offices often provide free skin cancer screenings. Find a free skin cancer screening on the AAD website or by calling your local dermatology office. Mark your calendars now!

Have a great 2013 and keep your skin healthy!

– Coolibar, Sun Protection You Wear

DisclaimerThe 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.

What are your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions? Join the conversation on the Coolibar Pinterest page!

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Expert Rx Parenting

Dr. George on eczema: a common childhood condition

Dr. Manju George - Pediatric Dermatology West Palm Beach

We asked Coolibar medical advisor Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD of Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches to share some information with us on childhood eczema.  Her response is below.

“When we think about baby’s skin, most of us envision soft, smooth skin unaffected by the sun, chemicals and other harmful substances. New parents often come to me in a panic, because their child’s skin is covered in a strange rash or bumps. It’s important to be aware that there are a handful of very common pediatric skin conditions that can be easily treated.”

“One such skin condition is called atopic dermatitis (AD), which is more commonly referred to as eczema (pronounced “EK-zema). In fact, AD affects nearly 10% of all infants and children. Literature and data have taught us the eczema is skin barrier defect. The exact cause is not known, but AD results from a combination of family heredity and a variety of conditions in everyday life that triggers the red, itchy rash.”

typical mild eczema

“Atopic dermatitis can be challenging to treat and education is of upmost importance. I always take the time to make sure I am educating parents on good skin care. Children with eczema are shown to sleep less and miss more school. This condition does not just affect children but the parents as well.”

“If you are worried your child may have eczema there are a few signs to look for.”

  • Time of Onset – it usually occurs within baby’s 1st year up to age 5 and tends to reappear
  • Itching – AD is very itchy, much of the skin damage comes from uncontrollable scratching
  • Rash Location – in babies, it usually starts on the face, elbows and knees. It may spread to involve all areas of the body. Later in childhood the rash is typically found in the elbow and knee folds but can appear on hands, feet scalp or bend the hears.

“Treatment for AD includes emollients such as petrolatum based products or creams. Lotions are not rich enough and often have a net drying effect on AD skin. Topical steroids, called corticosteroids, are cortisone like medications used in creams or ointments prescribed by your doctor. These medications can be very helpful and can calm the inflamed skin. They come in a variety of potencies and must be used with caution and supervision as there are some side effects associated with them, including thinning of the skin.”

“Since many of the products and prescriptions used in atopic dermatitis patients can cause photosensitivity, the use of sun protection for children with atopic dermatitis is recommended. If you are concerned that your child has eczema or some other skin condition, make an appointment to see your dermatologist or health care professional. They can help assess the problem, put your mind at ease and get your little one on their way to healthy skin.”

Manju Elizabeth George MD, FAAD
Triple Board certified in Pediatrics, Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Dermatology of the Palm Beaches

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.

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Educate Others Expert Rx

Get Your Vitamin D, Just Not From UV

A reminder for all, especially the cold weather states:

Vitamin D is essential for healthy living. UVB (not UVA) exposure from the sun causes the body to produce vitamin D; however, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends getting adequate Vitamin D through alternative safe methods.

Vitamin D helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.  It may also protect from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, two forms of vitamin D are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight. Foods may be fortified with vitamin D2 or D3.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, are natural sources of vitamin D

Getting vitamin D (D3, not D2) through dietary intake – fatty fish such as salmon, fish liver, egg yolks, even vitamin D supplementation in a vitamin pill – is a lot safer than getting it through UV exposure. According to the AAD, “the IOM Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is: 400 IU (International Units) for infants/children 0-1yr, 600 IU for children, teenagers and adults 1-70yr, 800 IU for adults 71+ yr.  The RDA is intake that covers needs of 97.5 percent of the healthy normal population.”  Recommendations are currently being reevaluated by the medical community. 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 may well end up being the new dosage recommended for prevention of vitamin D3 deficiency for people at risk of low levels.

