If you’re one of the 7.5 million Americans living with psoriasis—the most common autoimmune disease in the country—summer can be a blessing and a challenge. Psoriasis often improves with warm weather, but many people with psoriasis are also self-conscious about showing their skin.
While symptoms of psoriasis may improve due to extra sunlight and increased humidity, it’s important to make sure psoriasis doesn’t flare. Here are some tips from the National Psoriasis Foundation to help keep your skin healthy.
Limited sun exposure
Sunlight can be beneficial for psoriasis. As with any treatment regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor as they can recommend the appropriate amount of sunlight. They can also caution you about how the sunlight may affect your current psoriasis treatments. Some medications may be inactivated by sunlight, while others may make you more susceptible to sunburns and side effects.
In addition to skin cancer risk, sunburn can worsen existing psoriasis or cause new plaques, known as the Koebner effect. Avoid overexposure and wear sunscreen on areas without psoriasis. Experts suggest starting with just a few minutes of sun at a time and gradually increasing exposure if your skin tolerates it. Look for water and sweat-resistant, fragrance-free sunscreens and wear sun-protective clothing when outdoors for longer periods of time. Read more about sunlight and psoriasis.
Beware of bug bites
Bug bites and poison oak/ivy can also trigger psoriasis. To protect from bug bites, cuts and scrapes that could worsen psoriasis, apply an insect repellent with little or no DEET. Covering up can help, too. Loose, cotton clothing is best to avoid skin irritation from sweating or itchy fibers.
For many psoriasis patients, salt water and swimming pools can soften skin and plaques. Chlorine can dry out skin, so be sure to shower immediately after swimming with chlorine-removing shampoos and soaps. Apply moisturizer to damp skin to lock in moisture, and try thick creams and ointments, which are more hydrating than lotions. Be careful with hot water and long soaks in hot tubs as they can increase itching and irritation.
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.
Fifteen minutes of sun exposure does more than sunburn fair skin, it ages skin too. The good news is with daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, people can prevent photo-aging.
Even though dermatologists currently recommend daily sunscreen use to patients for wrinkle, age spot and skin cancer prevention, a new Australia based study in “Annals of Internal Medicine” provides the most extensive evidence of sunscreen’s anti-aging effectiveness to-date.
900 Caucasian participants in Australia under age 55 were randomly split into two groups. Group one was instructed to apply sunscreen to their head, neck, arms and hands every morning, after a few hours of outdoor sun exposure or after being in water or sweating. Group two was told to use sunscreen at their leisure.
Two-thirds of all participants had small skin samples taken from the back of their hands at the beginning of the study. Four-and-a-half years later, researchers once again excised a skin sample from the same participants, but the results of the study turned out to be more visible than expected. Those who applied sunscreen daily displayed younger looking skin than those who used sunscreen at their discretion.
Aussies are already known for their diligent sun protection habits but not necessarily motivated by anti-aging efforts. Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer of any country in the world. Almost two out of three Australians will be treated for some form of skin cancer during their lifetime and melanoma is more commonly diagnosed than lung cancer. Factors contributing to Australia’s skin cancer rates include the generally light skinned population, the active outdoor lifestyle, depleted ozone layer and the country’s proximity to the equator. According to the “NY Times”, most participants, regardless of which group they were assigned, were using sunscreen at least some of the time, and two-thirds wore sun hats.
It’s never too late to start using sunscreen. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor reported on the “Today Show”, “Even if you’re 55 you can still roll back the clock two or three years”.
Choosing the right sunscreen is essential for the protection to be effective. In the study, participants used broad-spectrum sunscreen, which blocks both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays, and sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Reapplication throughout the day was also essential.
During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Coolibar invites skin cancer survivors to share their stories with us in their own words. Hope, determination and drive to educate others play a major role in these individuals’ lives. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone. Prevention and early detection can be life saving! We hope you share these stories with your friends, family and colleagues. Be SunAWARE this month and all year long. Read Capt. Harry’s story below.
