All this month we’ve been reminding people that African Americans (and others with naturally dark skin) can get skin cancer, too. And, as African American History Month concludes, we at Coolibar would like to ensure that the flow of information about cancer and skin of color does not.
Skin cancer – particularly melanoma – has been shown to be much deadlier to African Americans than for Caucasians. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that 52 percent of non-Hispanic black patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced stage melanoma, compared to 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.
There are several reasons for this, including that squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the most common skin cancer in African Americans, tends to be more aggressive and can carry up to a 40% chance of spreading.
But many of us also still believe that African American skin, with its higher melanin content, is just highly resistant to developing cancer caused by the sun. African Americans simply tend to seek treatment much later because skin cancer isn’t top of mind.
In fact, typical African American skin protects at the equivalent of a 13.4 SPF sunscreen. (SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and it mostly measures UVB radiation that causes darkening or burning on the surface of the skin). UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, measures UVB and UVA radiation. UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and is, by far, the most prevalent of the sun’s radiation.
Effective sun protection starts at UPF 30, and should ideally be UPF 50 or higher.
There is more to be repeated, remembered and learned; for example, the Skin Cancer Foundation has some excellent facts about ethnicity and the dangers of the sun.
African American History Month may come to an end. But the effort to defeat skin cancer continues year round!
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, if only to imagine what it’s like to slide down an ice-covered slope at 80-plus miles per hour on purpose. If you’ve been watching too, you likely saw something unexpected: temperatures topped 17 degrees C. in Sochi (that would be more than 60 degrees here at Coolibar headquarters near Minneapolis, MN, which hasn’t happened in a while). This is the Winter Olympics?
Especially as we look at these photos from February 12 in the Mail Online, we’re reminded once again how important it is to protect ourselves from the sun year round. In fact, sun protection is much easier to overlook during winter, when exposure tends to be more intermittent. UVA and UVB rays are always a danger for unprotected skin regardless of the temperature or time of year.
One of our heroes, Julia Mancuso – a US Olympic alpine skier who won a bronze medal February 10 in the Ladies Super Combined, which is an official name for “flying down an icy slope at 80 mph”– is already on top of it. Aware of the dangers, especially at higher altitudes with the sun reflecting off of snow, she shares her story and her tips for staying sun safe with the American Academy of Dermatology.
While sitting in the sun sure looks more fun than, say, missing a gate in the Olympic downhill, let’s remember to take care of ourselves. Here are our SunAWARE tips, good all year round:
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin in less than a month. While the events are cold weather related – bobsled, hockey, ice skating and skiing to name a few – the athletes remind us of the importance of sun protection year round, no matter where you live. US Olympic skier Julia Mancuso is a US favorite (gold medalist and Minnesota native Lindsay Vonn is staying home due to injuries). Julia is out skiing every day to train. And although the temperatures may be low, UV rays are still damaging – especially at higher altitudes, such as in Sochi where the alpine ski courses start more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Julie gives her tips on sun protection before hitting the slopes.
Apply sunscreen at least fifteen minutes before going outside
Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen to protect against both UVA (aging rays) and UVB (burning rays)
Reapply sunscreen every few hours; keep a small bottle of sunscreen with you
Don’t forget to protect your eyes!
Wear a hat or helmet
Along with UPF 50+ sun protective hats, 100% UV protective sunglasses and SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen, we recommend the Coolibar Sun Gaiter for added face and neck coverage.
We wish Julia and the other athletes great success at the Olympics. Whether you’re going outside to cross-country ski, or taking your dog for a walk, or if you happen to be going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi (jealous!), remember: it’s always important to protect your skin from the sun!
As a Coolibar sun protective clothing fan, you can not only feel good about protecting your skin, but protecting a bit of the earth as well.
Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing Earthly Deeds:
1) For every sun protective clothing garment you wear versus sunscreen alone, you’re reducing the amount of sunscreen you use along with packaging waste. For more information read: Sun Protective Clothing vs. Sunscreen
2) Quality sun protective clothing like Coolibar’s lasts for years — we mean it! The sun protection doesn’t wash or wear out, and lasts for the life of the garment. If you have one child that outgrows the UPF clothing, you can pass it down to the next! For more information read: The Coolibar Guarantee
3) Coolibar has incorporated biodegradable garment bags and mailing envelopes into outgoing packages. (More on this to come later in the week!)
4) Coolibar recognizes the importance of using sunscreen on exposed skin (face, hands, feet, etc.). That’s why we carry sunscreen brands such as Raw Elements, chemical free zinc oxide sunscreen.
