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What the Heck is a Rash Guard?

what is a rash guard cover image

You’ve probably noticed the athletic-style shirts on people at the beach or pool and wondered what it’s for. So what is a rash guard? Its purpose is so much more than just a functional piece of clothing to wear around water and protect you from the sun.

You might be wondering why it is called a rash guard in the first place. Rash guards are shirts that were originally developed for surfers who experienced irritation to the skin from sand and residue on their surfboards. They continue to be a popular choice for surfers and lifeguards due to their comfort and high performance.  

Explore our wide selection of sun protection products to help keep you and your family safe while enjoying the outdoors.

What Are Rash Guards For?

Rash guards are no longer just for surfers. They are a versatile piece of clothing for all family members, whether boating, swimming, or just hanging out in the sand and sun. Below are three top benefits they provide.

  • Rash Protection: no need to worry about chafing and rashes, as the tight-fitting rash guard is an extra layer of protection for your skin
  • Sun Protection: they offer coverage from the sun, so your skin will be protected from harmful UV rays
  • Breathability: they are made with a combination of fabrics, providing comfort, breathability, and ease of movement

Best Rash Guard for Every Person In Your Life

Rash guards are versatile pieces of clothing for any outdoor occasion. Maybe you love to snorkel or just enjoy spending time on the beach reading a book. Whatever activities you prefer, extra protection and comfort will keep you and your family looking and feeling your best.

Best Rash Guard for Women

Rash guards provide fierce protection and functionality. They make a wonderful gift, and with a range of beautiful colors and prints, you really can’t go wrong! Read about free diver Ashleigh Baird’s review of our Coolibar Quick Zip Rash Guard, and see more of our women’s rash guard styles below.

Best Rash Guard for Men

Whether you are a water sports fanatic or just spend a lot of time outdoors, rash guards are the best outdoor clothing choice for men. They are perfect for long days outside spent working on the lawn or leisure activities like playing a round of golf.

The sporty designs feature high performance in cooling and sweating-wicking properties. We offer a variety of colors and styles for men. Here are some of our favorites:

Best Rash Guard for Kids

Rash guards are especially great for kids because of the sun coverage and protection. There is no need to worry about keeping their entire bodies lathered up with sunscreen when they’re in and out of the water.

A long sleeve guard reduces exposed skin to the elements. Your children will also love the range of bright colors and prints. Shop some of our top kids’ styles at the links below.

When Should Rash Guards Be Worn?

Since the purpose of rash guards is so varied, there is really no limit to when one should be worn. Their protection from sun, sand, and rashes makes them an excellent addition to any beach day. Some activities that are especially great for wearing this protective layer are:

  • Water Sports: they are perfect for wearing out on the water for activities like water skiing, tubing, surfing, and wakeboarding. Not only will you be protected from sun damage and skin irritation, but you will be protecting yourself from skin irritation while staying sun safe.
  • Beach Sports: long days on the sand playing beach volleyball or other beach sports can wreak havoc on your skin. Be prepared by wearing a beach rash guard to defend against damaging UV rays and irritation from the sand. Their sweat-wicking properties make them the ideal gear for all beach sports.
  • Other Sports: if you spend extended amounts of time doing other outdoor sports like running, golfing, or biking, rash guards may be a solution you might not have considered. Their sun protection and sweat-wicking properties will keep you safe and comfortable.
  • Yard Work: this is another excellent solution for anyone who does a lot of outdoor work. Even just regularly mowing the lawn can cause damage to your skin. Getting in the habit of wearing your rash guard for doing work outside can significantly impact your overall skin health.

Other Common Questions Around Rash Guards

Before we dive into the best rash guards for everyone in the family, let’s tackle some common questions that come up.

Does a rash guard protect you from the sun?

Getting a sunburn at the beach is never fun, but there are plenty of ways to prevent sunburn. Rash guard clothing from Coolibar provides a physical barrier from the sun and comes with the added benefit of having UPF protection built into the fabric. At Coolibar, our world-leading fabric offers the highest level of UPF protection and is guaranteed to block 98% of UVA and UVB rays.