I am fifty years old and run a saltwater charter fishing business out of O’Neill’s Marina in St. Pete, Florida. I had always spent a lot of time on the water, but not like this. In 2005, I started going to the dermatologist two times a year. In March of 2012, the dermatologist told me to keep an eye on a spot in the upper middle of my back, not to worry about it, but just watch it. This spot was in a place that I could barely see, even with two mirrors. I made the mistake of forgetting to tell my wife what the doctor said about keeping an eye on that spot.
While on a vacation in October, my wife noticed that spot on my back and said it did not look right. I went to the dermatologist in early November and the doctor said it was great that my wife noticed the spot. It did not look right to him and a biopsy was done.
I was on a fishing charter just off St. Pete beach when the doctor’s office called and told me that I had a Clark Level 3 Melanoma and to schedule an appointment with Moffitt Cancer Center. I didn’t know what to think. I was scared, angry, nervous and just wanted to get off the boat. As much as I tried not to let my clients know what that phone call was about, I’m sure they noticed a change in my attitude. I was so mad and angry that I told my wife that evening, “I don’t want to tell anyone about this, that it was my business, and it stays between us.”
We were reading everything we could about Melanoma and Clark Level 3 diagnosis. All this information was making the both of us more anxious, nervous, scared, angry and upset. Knowing and keeping this a secret was not the right thing to do. After a week or so, we agreed to tell two of her brothers that live close to us and my dad, and at some point my brother and sister who live in other states.
After Thanksgiving, we met with our team at Moffitt Cancer Center, and they told us what the procedure would be and scheduled the surgery for December 13th. While in a tree stand hunting one morning, I finally came to grips with what was going on and decided it was fine to talk about it, and totally changed my attitude. It took me three weeks to get to that point, but the anger was gone. I was still anxious and nervous, but not mad and angry.
After sitting in that tree for three hours, I got down and took a walk through the woods. I came upon a guy who was spraying invasive plant species to get rid of them. We talked for four hours and while talking he tells me that his wife went through breast cancer and Moffitt Cancer Center helped her beat it. She was cancer free and doing great. After about three hours, I told him I had just come to grips with my diagnosis, and I told him about it. He asked if it was alright with me if I would join him in a prayer for me. I told him it can’t hurt, so we prayed. It really was something that I ran into this man just after coming to grips with my situation.
I went in for the surgery on the 13th, and the first step was to inject a dye around the biopsy area to determine where and if the cancer had gone to any lymph nodes. The dye showed that it had gone to one lymph node in my left armpit and three in my right armpit. The surgery went well and they removed one under my left arm and three under my right. They also removed a large area around the biopsy. They scheduled my follow-up visit for December 31st. It was going to be an anxious two and a half weeks waiting for the lab results. After about ten days, my wife said let’s call and get the lab results. This was an anxious call but a great one. The nurse told me that all the lymph nodes came back negative and all of the area around the biopsy was also negative. Hallelujah! Christmas was so much better.
Words to the wise:
I had never heard of Coolibar before having to research melanoma and UPF clothing. Living and boating in Florida, you are going to be in the sun. I think, like myself, a lot of people have never heard of Coolibar. I spend over 200 days on the water, and clients as well as others in my industry, pay attention to what others are wearing. Regular cotton tee shirts just will not hold up, so people need to see others wearing sun protective apparel. Lead by example.
May has been declared Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the Centers for Disease Control. They remind us to increase awareness of the importance of the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. Each year, approximately 2 million persons in the United States are diagnosed with non melanoma skin cancers. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a history of sunburn are preventable risk factors. With a little pre-planning it is easy to be sun safe all season long, and we’ve gathered a few ideas to help get you started.
1. Be SunAWARE and Be Safe! Use the easy to remember SunAWARE acronym to help keep in mind all the steps needed for sun safety. Remember it, use it and share it!
2. Get a Free Skin Cancer Screening atthe Road to Healthy Skin Tour. The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Road to Healthy Skin Tour will make its way across the U.S. The mobile Tour kicks off in New York City in May for Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Check the Tour Schedule to see if it’s visiting your community. If you go, say hi to the Tour event managers, Chris and Christie, protected by Coolibar Sunwear.
3. SPOT Orange™ on Melanoma Monday. The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday and asks you to SPOT Orange™ to raise awareness of skin cancer. Visit the Academy’s website to find free screenings in your neighborhood.