From Raw Elements Sunscreen: According to a study released in January 2008, four common chemical sunscreen agents may be at least partly responsible for increased coral bleaching worldwide. Cinnimate, benzophenone, parabens (artificial preservatives) and camphor derivatives were found to activate viruses in the algae. Not only are these chemicals infecting the reef, they are also disrupting the surrounding ecosystem as well. Algae being the primary energy source for coral reefs, once infected and depleted, the coral bleaches and dies. An estimated four to six thousand pounds of chemical sunscreen wash off swimmers each year and ten percent of the world’s coral reefs are destroyed. Environmental groups and environmentally conscious scuba and snorkel resorts around the world suggest using biodegradable zinc oxide-based sunscreens when entering fragile ecosystems such as oceans, lakes and ponds. Using a chemical free sunscreen with an active ingredient of Zinc Oxide is s a conscientious alternative to damaging sunscreens that consist chemical UV absorbers, synthetic preservatives or other harsh chemicals.
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.
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.
Way up high in the sky your skin goes to battle with re-circulated dry air and an extra dose of sunlight. These elements leave skin near lifeless by the time you land. Never fear! We have suggestions to save your skin (all 3.4 oz or less of course).
Airplanes have low-humidity. Drinking water and avoiding alcoholic beverages can help retain moisture, but it only goes so far. Additionally, daytime flyers are exposed to UVA – aging rays (all glass will filter UVB (burning) rays). An airplane’s proximity to the sun intensifies UVA exposure. The American Optometric Association estimates a 4% increase in UV radiation with every 1000 feet of elevation, and most commercial aircrafts fly between 30,000 to 40,000 feet above ground. Holly extra UVA!
Step off the plane looking and feeling great by keeping these simple tips and products in mind:
Your number one skin saver should be sunscreen. Not only are most sunscreens moisturizing, but they’ll help prevent skin from absorbing aging rays!
Your lips have some of the thinnest skin on your body. Because lips do not contain oil glands, they tend to dry out easily and become chapped. Additionally, the sun only causes chapped lips to worsen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher.
Spritzing will help your skin stay moist temporarily, but it’s not a necessity. Future Derm beauty blogger Nicki Zevola and guest blogger Jana Levin have two varying opinions on when to use hydrating mist. 1) Before take-off lightly spray the mist on your face and apply sunscreen over top; or 2) when arriving at your final destination remove all makeup and sunscreen, give your skin a spritz and then reapply 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.
Last summer (June 17th, 2011) the FDA published a final rule regarding labeling and effectiveness testing for over-the-counter sunscreen products, marketed without an approved application. The final rule and compliance guidelines (listed below) are fast approaching and go into effect on Monday, June 18, 2012, which is only 8 weeks away.
Consumers need to be aware that there is some lag time between the effective date of the new guidelines and what is available at your local pharmacy or sunscreen retailer. The FDA does not expect non-compliant products delivered or introduced prior to June 18, 2012, to be removed from the market. Therefore, product delivered to customers, even if they are in the manufacturers’ warehouse prior to the effective date, can continue to be shipped and sold. For products with annual sales of less than $25,000, the compliance date is extended to June 17, 2013.
Sunscreen in combination with other measures, including sun protective clothing can help prevent skin cancer and early skin aging. The new requirements are intended to assist consumers in making informed purchasing decisions and to avoid overvaluing the radiation protection provided by certain sunscreen products. For the greatest protection from your sunscreen, look for the following:
Broad Spectrum – indicates protection from UVA
Minimum of SPF 15 – indicates protection from UVB the sunburn causing rays (SPF does not give any indication of UVA protection).
The final rule includes the following requirements:
Water resistance claims on the principal display panel must specify either 40 or 80 minutes of effectiveness while swimming or sweating, based on testing. “Waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and “sunblock” claims are not permitted.
Claims that the product, in combination with other sun protection measure, reduces the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging are permitted only for broad spectrum products with SPF 15 and higher, and those concepts may also be reflected in the “Use” sections of these products’ Drug Facts boxes. Non-broad spectrum products and product with SPF values below 15 can only claim to prevent sunburn and must include a skin cancer/skin aging warning.
All sunscreen products, including all cosmetic products making an SPF claim, must include the standard Drug Facts information. The only exception to his requirement under the final rule is the standard “small package” reduced labeling permitted by the Drug Facts rule.
Colorescience founder, Diane Ranger, also founder of Bare Escentuals in 1976, invented mineral makeup in 1977. Later she proceeded to create powder sunscreen in 2004. Colorescience Pro is the 21st Century version of mineral cosmetics stressing that each ingredient in each formula has skin care benefits. Every product is formulated to offer sun care and sun protection. Only the highest quality ingredients are used and products are formulated in high percentages with research to support efficacy.
The creator of the mineral makeup concept and the Founder of Colorescience Pro Diane Ranger talks with Coolibar about her innovative high SPF mineral makeup collection and how to keep your skin looking better than ever.