Low levels of natural sun may be a necessary last resort for individuals at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. According to Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey in her blog post “Are you really getting vitamin D from the sun, or just nuking your DNA” she says, “Fair-skinned people make the maximum amount of vitamin D3 possible within a few minutes of mid-day summer sun exposure. This occurs with less sun exposure than would cause skin redness. Longer sun exposure adds nothing to vitamin D stores, but it does increase DNA damage.” Dr. Bailey strongly encourages patients to get their vitamin D level measured by a doctor and take supplements and eat foods with vitamin D3. Dr. Bailey says, “Chances are, your level is just fine anyway and all that sun exposure is just nuking your DNA, making wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers.”

In conclusion, vitamin D is something most can get adequately through diet. Still use sunscreen and remain SunAWARE all year long!

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.

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Expert Rx

What are the best sun protective strategies for men?

Dr. Ryan Goerig, a board-certified dermatologist, specializes in aesthetic dermatology at Vorteil Dermatology in Dana Point, CA, the first aesthetic dermatology center to focus on men.  Men’s skin is different than women’s skin.  Its structure and function is fundamentally unique and requires specialized knowledge and different treatment approaches.  This is why Dr. Goerig pays special attention to men’s dermatologic needs, including aesthetic dermatology and the treatment of male pattern baldness, acne scars and rosacea. Having extensive training in aesthetic dermatology, Dr. Goerig knows the importance of using sun protection in order to aid the skin conditions men are susceptible to, including skin aging and skin cancer.

Dr. Goerig poses the following question for men: What are the best sun protective strategies for men?

Here’s his answer:

This is a great question that I hear often from my male patients.    Men over the age of 40 tend to spend more time outdoors than their women counterparts, accumulating much more ultraviolet radiation exposure in the process.  This is concerning given that sun exposure is a major risk factor for skin cancer, which is now considered epidemic in the United States.  Skin cancer is the #1 cancer in men over age 50, ahead of other cancers such as colon and prostate.  According to the American Cancer Society, 39,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, occur in men each year in the US.  In fact, one in 39 Caucasian men will develop melanoma in their lifetime.  In this regard, an effective sun protection strategy is critical to preventing skin cancer and premature skin aging. 

So, what should men do?  First, avoid the intense, mid-day sun by doing outdoor activities (such as golfing, cycling or gardening) before 10 am or after 4 pm.  Doing this will avoid the majority of the day’s UV-B (cancer causing) rays.  Also, since incidental sun exposure over time can really add up, applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day after shaving can go a long way toward preventing skin cancer.  Since men’s skin tends to be oilier than women’s skin, water or alcohol based gels and sprays are better because they don’t tend to leave the skin feeling greasy.   For outdoor activities, a sport sunscreen works best because it is designed to absorb quickly. Stick sunscreens, when applied to the forehead and around the eyes, are great for water activities because they won’t run into the eyes and sting.  It is important to keep trying different brands and types to see what you like best, then being consistent with it.  In addition to regular sunscreen use, protective clothing, with a UPF of at least 30, is very effective at blocking harmful ultraviolet rays.  Coolibar has a variety of excellent UPF rated clothing options for men.  For areas of the skin that are difficult to apply sunscreen to, like the inner ear and eyelid, a sun hat provides outstanding protection. 

In general, skin cancer is caused by excessive, cumulative ultraviolet radiation exposure and, in most men, is completely preventable.  Following these simple recommendations can go a long way toward keeping your skin protected and cancer free. 