Are rash guard shirts hot?

Unlike wetsuits, rash guards are not meant to keep your body warm. They are not as thick as wetsuits, so they do not trap body heat as well. They actually can have a cooling effect on the body because of their material and how tight they lay on your skin.

What are rash guard shirts made of?

Since the purpose of rash guard shirts is to prevent rashes and protect you from the sun, they are generally made of athletic fabrics like polyester, nylon, lycra, and spandex. These materials are soft, durable, and lightweight while allowing for breathability and stretch to maximize your comfort.

What do you wear with a rash guard?

What to wear with a rash guard is most often a matter of personal preference. However, since they’re generally worn during outdoor activities, we recommend pairing it with other UPF clothing items to ensure maximum sun protection, such as:

Explore Rash Guards And Sun Protection Clothing From Coolibar

Long gone are the days when rash guards were only worn by surfers, and for good reason! They keep your skin healthy and protected from the sun’s harmful rays so you can make the most of your time outdoors.

Check out our blog for more helpful sun protection tips, and read about some of our favorite styles for spring!

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Live Wisely

SPF 30 vs 50: Which One Is Better For Your Skin?

At Coolibar, we know that the amount of sun protection options on the market can be overwhelming and leave you with a lot of questions like if SPF 30 vs. 50 is better for your skin.  

Whether you love spending all your free time outside at the beach or you just venture out for the occasional picnic or hike, sun protection is essential. UVA and UVB sun rays can damage your skin, causing sunburns and wrinkles, and increasing your risk of cancer. That’s why understanding the difference between SPF 30 and 50 is necessary to properly protect yourself from damaging sun exposure.

Learn more about how to safely enjoy your time outdoors with our 10 tips for sun protection. It covers how to apply sunscreen correctly and alternative sun protection options to ensure you and your loved ones are always shielded from the sun’s damaging rays. 

What is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. The SPF rating number tells us how much of the sun’s harmful rays will reach our skin while using the sunscreen according to the directions. The higher the SPF rating, the more UV sun rays are blocked. So, the most straightforward answer to whether there is a difference between SPF 30 and 50 is yes!

But what are UV rays exactly? UV stands for ultraviolet. UV rays are invisible beams of light from the sun that can damage our skin. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.

  • UVA rays from the sun do not cause sunburns, but they can cause wrinkling and other skin-aging effects. While some sunscreens protect against UVA rays, the SPF rating does not measure this.
  • UVB rays are those pesky ones that burn our skin and can lead to cancer. All SPF sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but check your sunscreen to make sure it says “broad spectrum.” This means it protects against the aging effects of UVA rays as well.

Remember that UV rays can damage your skin even on cloudy days, so no matter what SPF rating you choose, make sure to lather up any time you are going to head outside! Also, according to sunscreen expert Kirk Minster, the specific ingredients in your sunscreen matter, so make sure to do your research when choosing the best sunscreen for your skin. 

What’s the Difference Between SPF 30 and SPF 50?

In the debate between SPF 50 vs. 30, it’s vital to understand what these ratings mean. Since we know that higher SPF ratings indicate more protection, SPF 50 protection is going to be stronger than SPF 30. But let’s dive more into each of these ratings.

SPF 30

So what is SPF 30, and why is SPF 30 good? SPF 30 sunscreen only allows 1/30 of the sun’s UVB rays to penetrate your skin. That means it blocks about 96.7% of those harmful rays. To ensure this level of protection, make sure to follow all directions on the sunscreen label, including reapplying at least every two hours.

  • Recommended protection: SPF 30 sunscreen meets the recommended SPF rating from the Skin Cancer Foundation. They recommend SPF 15 for everyday use and SPF 30 for those days where you are spending hours outside.
  • Reduced risk of cancer: Because UVB rays are the ones responsible for causing skin cancer, all SPF 30 sunscreens help protect you from this risk. 
  • Everyday protection: UVB rays can even penetrate through windows, so SPF 30 can provide everyday protection while driving or sitting at home. 
  • Who should wear it: Anyone who is outside for longer than 20 minutes a day, even on cloudy days, can benefit from wearing SPF 30 sunscreen.

