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Avoid UV & Seek Shade Parenting SunAWARE

Should Teens Tan? California Says No.

Should teens be able to decide whether or not to use tanning beds? According to Aim at Melanoma Foundation, using a tanning bed before the age of 20 doubles a person’s risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Even more staggering is that 28 million individuals in the U.S. use tanning beds each year despite the statistics, which includes 2.3 million teens.

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making California the first state to prohibit minors from using tanning beds. The only exception is if a minor obtains written consent from a medical professional that they’re tanning due to a medical condition. This law will go into effect on January 1, 2012. Multiple health organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) are praising the governor for taking action.

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, placed tanning beds in its Class 1 carcinogen category.  Cigarettes, plutonium and ultraviolet radiation from the sun are in the same category. Just like the law protects minors from the negative health effects of cigarettes, this new law in California is a way to protect teens from the negative health effects of using tanning beds. Dermatologist Ann F. Haas, MD, FAAD, past president of the California Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery says, “Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for the last 30 years, with the most rapid increases occurring among young, white women, 3 percent per year since 1992 in those ages 15 to 39. We pushed for this legislation in the hopes of stemming that rise and encouraging other states to follow California’s lead and prohibit the use of tanning devices by minors to reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the U.S.”

Prior to the ban, the state allowed those between 14 and 17 years of age to use tanning beds with parental consent. Thirty-one other states have similar laws restricting minors from using tanning beds without parental consent. The remaining 18 states have no restrictions. This is frightening not only because teens who tan put their health at risk, but also because adolescents choosing to tan are still developing their decision making skills and may make bad or uneducated decisions that will affect their quality of life down the road.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), “based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to: act on impulse or engage in dangerous or risky behavior. Adolescents are also less likely to: think before they act, pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions and modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors.”

“These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong”, states an article on the AACAP website.  “It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.”

On top of the cognitive development argument, there is a lack of awareness on the dangers of tanning. “Many parents may not be aware that melanoma is the most common skin cancer in children, followed by basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas,” Dr. Thomas Rohrer, Secretary of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Many tanning salons tout that tanning beds are safer than outdoor tanning as they use UVA rays or that it’s good to get a base tan before vacationing in warm regions.  These claims are false. UVA rays (aging rays) are not safer than UVB rays (burning) rays and numerous studies have proven this. Additionally, getting a base tan before a sunny vacation is equivalent to the sun protection of a SPF 3 or less, and the AAD suggests using SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen and sun protective clothing for adequate sun protection.

Based on this information, would you be comfortable having your teen use a tanning bed? For every parent residing outside of the state of California, that’s for you, or your teen, to decide.

Michigan news broadcast with dermatologist insights on tanning beds.

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE Videos

Brain Studies Show Tanning Could Be Addictive

Human Brain

Have you ever wondered why your loved one can’t get enough of the tanning bed?  They are, after all, very health conscious, they don’t smoke, they exercise and eat an organic diet.  Why then would they continue to use tanning beds knowing the potential risks?  Science can shed some new light on the subject.

According to a recent study, tanning beds may have people “hooked” for more than cosmetic reasons.  With risks such as premature aging, skin cancer or even death associated with tanning beds, the scientific community has long thought that tanning could possibly be addictive. Now, new research provides evidence to back-up this theory.

Dr. Bryon Adinoff, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas South Medical Center and leader of the tanning addiction study featured in journal Addiction Biology, says the brain is responding to UV light. It’s triggering the areas that are linked with reward. The same areas that activate when someone takes a drag off a cigarette or eats a sweet treat.

To reach this conclusion, Dr. Adinoff and his team assembled a group of frequent tanning bed users and monitored their brain activity during tanning bed use. The users were split into two groups: group one used beds with real UV rays; and group two, without being told, used tanning beds with fake UV light. The results were clear. The subjects in the real UV tanning beds showed brain activity in the reward and addiction areas.

So now, just like in the 80’s, we can repeat the slogan “Just Say No.”

Just Say No – To Tanning!