Coolibar proudly supports the AAD’s SPOT Orange™ Skin Cancer Initiative and you can too. We donate $10 for every Coolibar UPF 50+ SPOT™ Tee sold.
5. CelebrateDon’t Fry Day. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention declares the Friday before Memorial Day (May 24, 2013) as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many tips as possible.
Do you have other suggestions? Share how you plan to make May and the rest of your summer sun safe. ‘Leave a reply’ below or visit our Facebook page.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jaime Davis, M.D., F.A.A.D. of Uptown Dermatology in Minneapolis talks dermatologic care for your skin at every age.
Skin cancer is a concern across all ages and is being seen more and more in younger people, especially among those who have ever used tanning beds.
Excessive ultraviolet light exposure, natural or artificial, not only increases skin cancer risk, but also prematurely ages the skin. It does so by breaking down the skin’s collagen and elastin causing wrinkling.
Ultraviolet light also stimulates pigment production (tanning), which is the skin’s way of trying to protect its deeper layers from the damaging effects of UV rays (burning). This pigment can often be blotchy and irregular.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see that many skin conditions typically thought of as “age related” are actually “sun damage” related. And while sun damage typically increases with age, giving some truth to the idea that blotchy, wrinkled skin is ‘old’ skin, sun protected skin will stay younger looking even into old age. Proof; take a peek at the sun protected skin of the buttocks and compare this to the face or forearms. The skin is the same age, but has had vastly different sun exposure. Hence the sun exposed skin seems “aged” in comparison.
Now let’s look at some conditions that can affect your skin over the years. Be sure to visit a Board Certified Dermatologist if you have concerns about any of the following;
20s – 30s
Melasma: This blotchy brown spots on upper lip, cheeks, and forehead is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy” due to hormonal influences on pigment production. This can happen during pregnancy or while on birth control pills. Sun protection is an essential part of treatment which can also include skin lightening agents such as topical hydroquinone and retinoid creams. For stubborn melasma, laser treatments can be helpful in addition to topical medications.
Acne Rosacea: Best known as “adult acne” this can involve breakouts and facial flushing in response to triggers such as sun exposure, overheating, spicy foods, red wine, and stress. Daily sun protection helps minimize redness as does recognizing and minimizing triggers. Your doctor has several treatment options if these initial steps are not enough to stop the breakouts and flushing.
40s – 50s
Fine lines & Wrinkles: Ultraviolet light slowly breaks down collagen and elastin fibers and reduces the skin’s elasticity. Sun protection is key to preventing this, but use of topical vitamin C, peptides and retinoids can be helpful. Resurfacing treatments such as chemical peels or fractional laser peels are also effective.
Expression Lines: Over the years expression lines can become etched into the skin by the repeated movements of facial muscles. These are easily remedied by injecting small amounts of purified botulinum toxin protein to soften the pull of the muscles. Chronic sun damage tends to exaggerate these expression lines due to the loss of the sun damaged skin’s elasticity.
60s – 70s
Brown Spots: Freckles & spotty discoloration of the skin are caused by long term sun exposure. These are sometimes called ‘liver spots’ due to their brown color. Sunscreen is the best prevention, but treatments similar to those mentioned for Melasma can be very helpful.
Dryness: The hormonal changes during and after menopause can result in reduced facial oil production and dryness of the skin. Cream based moisturizers rather than lotions are most helpful.
Facial Volume Loss: Over time, the apples of the cheeks can lose their roundness, especially in slender women. The sunken facial appearance can be corrected with injections of volumizing fillers, such as Sculptra or Radiesse. These fillers stimulate collagen production under the skin restoring a natural fullness.
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.
Bloggers, are you ready to start Getting Gorgeous? We are and we’re thrilled to be a part of Getting Gorgeous 2013!
Because you’re in the know, the Tanning is Out concept is probably not new to you, but here’s why we incessantly talk about it. Sun protection is important for healthy & radiant skin because excessive UV light exposure, natural or artificial, not only increases skin cancer risk, but also prematurely ages skin. Need a visual? Check out this pin. Your best defense is to cover-up and #PracticeSafeSun.