SPF 50

SPF 50 sunscreen only allows 1/50 of the sun’s UVB rays through, blocking 98% of them. Answering the question of is SPF 30 or 50 better is really a personal decision. If you are still getting burned while using SPF 30 sunscreen according to the directions, then consider switching to a different SPF sunscreen with a higher rating.

  • More protection: SPF 50 blocks about 1.3% more harmful UVB rays than SPF 30.
  • Longer protection: SPF 50 sunscreens can protect your skin for longer, which means you have to reapply less often. Many SPF 50 sunscreens recommend reapplying every 150 minutes rather than the recommended 120 minutes for SPF 30. 
  • Protection at high elevation: The sun’s rays are stronger at higher elevations, so if you are going skiing or hiking in the mountains, consider SPF 50 or higher.
  • Who should wear it: Anyone with an increased risk of skin cancer, has prolonged sun exposure, or is outdoors at high elevations may benefit from SPF 50 sunscreen.

UPF is Also Important for Sun Protection

Now that the critical question, “What is the difference between SPF 30 and 50?” is answered, let’s look at another type of sun protection: UPF clothing. UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. It’s similar to SPF ratings in that it measures how much of the sun’s UV rays can penetrate through the clothing’s fabric to your skin. A shirt with a UPF 50 rating will only allow 1/50 of UV rays through.

The biggest difference between SPF and UPF is that UPF ratings measure both UVA and UVB rays while SPF ratings only measure UVB rays. This means you are potentially getting more sun protection from UPF clothing than you are from sunscreen. Even with broad-spectrum sunscreen, you may not know exactly how much UVA protection you are getting. Furthermore, sunscreens often contain harmful chemicals, while UPF clothing protects your skin without any dangerous additives.

Learn more about the benefits of UPF clothing versus sunscreen on our Respect the Sun blog.

Discover UPF Sun Protection Clothes and Accessories From Our Team at Coolibar

Sun protection is no longer simply a question of SPF 30 vs. 50. There are broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays, plus there are more quality UPF clothing on the market than ever before. We offer a variety of clothing with UPF sun protection, including wide-brimmed hats, sun sleeves, and breathable gloves. We’ve got you covered no matter how you like to spend your time in the sun, whether it be lounging at the beach or summiting a mountain!

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This is Brave

Be Brave: A Week of Gratitude


As a part of Melanoma Awareness Month, we’d love to hear and share your Coolibar gratitude throughout the month of May! Make sure to tag us on social media for a chance to get featured.

From: Michelle, Coolibar

“As a parent, I’m so grateful that I have learned how to keep my kids sun-safe. Before working at Coolibar I depended on sunscreen alone and spent so much time battling to reapply it. Now my kiddos see themselves as Coolibar sun protection ambassadors. They’re always wearing their UPF 50+ gear and are constantly asking me for ‘swag’ for their friends and their teachers. They’re 8 and 10, but already understand the importance of teaching other to be sun safe”

From: Kelsey, Coolibar

“As an avid golfer growing up, I used to only apply sunscreen at the beginning of every round but would always forget to reapply. I had no idea how bad that was for my skin. I’m truly grateful of the awareness and knowledge that working for Coolibar has given me. One of the great things about our UPF 50+ protection is that I don’t have to worry about reapplying it. I feel confident golfing and doing other outdoor activities when wearing Coolibar because I know that I’m sun-safe!”

From: Laurie, Warrior

“When I was first diagnosed with melanoma, I quietly rearranged my personal life to fit the sun’s schedule. I was afraid of the sun! Sun protective clothing has been a Godsend. I can get out and golf, ride bikes and enjoy the pool with my grandchildren. I’m finally learning to get back in the sun.”

From: Kani, A Sun-Safe Mom

“Living in Southern California as a busy mom, it’s very hard to shelter myself from the sun. I just want to say that Coolibar’s neck scarves are absolutely amazing! I have them in several colors and can’t wait to buy more!”

Our year-round mission is to protect the world from sun damage. During Melanoma Awareness Month, we show additional support to our community with our ‘Be Brave’ campaign! We are determined to change the one in five statistic of people developing skin cancer in their lifetime.

You can help support life-saving research, education and awareness by donating to the Melanoma Research Foundation

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Avoid UV & Seek Shade SunAWARE

Can You Get Sunburned Through a Window?

It’s no secret that exposure to the sun when outdoors for an extended period of time can cause damage to and sunburn your skin. But can you get sun damage through windows? The answer may surprise you. 

Practicing sun safety is essential for avoiding sunburn and minimizing your risk of developing wrinkles and, more seriously, skin cancer. There are many myths surrounding whether or not you can get sunburned through windows or if you can tan through a window. While it may feel like you are protected from the sun when behind windows indoors or in a car, this is not the whole story. 

Can You Get Sun Damage Through Windows?

The answer to this question comes down to whether or not UV light can go through glass. It depends on the type of glass the window is made of, and not all windows are the same when it comes to UV protection. Ultraviolet Rays are light waves from the sun and can reach us in sneaky ways. We need to worry about two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays, because they can reach the earth.

  • UVA Rays: longer wavelength rays that are less intense but penetrate deep into the skin and cause tanning. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and wrinkles due to the fact that they break down collagen fibers, which help with skin strength and elasticity. UVA rays can contribute to skin cancer.
  • UVB Rays: shorter wavelength rays that penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin. UVB rays are more intense and harmful to the skin’s DNA and are responsible for sunburn. This type of light ray also stimulates the body to produce vitamin D and is believed to cause a higher percentage of skin cancer.
Visual representation of the question can UV go through glass

Can You Get a Tan Through a Window?

Since ultraviolet rays do pass through glass, most commonly the UVA rays, there is a chance that you can get a suntan through a window. It will, of course, depend on the length of exposure, but since UVA rays are not blocked by most glass, you may get sun damage and a slight tan. However, it is not likely that you can get sunburned through a window due to the UVB protection present in most windows.

sun shining through a car window

Can You Get Sunburned Through a Car Window?

Do car windows block UV? Not all car windows are equally protective, and this is due to legal reasons. Your car’s windshield is required to offer more protection to prevent the glass from shattering in case of an accident. 

This extra protection also means better UV filtering. Your car’s windshield is treated against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, while the rest of your car’s windows only filter against UVB rays. 

As we know, UVA rays cause damage to your skin at a deeper level. Since your windshield only filters out UVA rays, you will still get UVA exposure from the other windows in your car. You might not get a sunburn in your car, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t getting skin damage. 

  • UV rays can go through car windows, but not all UV rays can
  • Your car’s windshield offers the best protection against UV rays (UVA and UVB)
  • UVA rays can still penetrate the other windows in your car, causing skin damage and aging
  • Since UVB rays are filtered by all car windows, it is unlikely that you can get burned through a car window

Sun Protective Solutions

While sun protection may not be at the top of your list when preparing for long road trips in the car, there are a few simple steps you can take to mitigate skin damage from the sun

  • UPF Clothing: arguably the easiest way to reduce skin damage is to wear UPF clothing daily 
  • UVA protective film: extra tints or films can be added to your car windows to block out those UVA ray
  • Sunscreen: incorporating a daily sunscreen into your routine can go a long way in preventing sun damage, especially those parts of your body that are most often exposed like your face, hands, and arms
sun through window shining on a woman reading

Can You Get Sunburned Through Other Windows? 

What about other windows – can you tan through a house window? Can you get sunburned through a window at home? Are you inadvertently getting sun exposure at work

We know that UV rays can go through glass, but it depends on the type of glass.

Standard construction windows in your home or office will offer good protection against UVB rays, so it’s unlikely that you will get sunburn through a window. Most windows do not offer protection against UVA rays, although if your windows are newer there’s a chance that the UVA protection is better. Solar window screens and treatments are a good option for cutting down harmful UV rays from the sun.