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Events SunAWARE

First International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention

The incidence and prevention of skin cancers has become a global concern.  The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that prolonged human exposure to solar UV radiation may result in acute and chronic health effects of the skin, eyes  and immune system, including skin cancer.   This global epidemic has prompted the first International Conference on UV and Skin Cancer Prevention, jointly sponsored by the WHO, the Danish Cancer Society, TrygFonden and the Cancer Council Victoria.

The meeting of the best and brightest in skin cancer prevention took place in Copenhagen, Denmark May 3-5, 2011.  The main objective of the conference was to create an active international community working in the field of skin cancer prevention.  After three days of sessions and workshops, characterized by engaging presentations and relevant discussion, a list of outcomes was established.  A summary of those conference outcomes are listed below.

A comprehensive approach to skin cancer prevention needed.

Communicating sun safety using a multifaceted approach incorporating media channels and initiatives targeting schools and workplaces has been seen to successfully influence behaviour and attitudes. Funding is vital for results.

Vitamin D and sun protection can be combined.

The conclusion was that sun protection and vitamin D are not contradictory and protecting against the sun does not lead to vitamin D deficiency. People should not overexpose themselves to the sun or use sunbeds to increase vitamin D levels.

Sun protection is relevant for everyone.

It is never too late to protect yourself against sunburn and over exposure to the sun. Sunburn and UV exposure both in adulthood and childhood increase the risk of skin cancer. This makes sun protection, such as seeking shade, covering up or wearing sun screen on exposed skin, necessary for everyone, regardless of age.

Tanning beds are harmful.

The message on use of sunbeds was clear: They are harmful and are not recommended as a source of vitamin D. The intense UV exposure from sunbeds has already made the WHO advise against their use for people under 35 years old. Many countries have banned sunbeds for young people under 18 years old while Brazil has even banned their use for everyone regardless of age.

Governments need to prioritize skin cancer prevention.

Governments should give skin cancer prevention the same priority as other health issues such as fighting obesity and increasing exercise levels in the population. Prevention initiatives have been shown to achieve results and cost significantly less than the cost of skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Enjoy the sun but take care during recreational activities.

People living in Northern countries can continue to enjoy the sun as part of their daily lives but should take care to avoid overexposure during their leisure and recreational activities.

This collaboration is a monumental step in the fight against skin cancer.   By working together globally, we can share our collective knowledge and resources for the most effective methods of skin cancer prevention.  All of us at Coolibar are  looking forward to the next conference in 2013 taking place in Berlin Germany.

Patron of the conference HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave her support to the conference by taking on the official role as patron and by speaking at the closing event.  She is involved in a campaign to raise awareness and sun safe practices among Danes about skin cancer through The Danish Cancer Society.

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

This Spring Break, Take a Break from Tanning

Spring Break Panama City Beach, FL

Each year high school and college students around the U.S. take off for sunny destinations around the world to celebrate Spring Break. While these vacations can be a necessary escape from the stress of school, they also spur an increase of unnecessary tanning bed use among teens and young adults trying to obtain a ‘base’ tan prior to their departure.

There are numerous myths created by the tanning industry regarding the supposed benefits of tanning. Last year, the American Academy of Dermatology released results from a survey they conducted to determine if people can separate sun protection facts from myths. One question in the survey asked respondents if it was a fact or myth that getting a base tan is a healthy way to protect skin from sun damage. Only 48 percent of respondents knew the statement was false.  A base tan offers the equivalent of an SPF 4 or less, so very little to no protection. The fact is that a tan is a sign of damage to the skin from UV radiation. Every time a person tans, the skin becomes damaged and this damage accumulates over time, which accelerates the skin aging process and increases a person’s risk for skin cancer.