Written by:  Ryan Goerig, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist, Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology

Visit Vorteil Dermatology

Visit Coolibar Sun Protection You Wear

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SunAWARE What's Hot

One-on-one with creator of Perfect Skin Protection, a new digital magazine from SunAWARE

A behind the scenes interview with SunAWARE International Foundation’s founder, Mary Barrow, and her vision for the new publication Perfect Skin Protection, a new magazine designed for the iPad.  Perfect Skin Protection brings together the best in skin protection advice from experts around the country. You’ll hear from doctors, nurses, spa and skin experts, product developers, educators and more. Download Perfect Skin Protection for FREE at the Apple App Store.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and the SunAWARE team.  SunAWARE started in 2007 after the publication of “Sun Protection for Life: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy & Beautiful Skin.  In that publication I had used an acronym, AWARE, to provide a framework for all the information about skin cancer prevention and detection.  It then became clear that the acronym could be easily used in education materials by the anti-skin cancer community, so I founded the SunAWARE organization to find ways to reach them. Fortunately, I had a lot of support.

What is Perfect Skin Protection and how is it different than other health and beauty publications?  Perfect Skin Protection is a free magazine app for iPad.  In October you will be able to find it on the Apple ipad newsstand.  It is different from other health and beauty publications because it focuses on protecting your skin, not just finding ways to make it look good.  It takes a holistic approach while emphasizing the need for sun protection.

What inspired you to start this huge undertaking?  New technologies should never be ignored (even if they seem hard for a non technical person like myself).  Fortunately, Fleury Sommers carefully watches developments in communication technology and when she spotted the opportunity to use iPad to potentially reach millions with the SunAWARE message, she jumped on it and on me.  It is very exciting both in its ability to reach so many people and as a way to unite all the voices in the anti-skin cancer community.  

How long has this been in the works?  From the decision to try this new technology to today, it’s been a little over 90 days. We wanted to move very quickly to capitalize on the technology, to be among the first with a new magazine, but we’ve also been careful to elicit articles from key leaders in the sun protection, education and health and beauty communities. It’s been a sprint.

What is the main focus of your first issue and why did you decide this?  We have focused on the fact that skin cancer is a problem for all generations and all colors of skin.  This first edition makes a broad statement which will allow following editions to take on the issues within that statement.

What are your feelings now that you’ve come this far in making Perfect Skin Protection a reality?  It’s very exciting to see the pages come alive with photos and beautiful lay out.  It’s even more exciting to know that this edition will attract contributions from experts around the world and that there is finally one place where the public can hear all the voices that care about skin protection. 

Why is relaying the SunAWARE message so important to you?  Prevention and early detection of skin cancer can not only save lives, but can help prevent disfiguring surgeries, loss of work, and an astronomical expense to an already heavily burdened health system.  If a clear message is used for education, it is more likely to be one that is learned.  I am not a doctor, nurse or teacher, but I have worked many years as an editor, writer and communications expert, so this is the way I can make a difference in the fight against this disease. I truly believe in the idea that one should ‘give back’ in some way.  This is my way.

What was the most rewarding part of putting together Perfect Skin Protection? Seeing and hearing the immediate excitement that the magazine has generated throughout the skin care and anti-skin cancer community.

Is there anything else you want us to know?  Subscriptions for Perfect Skin Protection are free and will be available in October on the Apple iPad.  More information can be found at www.SunAWARE.org and our new website http://perfectskinprotection.com/ We welcome comments and suggestions and can be reached at mary@perfectionskinprotection.com or marymillsbarrow@sunaware.org.

I also wish to recognize the following supporters of SunAWARE.

Coolibar has been enormously generous not only financially, but in all the different areas required when putting together an organization. Coolibar is clearly mission driven, and its mission is to protect skin with the best sun protective clothing they can create. But they are also determined to help educate the public about the many reasons why sun exposure can be unhealthy. Their support, including the almost daily support provided by individuals in the company – Jennifer Annett, Alan Higley, Michael Hubsmith and Dave Brower, have, and continue to be, an integral part of the SunAWARE International Foundation.

Fleury Sommers at Sommers & Associates, with expertise in public relations and an exceptional ability to pinpoint trends in communication methods, has provided invaluable insights for ways to help SunAWARE reach the public.

The Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation has also provided on-going and greatly appreciated help in reaching educators. Maryellen Maguire-Eisen, the founder and director, has worked tirelessly to introduce the SunAWARE acronym in schools across Massachusetts and the rest of the country.

There are others. For example, Donnie Murphy, the SunAWARE Board chair, who provides both inspiration and unsurpassed organizational skills, and Dr. Charles Crutchfield, the organization’s medical advisor, who has boundless energy and is determined to educate as many people as he can reach with the SunAWARE advice, are just two of several who work with me and help create the SunAWARE team.

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Wellness Warriors

The Not-So-Sweet Truth: Sugar & pre-mature skin aging

Sugar—the main ingredient in some of nature’s most tempting indulgences. When we consume it, our brain sends out pleasure sensors and signals the body, “I want more of that good stuff.” Most of us know too much sugar contributes to weight gain, tooth decay and other health conditions. So we resign ourselves to just one Snickers out of the Halloween bucket.  However, despite our best intentions, many of us have a persistent “sweet tooth.” Now research suggests that sweet treats not only contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, those higher levels actually can cause pre-mature skin aging.

Foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

glazed donut – a high-glycemic carb

Furthermore, board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a world renowned healthy aging expert, advocates an anti-inflammatory diet. He asserts that clinical inflammation is the cause of aging and disease. One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which is why he recommends avoiding sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates. Sugar not only increases body weight, it also triggers cellular inflammation in all organs, including the skin.  This inflammation may lead to wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging.

What are high-glycemic foods you may ask? Any carbohydrate has a certain level and is ranked on a scale from low to high. The lower the glycemic “index” the better, because high-glycemic carbs break down quickly during your body’s digestion process. This is a problem since this fast breakdown results in an immediate effect on blood sugar levels. High-glycemic culprits include pasta, white bread, white rice and potatoes, just to name a few.

Substitute bad sugars with sweet fruits like kiwi, peaches, pears, plums and cantaloupe. Turn to low glycemic index foods such as wholegrain breads and non starchy vegetables like spinach, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage. By incorporating fruits and vegetables, you’ll also be getting plenty of antioxidants to protect your skin and body.

fresh veggies are good for both your skin & body

Resources:

  1. Discovery Fit & Health: Shun the Sugar for Sweeter Looking Skin
  2. Elle: Sugar Aging How to Fight Glycation
  3. Fox News: Diet and Exercise Mistakes that Age
  4. Guide Well: Women Keeping Skin Looking Youthful
  5. Perricone MD: 3 Foods to Leave Out of your Perricone Diet

 

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.

 

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Apply Sunscreen

Skin Care for Men

Manly men (and dermatologists) know that a good skin care routine can preserve youthfulness, reduce acne outbreaks and ingrown hairs, and promote general good health in addition to fighting skin cancer. Great looking skin will improve the way you look and feel and doesn’t require hours of grooming. 

It’s been well documented that men take less interest in their skin health than women do.  Consequently, as they age, men have more unprotected sun exposure and develop more skin cancers, including melanoma. That’s why it’s more important than ever for guys to be proactive and incorporate a daily skin care routine that includes sunscreen.

Men, follow these four simple steps for healthy glowing skin, no man make-up required.

1.  Cleanse You don’t have to wash your face with a harsh astringent. Harsh soaps strip off what’s called the acid mantle, a layer of oil that you’re supposed to have — it’s like protective cellophane. Plus, 7 percent of men are allergic to the artificial scents and chemicals in soaps. So use pH-balanced or gentle soap — soaps made with olive oil or peppermint or oatmeal.

2.  Exfoliate To keep your skin glowing try to exfoliate.  Exfoliation sloughs off the dead skin cells, smoothes the skin’s texture, and promotes circulation. There are physical exfoliators (scrubs) which contain ingredients such as seaweed, ground apricot seeds, or some sort of granulation. Chemical exfoliators, typically a cream or in a cleanser, dissolve dead skin cells allowing your skin to breathe better. For the best results, exfoliate once to twice a week.