Our Getting Gorgeous UPF 50+ gift to you is the Beach Sun Hat, yours free and included in your goodie bag. This best selling sun hat has a reinforced 7” brim for superior face and neck coverage and is crushable for travel.
You say you want more UPF 50+ coverage from Coolibar? You got it!
3. Snap a photo of yourself being SunAWARE with Coolibar – in your hat, at our Getting Gorgeous Booth, perhaps pose with Elvis…
4. Share your photo, tag @Coolibar and use hashtag #GettingGorgeous. Tell your friends and followers about Getting Gorgous and Coolibar Sun Protection You Wear.
That’s it. Our winner will be drawn at random on Tuesday, April 30th.
Can’t wait to Get Gorgeous with you!
*Winner will be drawn at random on April 30, 2013. Entries accepted until 4/30/13 noon CST. No purchase necessary. To enter you must be an attendee of the Getting Gorgeous 2013 blogger event. Prize is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Cannot be used toward third-party merchandise such as sun shelters and sunglasses. One entry per person. Rules subject to change at the discretion of Coolibar, Inc.
Going to the nail salon seems like a harmless act; however, dermatologists are concerned that the newest nail trend, gel manicures, and the UV machines used during the process may contribute to skin cancer and hand aging.
The process of a gel manicure includes placing your hands in a machine that emits UVA for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. UVA rays are proven to contribute to skin aging and skin cancer. According to a segment that aired this morning on the Today Show, most customers receive a gel manicure twice a month on average. In the short-term gel manicures prevent nails from splitting and look great. In the long run, dermatologists say regular customers may be looking at aged hands and possible skin cancers down the road unless customers take skin protection measures.
Here are a few precautions you can take before heading to the salon to protect your hands and skin as much as possible:
1. Wear UV protective gloves: Wearing UPF 50+ fingerless gloves can protect your hands from over-exposure to UV light. Regular cotton gloves may still allow UV to reach the skin. If you opt to make your own fingerless gloves without UV protective material, use sunscreen underneath.
2. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to exposed fingertips: Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Have the nail artist apply sunscreen to your hands instead of lotion. Bring along a tube of sunscreen that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Both ingredients provide physical UV protection that blocks UV instantly, unlike chemical sunscreens that are absorbed by the skin and can take up to 30 minutes to protect.
3. Routinely check skin for changes around and under your nail beds: Skin cancer is preventable in many cases, and when caught early, it is highly treatable. If you spot something unusual, seek advice from a dermatologist.
Watch “Nail safety: Do’s and don’ts of gel manicures”.
Coolibar Athlete Sara Snyder recently returned from a six month 2,663 mile trek from Mexico to Canada via the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through 24 National Forests, seven National Parks, five California State Parks, five Bureau of Land Management Resource Areas as well as other public and private lands. Sara shares her thoughts throughout her long hike.
Photo left: PCT trailhead at the start of Kennedy Meadows
By Sara Snyder:
A lot of people may wonder why I would choose to wake up each morning for five and a half months straight in the middle of nowhere to begin the daily routine of hiking a marathon. I can understand that curiosity, as my first few days on the Pacific Crest Trail had me asking the same sort of question.
Believe me, a lot went wrong in the beginning, from delays to running out of food and water, carrying too much weight, changing my daily miles to avoid certain folk, losing maps, broken tent poles, ripped shoes, to several physical ailments.
Everything that could go wrong, pretty much went wrong whenever it had the opportunity. The freedom I was craving so badly seemed guarded by a brigade of cactus spikes, ungodly traps and woes I had to fight for the prize. (Merely blessings in disguise, I’d always come to find out later), but at times, it would all become overwhelming. I had thought about postponing the adventure a year, and even quitting when things got really out of control, but I’d always come back to the same decision… to push through all the obstacles and fulfill my dream to hike from border to border.
There were a lot of odd moments where I sensed the universe actually wouldn’t allow me to quit, even if I wanted to. No matter how difficult things became, someone, or something would get me through the struggle.
Everything would always work out in the end and seemingly occur for a reason, no matter how crazy. Other days it felt like I’d be given the choice to leave, as if I were being tested, but I was never silly enough to do it. I knew in those times of uncertainty that there was just too much I’d regret and miss out on, so I’d continue north – the right choice of course. The only choice that made sense.