The damage caused by the UV radiation emitted by the sun and tanning beds is often irreversible. Premature skin aging caused by UV exposure includes fine wrinkles, deep grooves, blotchiness, sagging and a leathery texture in the skin. Some of these changes may appear as early as the age of 20 in anyone who has spent a great deal of time exposing their skin to UV radiation during childhood and teen years.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, has undeniably linked tanning bed use among young people to skin cancer including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. They found the link between youthful tanning bed use and melanoma was “prominent and consistent”— a 75 percent increase in risk of melanoma among those who first used tanning beds in their twenties or teen years. The study also found no positive health effects of using a tanning booth, contradicting what tanning salons have used as a selling point.

So, would you like some alternatives to getting a base tan for sun protection during your Spring Break? If you still desire a tan look, get a spray tan or use a self-tanning lotion or spray. But remember that using these methods to create a tan look does not mean you’re immune from sun damage. You should still apply a SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen for UV protection. Otherwise, wear sun protective clothing if you don’t want to worry about reapplying sunscreen frequently. 

Our recommended sun protection beach packing list:

– Broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to cover exposed skin

Lip balm with SPF

– Wide brim hat (at least three-inches) to protect the head and neck

– UV-blocking sunglasses to protect the eyes

Swim cover up for extra coverage when desired

Beach umbrella to help you seek the shade

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

New Year’s Resolution – No Tanning Beds!

People are making their 2011 New Year’s resolutions. For many, forming healthy habits is a high priority, including more physical activity, healthy eating or quitting smoking. This year, consider adding this one to your list – Resolve to Make 2011 the year of No Tanning Beds. By avoiding tanning beds, you decrease your risk for skin cancer, maintain a healthy, younger looking complexion and save money. It’s like four resolutions rolled into one. 

Decrease Your Risk of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a global epidemic with 90 percent of all cases caused by sun exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It is also the most common type of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimated that 1 million new cases of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer were diagnosed in 2009, and 8,650 deaths were attributed to melanoma. For those who use tanning beds, the risk of forming melanoma increases by 74 percent compared to those who never frequent tanning salons, claims a report in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. And for those who spend more than 50 hours under those indoor UV rays, the risk triples. Even more troubling, the newer high-pressure tanning beds (that mostly emit UVA rays) can increase the risk to four times.

Maintain a Healthy, Younger Looking Complexion Longer

Ultraviolet radiation may cause irreversible changes in the skin including fine wrinkles, deep grooves, blotchiness, sagging and a leathery texture. Some of these changes may appear as early as the age of 20 in anyone who has spent a great deal of time in the sun during childhood and teen years. Artificial tanning can cause any or all of these unwanted cosmetic effects and contribute to premature aging of the skin.

Save Your Money

The tanning industry generates more than $5 billion in annual revenues each year despite the warning that tanning beds are dangerous, according the American Cancer Society. If you frequent tanning salons, a chunk of that revenue came from you! In addition, with the new 10% tax on tanning beds, artificial tanning is becoming an increasingly expensive habit.

The use of tanning beds can create undesirable long term effects. The benefits of avoiding them can be significant – and it’s never too late to break a bad habit!  Join us in saying “No” to tanning beds. 

Avoiding tanning beds is the first step toward a healthy, SunAWARE New Year!

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SunAWARE

Winter Sun Protection Mythbusters

Ski tracks in snow

This winter, as you head outside for your favorite winter activities or start planning a sunny vacation getaway, keep these common winter sun protection myths in mind. 

Myth #1 – I don’t need sun protection in the winter. 

FALSE. The intensity of UV rays varies with the changing seasons and is strongest during the summer months. However, indirect or reflected rays add to the amount of UV exposure received. These rays “bounce” from surfaces such as snow, sand, water, concrete and buildings and can still cause burns—especially during winter activities like skiing. 

Myth #2 – I need to tan to ensure healthy amounts of Vitamin D. 

FALSE. Tanning is not necessary to achieve vitamin D requirements. Studies show that a few minutes of exposure to the sun, two or three times a week is sufficient. Vitamin D supplements are available and as always, speak to a doctor if you are concerned. 

Myth #3 – Getting a “base tan” before heading out on a sunny winter vacation, will minimize the risk of sunburn or sun damage. 

FALSE. All tans are damage to the skin. What is called a “base” tan would equal an SPF of about 2, which is so low it is counterproductive. You may prevent burning, but you have increased your chances of getting skin cancer. 

Myth #4 – You can’t get sunburn on a cloudy winter day. 

FALSE. Cloud cover reduces UV radiation levels, but not completely. Even on a winter day with full cloud cover, exposed skin can burn. 

Myth #5 – SPF ratings measure sun protective clothing. 

FALSE. UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) is the correct rating for clothing. UPF is a similar concept to SPF for sunscreens. UPF is the ratio of how much UV radiation passes through a fabric. If a garment isn’t UPF rated, then it isn’t guaranteed sun protection. 

Make a healthy habit of using sunblock, sun protective clothing and sunglasses all year long. Be Safe. Be SunAWARE. 

Family sledding
Family sledding
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Expert Rx SunAWARE Videos

Vitamin D and Sunshine (Video)

Dermatologist Dr. Jaime Davis
Uptown Dermatology
Minneapolis, MN

Hi, this is Dr. Davis for Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing.

I just wanted to touch on the topic of Vitamin D and Sunshine.  And while we all agree that we need adequate amounts of Vitamin D the American Academy of Dermatology holds the position that Ultraviolet light is not the safest way to get your Vitamin D

It’s preferred to do that through dietary intake – fish such as salmon or even tuna, even vitamin D supplementation in a vitamin pill is a lot safer for you than getting it through your skin.   In the old days when it was recommended that we get a little natural sunlight, the thing is there weren’t as good of variety of dietary sources and now there are.

So, vitamin D is something you can get adequately through your diet, still use your sunscreen and remain sun safe and SunAWARE!

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. 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, are natural sources of vitamin D
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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

New Evidence Supports Theory Tanning Beds are Addictive

Tanning Bed

Are you still using tanning beds?  Are you addicted?  Our friends at SunAWARE have uncovered additional evidence that tanning beds have addictive qualities.  “Repeat tanners may exhibit addictive behaviors similar to those exhibited by people addicted to substances such as alcohol.”  

via New Evidence Supports Theory Tanning Beds are Addictive.  

Be SunAWARE.  Be Safe.  Don’t use tanning beds. 

SunAWARE Logo
SunAWARE Logo
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Expert Rx Videos

Is there a Safe Tan? (Video)

Dermatologist Dr. Jaime Davis 
Uptown Dermatology 
Minneapolis, MN
 

Today we’re going to talk about safe tanning, and the first thing to know is that There is No Safe Tanning!  Tanning is your skin’s mechanism for protecting itself from unsafe ultraviolet light.  Now, this varies depending on what you were genetically gifted with in terms of skin tone.  So, darker skin tones are going to be able to tolerate a little more light.  Really pale skin doesn’t have that melanin safety net to put up, so the lighter your skin the more you have to head this advice. 

No Tanning Beds – that’s the bottom line, there is no safe tanning bed, there is no measured dose.  It’s kind of analogous to saying, how many times can I not wear my seatbelt before it’s dangerous?   How many times can I go tanning before its dangerous?  It depends on a lot of things and I would say there is no safe amount to not wear your seat belt or to go tanning.

A couple of other things I wanted to address also is this Myth of Getting a Base Tan before Vacation.  The recommendation is really just Bring your Sunscreen on Vacation and Use It.  You really want to prevent sunburns and you know, frankly, you are going to get a nice little color through your sunscreen, even if it is a spf 30.  Embrace the healthy look of your natural skin color.  You do not need to enhance it with a tan…and if you want to, there are plenty of great options for self tanners.  We have spray booths, you can go in and get a tan sprayed on you and it’s all proven safe over time.  I would much rather see people use tanning creams or tanning spray booths than tanning beds in terms of safety.  I hear the concern a lot, but are those creams safe?  Way safer than natural ultraviolet light, that’s for sure.  The other advantage to avoiding ultraviolet light for tanning is your skin will thank you in many ways, besides reducing your risk for skin cancer your skin looks younger longer because healthy skin is better looking skin – no doubt about it!

 Keep in mind – Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!

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