People often question if makeup can really offer sun protection. What provides the sun protection in Colorescience makeup? Micronized Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. These are physical sunscreens that work on the surface of the skin to refract and reflect the light away from the skin. Traditional sunscreens work by turning light energy into heat energy, which is why most sunscreens make the skin feel hot and sticky. Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen, Foundations and Primers all offer sun protection that is easy, elegant and effective. Colorescience Pro has the Skin Cancer Seal of approval. Stringent testing is required to receive this seal.
What makes Colorescience different than other makeup brands on the market with SPF? Colorescience Pro uses only physical sunscreens and never uses chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the body and generate heat. This exacerbates skin conditions like rosacea, pigmentation or acne. Colorescience Pro uses Zinc Oxide, which is a category one diaper rash treatment, to calm the skin conditions. Titanium dioxide is excited by light and creates an anti-microbial on the surface of the skin. Both of these ingredients will calm the skin and give great sun protection on the surface of the skin!
What skin types does Colorescience makeup work well on? All skin types, ages and genders.
How do you apply the powder for best results? We are very proud of our self dispensing brush because it makes reapplication so easy. You don’t even need a mirror to reapply throughout the day. We like to say that we have taken the mess out of minerals. It is important to cover the skin surface thoroughly (it still looks and feels weightless), and then continue to reapply and add to the protection as the day unfolds. The minerals are stable and will not break down on the skin the way chemical sunscreens do.
How do you apply the “setting mist” before or after the powder? Is the “setting mist” necessary? Just spitz the setting mist after each application or any time you want to “give your skin a drink”. As we should drink eight glasses of water for our body each day, our skin loves to be hydrated as well. The mist adds a boost to the mineral product, making the minerals even more transfer resistant. The mineral sunscreen work very well independent of the setting mist. The setting mist is a bonus to add an even more beautiful glow to the skin.
Is Colorescience makeup water resistant? Colorescience Pro Sunscreen products are rated “Very Water Resistant”. This is the highest rating awarded to sunscreens. To see just how effective the minerals are, you can go to Colorescience.com and see the “Water Test”. It is a truly amazing demonstration.
How often does it need to be applied to provide sun protection? The FDA requires reapplication of all sunscreen products every 90 minutes. There are many different factors each person should take into consideration when spending time in the sun. What is your skin type on the Fitzpatrick scale? Are you in high or low altitudes? Are you in the water or on the snow? Are you on medication? What time of day will you be in the sun? Understanding and respecting the sun are important to optimum health as the sun can be a wonderful thing if we are responsible.
Summer is the perfect time for the pool, playgrounds and sun-filled activities. Fortunately, with good sun habits, children can enjoy sunny days outside without risking their health. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma later in life. And unfortunately, 54 percent of children burn or tan in their second summer, and 22 percent burn in their first, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Board certified Pediatric Dermatologist Dr. Manju George specializes in personalized care for infants, children and young adults. She understands that kids have unique dermatologic requirement because “children are not just small adults.” Dr. George offers advice on how to keep your kiddies protected from the sun’s rays by knowing what to look for in sunscreen, how to use it, and how to add fun to habits so that your kids will enjoy sunscreen time.
Dr. George’s Sunscreen Tips
1. LOOK AT THE LABEL. A lot of parents assume, well, the higher the SPF, it must be better. What you really want to look for is the ingredients in your sunscreen. What I recommend is zinc oxide or titanium dioxide [These are physical sunscreen ingredients.] Choose an SPF of 30 that’s labeled broad spectrum. That means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
2. AVOID SPRAY ON SUNSCREENS. The major drawback of an aerosol sunscreen is that it could get into the eyes or inhaled by a child, and we really don’t have the long-term data on those effects.
3. USE GENEROUS AMOUNTS ALMOST EVERYWHERE. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is number one: not applying enough sunscreen. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house, no matter what the weather. Even on a cloudy day, you still get 80 percent UV exposure. Start with the neck down, make sure you cover thick and evenly on all areas of the body, not forgetting the ears, backs of the hands, crease of the neck, underarms, between the fingers, underneath the bathing suit. After you’ve covered those major areas, you should do the face last.
4. REMEMBER THE LIPS AND SCALP. The lips need protection as well. Another tip that I give parents is to put it in his or her part line. But one of the best ways to protect scalps is to actually purchase a hat.
5. MAKE APPLYING SUNSCREEN FUN! I like to call it your magic cream or magic lotion. Children like making it special. Don’t make it a chore. One mom actually told me she uses a paintbrush and has the child paint the sunscreen on themselves. Another thing that children really like to do, is they like to apply it on you, so let them apply it on Mom or Dad. They tend to be much more receptive when you do things together and you make it a fun activity for them.
Parents, it’s up to you to keep your little ones protected from the sun, so keep Dr. George’s advice in mind during outdoor playtime. To best protect your child from the sun, cover them with a hat, pants and long sleeve shirt, apply sunscreen every two hours or after sweating or swimming and limit time outside when the sun is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Have fun making fun with sunscreen!
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.