Quickly, the entire spectrum of trail life for me, to put it mildly, became addicting, just as I thought it would with a little bit of patience, hard work, and trust. At the start, I think I was more in love with the dream than the doing, but warm ups never seem to give the full impression. This I always knew. Then one day, finally conquering the monotonous desert, it all hit me. I was in fact actually doing this…and doing a pretty good job. I was impressed with myself, and began to fall hard in love with the reality, who I was turning into, as well as oddly, the taste of dirt. This is what I wanted, and this is what I got, and I was going to embrace every second of it, bad or good. It was all good now. Perfect in fact. The Sierras and Cascades were awaiting my arrival, and I was eagerly getting myself to them. I felt stronger and more confident than ever before, and even more so with every day that passed.
Each day was a new adventure filled with mystery and excitement, where expecting the unexpected became natural law. Some cold misty mornings I’d awake with the brief thought that the day would just be another routine day on the trail. Possibly nothing special, but I was proven wrong each and every time I would dare to think such a thing. From the scenery to the people, weather, wildlife and town hitches, every day was unique, challenging and memorable.
Upon reaching the Canadian border in a snowy white blur I was able to say that I never exactly doubted my capabilities; however, it definitely took a few mountain passes to rough me into great shape physically.
This journey was not only a physical endurance test, but involved a complete mental and spiritual transformation of my entire being. It had me humbled and in awe, most of the time having to rely on the kindness of strangers, which was for me, a deeply unfamiliar and beautiful experience in itself. I have stories engraved in my memory that I couldn’t even begin to ask anyone to believe if I tried my hardest. In a good way, it has completely changed my life and my character forever.
I think there are those who like to look at pictures or videos of other people doing amazing things and get lost in their stories. For whatever reason, some of these same people seem to think that they can’t ever be the person creating their own story / becoming the story. This is upsetting to me. Dreamers who make excuses as to why they think they can’t actually live should know that those who do choose to live see their dreams as the best reason to wake up each and every morning. Dreams exist for a reason. We all have them. The choice to fulfill them is personal, and what keeps me fueled. I choose to fulfill mine, because we only have so much time in the physical world. Why waste the opportunity?
You’d be amazed by what you have been missing out on.
Did you know Coolibar was the first sun protective clothing company to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s (SCF) seal of recommendation? That’s right, the first! Founded by dermatologist, Perry Robins, the SCF is an independent non-profit organization, focused on promoting the dangers of sun exposure, as well as the importance of prevention.
The SCF states, “To earn the Seal of Recommendation, a manufacturer must provide scientific data showing that its product sufficiently and safely aids in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin.” The scientific data is reviewed by a committee of notable Photo Biologists- experts on the damaging effects of UV exposure.
Coolibar carries the traditional seal of recommendation, which is used for all sun protection products. To receive the seal, products have to pass a number of tests including, having a UPF rating of 30 or higher, meeting acceptable test results according to the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists method and our hats must have a brim width of at least three inches.
So, why is the seal of recommendation imperative to Coolibar? Currently, the FDA does not regulate sun protective clothing. In addition to testing performed at independent laboratories, the seal of recommendation is Coolibar’s way of providing customers with peace of mind, knowing that products are guaranteed to block 98% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays. We provide quality sun protection, it’s all we do. While wearing our sun protective products, you can go ahead and enjoy your vacation with your family, or play tennis all day.
Is the SCF seal of recommendation something you look for, before you purchase your sun protective products?
Minnesota’s skin cancer rates are going up, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota is not the only state seeing more skin cancer cases. Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says the national incidence of melanoma has been on the rise since the mid 70s. Officials are urging the public to avoid the sun all year long and stay out of tanning beds.
The department says melanoma rates rose 35 percent for men and 38 percent for women between 2005 and 2009 in Minnesota. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of melanoma isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning beds increase a person’s risk of developing melanoma. Adversely, limiting UV exposure can help reduce a person’s chances of getting melanoma.
More on Minnesota’s Rising Melanoma Rates and Melanoma: