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Pretty for Prom? Tanning Isn’t Part of the Routine Anymore

Pretty Prom - Coolibar

It’s prom season again, which means thousands of teens – girls and boys – flock to their local indoor tanning salons in search of a healthy glow for the big night out. But before they do, the Skin Cancer Foundation has some information for you about tanning for the prom.

Teens tend to be concerned about young-looking skin, and the SCF points out that 90% of changes to the skin that most people associate with aging are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Tanning leads to wrinkles, spots and an aged look early in life; they can start to appear even before the indoor tanner turns 30.

This doesn’t even touch on the dangers of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. Here are just a few, from SunAWARE:

  • Exposure to tanning beds before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
  • More than one million people visit tanning salons every day. Of these, approximately 71% are girls and young women aged 16-29.
  • Young women, under the age of 39, have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls aged 10-19.

What Can You Do Instead?

Through its Go With Your Own GlowTM campaign, the Skin Cancer Foundation promotes skipping the tan altogether – the best look for the prom, or any other time, is your own natural skin color. In case the allure of tan skin is still too great from prom-goers, the foundation also suggests sunless, or UV-free, tanners.

And, if you or someone you know is planning on bronzing up for prom courtesy of an indoor tanning booth, Coolibar has a book for you. Pretty Prom – Your Skin is Pretty Too by Mary Mills Barrow and Maryellen Maguire-Eisen provides a short, convincing account of what’s at stake in exchange for looking tan on prom night.

Coolibar offers Pretty Prom courtesy of SunAWARE. Stay safe, and Stay SunAware!

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Routinely Check Skin Wellness Warriors

A Love Story From the Road to Healthy Skin Tour

On its sixth year, the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Road to Healthy Skin Tour continues to travel across the country providing free skin checks to the public. This mobile tour kicks off in the New York City area in May for Skin Cancer Awareness Month and concludes end of August on the West Coast.  Since the tours inception, volunteer dermatologist have performed over 16,000 skin checks, detected nearly 7,000 suspected cancers and precancers and 295 possible melanomas. Tour Event Managers Christie Farhat and Chris Alvarez have traveled with the Tour for five years and four years respectively.  Together, they are making a difference in the fight against skin cancer.

In 2009, Christie was in Miami for a screening event and was having difficulty finding parking for the Tour RV. A gentleman, who was a hotel manager where she was staying, stepped forward to help her out. It was Chris and they’ve been together ever since! Chris joined the Tour team the next season and the two of them have been making a difference together around the country year after year.

This year, Christie and Chris wore Coolibar UPF 50+ clothing for their nation-wide tour. Having to set up each of the 50 events around the country themselves, durability is important. Comfort is also a priority since they drive long distances often. “Christie and Chris like Coolibar fabrics, find they wash well and are very easy to wear,” said Whitney Potter, Director of Special Projects at the SCF. Christie’s favorite item is the lightweight Water Jacket and Chris loves the Plaid Shirts! “They’ve both received a lot of compliments on their attire — mainly from the volunteer dermatologists who recognize the brand and appreciate its protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays,” said Potter. In the spirit of skin cancer prevention, “covering up” with Coolibar is key for Christie and Chris since they spend a lot of time outside in the summer sun during the Tour season.

For more information on the Road to Healthy Skin Tour, visit www.SkinCancer.org/Tour

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Sun Protection Clothing

Sun Protective Clothing – Your Best Defense Against the Sun

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention (NCSCP) has updated their advice on skin cancer prevention, and “Wear Protective Clothing” has been listed before “Generously Apply Sunscreen.”  The National Coucil is comprised of members from all leading skin cancer prevention organizations.  The Skin Cancer Foundation, a member of the NCSCP, says, “Clothing is the single most effective form of sun protection. It is our first line of defense against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.” However, not all clothing provides adequate sun protection.  Look for a UPF 50+ rating, which is the highest rating available for clothing and blocks 98% UVA and UVB rays.

Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s rundown on sun protective clothing and learn how to choose apparel that will ensure your skin is safe in the sun.

The Skin Cancer Foundation on Sun Protective Clothing

What a UPF Rating Really Means

UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly, because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through.

What’s the Difference between UPF and SPF?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is the rating you’re familiar with for sunscreens and other sun-protective products. It measures the amount of time it takes for sun-exposed skin to redden, while UPF measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin.

Which Fabrics are Best?

As a rule, light-colored, lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun. That white T-shirt you slip on at the beach when you feel your skin burning provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 7. At the other end of the spectrum, a long-sleeved dark denim shirt offers an estimated UPF of 1,700 – which amounts to a complete sun block. In general, clothing made of tightly-woven fabric best protects skin from the sun. The easiest way to test if a fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate it – and your skin.

The color of the fabric also plays a role. Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter at blocking out the sun. For instance, the UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 versus 7 for white cotton, and a thicker fabric such as velvet in black, blue or dark green has an approximate UPF of 50.

Fabric Content and the Wearer’s Activity Make a Difference

What the clothing is made of matters. Fabrics such as unbleached cotton contain special pigments called lignins that act as UV absorbers. High-luster polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation.

Even if the piece of clothing has a good UPF, what you do while wearing it can make a difference. If the fabric gets stretched, it will lose some of its protective ability, because the fabric becomes thinner and more transparent to light. And once it gets wet, it can lose up to 50 percent of its UPF. In Florida, it is a common practice for parents to put a white T-shirt on their children to protect them from the sun while swimming. But when that T-shirt gets wet, it provides a UPF of only 3.

Consider High-Tech Clothing

When selecting clothes for sun protection, consider fabrics that have been specially treated with chemical UV absorbers, known as colorless dyes. These prevent some penetration of both UVB and UVA rays. A number of manufacturers are now making special sun-protective clothing that has been treated with a chemical sunblock during the manufacturing process. In addition, they use fabrics of the weave and colors that provide protection best. The garments are designed to cover as much of the skin as possible.

New standards for sun-protective fabrics in the US were unveiled in January, 2001. UPF is similar to SPF, in that they both measure protection.

Only clothes with a UPF of 15-50+ may be labeled as sun-protective. Clothes that are marketed with a sun-protective claim are usually UPF 50+. Also, like regular clothing, sun-protective clothing may lose its effectiveness if pulled too tight or stretched out, if it becomes damp or wet, or if it is washed and worn repeatedly.

Reference: Skin Cancer Foundation website. http://www.skincancer.org/sun-protective-clothing.html 

Coolibar is the authority in sun protection. With years of advanced testing and innovative sun-blocking technologies, we make the highest quality sun protective fabrics available. Shop Coolibar or visit the Coolibar Facebook Page to have a sun protection expert answer your questions about sun protective clothing.

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