3.  Moisturize In the morning, a lot of men splash on alcohol-based astringents, colognes, and aftershaves. This is okay and gives you a nice, bracing sting, but there’s no health benefit, and they can dry your face out. Use a cream-based moisturizer that contains the most important ingredient in any unguent: sunblock. Then at night, smear on a moisturizer that contains antioxidants, which actually rejuvenate your skin while you sleep.

4.  ProtectThe best way to prevent signs of aging is to use a moisturizer with a sunscreen included or to use a sunscreen after you’ve applied your daily moisturizer. Using a sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do for your skin, as wrinkles and age spots are caused and worsened by sun exposure.  For the maximum benefit, use a braod spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB.

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

Resources:  

1.  AAD: Men’s Skin Care

2.  Esquire: Dr. Oz: How You Can Look Better (from the Neck Up)

3.  SCF: Men and Skin Cancer, Solving the Knowledge Gap

4.  Skin Therapease: Pat’s Best Tips for Healthy Skin

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Expert Rx Sunscreens and Lotions

Considering self tanning? What you need to know.

Tanning booths are considered unhealthy by dermatologists, but what about sunless tanning (A.K.A. self tans, UV-free tans, fake tans)? While rocking the natural skin look is most recommended, those who cannot ditch the glow should opt for self tanners over UV tanning. First learn how it works. Then how to properly apply it.

At the local drug-store and you’ll find self tanners in the form of lotions, creams, sprays and tanning wipes. All contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar molecule that darkens the top layer of skin and is the main ingredient used in self tanners. DHA does not instantly dye the skin. Rather, over the course of a few hours, skin will gradually brown. This color will fade in 5 – 10 days.

In the 1920’s DHA was first used as an active ingredient in the pharmaceutical field. Then, in 1957 a doctor discovered the tanning properties of DHA. DHA is the only approved agent for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for artificial tanning—external use only. According to the FDA tanning pills pose many risks, thus they are not FDA approved. Similarly, Melanotan, an illegal synthetic hormone injection that tans skin, can have serious side effects, possibly including death.

Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA, recently wrote an article for the Skin Cancer Foundation where she states, “There is no clear evidence that DHA is harmful to humans if applied topically and used as directed. Concern about DHA arose recently when a study correlated use of highly concentrated amounts of DHA with production of free radicals, molecules that form naturally in the body due to oxygen use and can damage cells. However, concentrations used in sunless tanning preparations are considered non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.” Self tanners typically contain between 3 and 5 percent DHA.

If you’re going to use self-tanning spray or visit a spray tan booth, it’s recommended not to inhale or get into the mucus membranes as the long-term health effects for inhalation are not yet determined. When the FDA originally approved DHA for external use back in 1977, it was popular in tanning lotions. Now that is comes in spray form, toxicologists are concerned and urge consumers to use with caution.

Self tanners do not provide any protection from the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Remember to apply and reapply as directed. If you’re spending the day outdoors, opt for sun protective clothing, sun hats and UV sunglasses as well.

If you decide to try self tanning, follow these tips from American Academy of Dermatology for proper application:

1. Exfoliate. Using an exfoliating product or wash cloth will help remove dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating where your skin is thickest — elbows, knees and ankles.

2. Dry your skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.

3. Apply in sections. Apply the self-tanner in sections (such as the arms, then legs, followed by the torso). Massage the self-tanner into your skin in a circular motion.

4. Wash your hands after each section. You will avoid orange-colored palms by washing your hands with soap and water after you finish applying the self-tanner to each section of your body.

5. Blend at your wrists and ankles. For a natural look, you need to lightly extend the tanner from your wrists to your hands and from your ankles to your feet.

6. Dilute over your joints. Lightly rub with a damp towel or apply a thin layer of lotion on top of the self-tanner.

7. Give your skin time to dry. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. For the next three hours, it is best to wear loose clothing and try to avoid sweating.

8. Apply sunscreen every day.

The safest color is still “natural” skin color. If tanning is a must, take all facts into consideration and remember the safer route – self tanners, not UV tanners (A.K.A. tanning beds).

Resources:

1. National Toxicology Program: DHA
2. SCF: Ask the Experts: Are Self Tanners Safe?
3. FDA: Tanning Pill
4. FDA: Tanning Injection Warning Letter
5. Huffington Post: Did Tanning Injections Lead to Bolton Woman’s Death?
6. ABC.com: Are ‘Spray-On’ Tans Safe? Experts Raise Questions as Industry Puts Out Warnings
7. AAD: How to apply self-tanner

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.

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Expert Rx

Skin Cancer in Skin of Color

Only people with light colored skin can get skin cancer—right? The truth is that anyone of any ethnic background is susceptible to all types of skin cancer including melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is in fact more common in Caucasians. When caught early and treated soon after, skin cancer is almost always curable. However, it’s more likely to be fatal in people of color because it’s usually detected at later stages.

Dermatologist Dr. Charles Crutchfield III, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in ethnic skin, is also concerned that people of color oftentimes believe they’re protected from skin cancer and that if a cancerous lesion develops, it’s not as recognizable.  “Skin hue can affect the way lesions look,” Crutchfield says. “Things that appear red in white skin often look completely different in skin of color.” In the past, teachers generally demonstrated skin cancer cases on fair-skinned people, making it more challenging for physicians to recognize suspicious moles on darker skin.

People with darker skin tones do have more “natural” protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Cells in the outermost layer of skin called melanocytes produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin and eyes their color. This pigmentation helps protect the skin against the sun’s ultraviolet rays that can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. “In African American skin, melanin provides a sun protection factor (SPF) approximately equivalent to 13.4, compared to 3.4 in white skin,” states the SCF.

“Pigmentation doesn’t give you a free pass,” says Crutchfield. “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, anyone can get skin cancer.” Crutchfield also notes that even though pigmentation does offer some sun protection, that using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and broad-spectrum coverage is recommended for everyone. “I also recommend sun protective clothing and sun hats with a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) as it’s more effective and easier to use than sunscreen alone,” says Crutchfield. Crutchfield, along with other skin cancer prevention organizations, hope that ethnic groups will soon pick-up the message and start protecting themselves from the sun.

Resources:

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/skin-cancer-and-skin-of-color

http://www.crutchfielddermatology.com/treatments/ethnicskin/SkinCareforPeopleofcolor.asp

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/05/29/race.skin.cancer/index.html?iref=allsearch

Photo courtesy of Dr. Crutchfield

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Apply Sunscreen Sunscreens and Lotions

Learn what to look for when buying sunscreen

Choosing a sunscreen can be a daunting task, but it’s important to know how to choose reliable sun protection.

Jeff Bedard began his career in dermatology in 1984 and has spent the last 28 years developing and marketing some of the most innovative skin care solutions in the world. He’s the current CEO of Crown Laborieties, Inc., manufacturer of Blue Lizard sunscreen. Jeff answers common questions about Blue Lizard and sunscreen in general.

The FDA is telling sunscreen manufacturers to change their labels. Does Blue Lizard already meet the FDA’s new requirements for December 2012? What are these new requirements? 
Blue Lizard is making only minor modifications to its current labels to be fully compliant.  The biggest changes you will see on other labels is the removal of terms like “waterproof, sweatproof, all-day protection” along with the removal of the term “broad spectrum” protection unless the product has a critical wave length greater than 370 nm.  Some other changes you will see are the alphabetical listing of inactive ingredients and additional warnings on the label.

How do your products rate on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) safety data base?
Since EWG has started rating sunscreens, we have always been listed in the top 10 sunscreens, available in the U.S.  We have continued to innovate and formulate products that meet the highest safety standards, while providing the best protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Why don’t you carry anything higher than an SPF 30?
The reality is, if applied properly, an SPF 30+ sunscreen is all anyone needs.  While higher SPF products provide slightly better protection (less than 1% in most cases), the trade-off is a formula with large amounts of chemical absorbers needed to reach levels of SPF 50 or greater.  In most cases, this trade-off is not worth the benefit. Those ingredients, at those concentrations, can lead to allergic reactions and also negatively impact the cosmetic feel of the product. In the near future Crown Laboratories, Inc. will be introducing a higher SPF line that focuses on the active segment but without the pitfalls discussed above.

How do I know that the sunscreen is offering UVA protection as well as UVB? 
Currently there are only three ingredients approved by the FDA that cover past the 370 nm baseline, needed to provide true broad-spectrum protection.  Those are Avobenzone, Mexoryl and Zinc Oxide. If you want true broad spectrum protection, look for those active ingredients in your sunscreen of choice.  In reality, however, make sure to ask if the product has been tested and has passed the UVA test showing coverage past 370 nm. Blue Lizard has and covers past 370 nm.

Most sunscreen burns my face, so I have to use fragrance free sensitive skin types on my arms & chest but cannot find a brand that does not burn sensitive facial skin. Any tips? 
You are in luck, Blue Lizard Face is an oil free formula designed specifically for daily use on the face, neck and hands.  It is formulated with Zinc Oxide and Octinoxate to provide SPF 30+ protection. It also contains three powerful antioxidants: Green Tea, Caffeine and Vitamin E.  Hyaluronic Acid is also included in the Blue Lizard Face formula, which is a powerful humectant, keeping your skin moisturized.  More importantly, is what Blue Lizard Face does not contain. It is paraben free, fragrance free and oil free. Used daily your face will see remarkable improvement in the fight against the signs of aging.

Is there a way to reduce the white residue some zinc based sunscreens leave behind? It can be especially bad when I’m running outside and I start to sweat. 
Always apply sunscreen to dry skin prior to activity. If possible, massage the sunscreen into the skin and let the product absorb into the skin for at least 20 minutes prior to activity. When reapplying make sure the skin is dry and you have stopped perspiring prior to reapplication.

Are your products safe to use on babies/toddlers?
Our products are safe and effective for children above the age of 6 months. For children under 6 months you should always ask your physician.

Do your sunscreens contain nano-particles? If so, is this a concern?
Nano-particles seem to be a hot button of late. There is no credible scientific evidence that should raise a concern regarding these particles. Blue Lizard uses micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These particles are coated to allow even dispersion on the skin, which provides superior protection without the white residue.

What are the most effective sunscreen components/things to look for in a sunscreen? 
The best sunscreens are those that provide a physical barrier from the sun while also staying on the skin during activity. Look for sunscreens that have passed UVA testing and that are free of ingredients that can cause allergic reactions.

Do your products use chemical sunscreen filters or only physical? 
Our Sensitive and Baby formulas are physical protection only (Zinc and Titanium), while the Regular, Sport and Face are a combination of physical and chemical absorbers.

What makes Blue Lizard different from other sunscreen? 
Blue Lizard has stayed true to its heritage by providing Australian grade sun protection. Australia’s standards of water resistance and UVA protection lead the world. Blue Lizard uses patented active minerals to provide the best natural reflective protection available. We also test our products for 240 minutes in whirlpooled water to ensure they stay on during activity.

Blue Lizard was a joint venture between Premium Pharmaceuticals (Sydney, Australia) and Crown Laboratories, Inc. (Johnson City, TN) that began in 1998.  The company set out to change the way people, at risk of skin cancer, protected their skin from harmful UV exposure.  All of the research, development and manufacturing is now done in Crown’s 180,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in TN.

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Blue Lizard Sunscreen
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