  • Windows at your home or office may block some, but not all of the sun’s UV rays. 
  • While it’s not likely that you’ll develop a sunburn through a window, you may still be getting sun damage from UVA rays.
  • Window screens or blinds can help reduce the UV rays getting through.

Sun Protective Solutions

It can seem nearly impossible to avoid sunburn and other types of skin damage from the sun, but a few quick adjustments you can make in your everyday life will significantly impact your overall skin health. 

  • UPF Clothing: the best barrier option for your skin to prevent damage and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day
  • Sunscreen: reduce UV exposure to your skin by wearing sunscreen daily
  • Sunglasses: wear polarized sunglasses year-round to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays

Learn More About Coolibar’s UPF 50+ Clothing

Even though there’s only a small chance that you can get a sunburn inside, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still getting sun damage. UVA rays that are most likely to get through your car windows or windows at home are linked to skin damage, aging, and even skin cancers. You may feel a sense of protection from that layer of glass in your car window, but the only way to ensure you are protected is to incorporate sunscreen and UPF clothing into your daily routine. 

Sun protection is serious business. At Coolibar, we stop at nothing to develop the most technical and elegant sun protection you wear. The world leader in UPF 50+ fabric technology. Discover more sun tips on our blog, and shop our latest UPF 50+ clothing.

Women’s UPF Clothing

Men’s UPF Clothing

Kids & Baby UPF Clothing

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Inside Coolibar

Top 10 Favorite Holiday Gifts by the Coolibar Team

The Holiday season is here, and you know what that means… trying to find the perfect gift. To get inspired for what you may want to get your loved ones, we caught up with some of the Team on what THEIR favorite products are here at Coolibar!

Anne – Chief Brand Officer

Favorite Activities: Weekend mornings sitting on the deck reading, Hiking, Nordic Skiing

Top Product Choice: Wyatt Bucket Hat

My go-to gift is hats because everyone needs a good one for sun protection and, in my opinion, you can never have too many! I like to gift bucket hats because they are easy to wear with anything and flatter most face shapes. Hats are generally easy to guess the right size too. My current favorite is the Wyatt bucket hat. It’s stylish without being trendy, packable and super lightweight. I personally have it in multiple prints. BTW, the Wyatt is technically a men’s hat, but there are quite a few of us women at Coolibar that don’t discriminate when it comes to hats. If the hat fits, we want it!

Kristen – Director of Brand

Favorite Activities: Traveling, Getting outside, enjoying the lakes and hanging with friends!

Top Product Choice: Maho Weekend Pants

I seriously live in these pants. They are an easy breezy throw on and I love the fit and, of course, the sun protection. They are perfect for chilling on the sofa or getting out for a walk. Having a dog that loves lake walks, it is great knowing that I am not only comfortable but protected by the sun, when I go out these. I know own several pairs and am gifting a pair to my sister for the holidays!

Monica – Ecommerce Manager

Favorite Activities: Gardening, Curating Cats, Extreme House-planting

Top Product Choice: Women’s Daybreak Swing Top

For me, the weekends are when I get stuff done. I don’t like to waste time thinking about what I am going to wear when I wake up in the morning – that’s what Monday through Friday is for. I have found that no matter what I end up doing, if I grab one of my Daybreak Swing Tops, I am set for the day. All I need to do is decide which color to wear (I have 5 … and 1 more pending.) I am on the taller side and like my tops more tunic-like. But the problem with some tunics is that they are boxy or shapeless and that does me no favors. This top being fitted at the chest makes me feel somewhat tailored (for a t-shirt) but it is forgiving in all the right places. It basically checks all my boxes and that is not easy to do.

Hayden – Social Media Manager

Favorite Activities: Golfing, Being on the lake with my friends, Traveling

Top Product Choice: Agility Performance Pullover

It seems like I constantly have plans 24/7 and honestly, sun protection sometimes becomes an afterthought. My solution? I legitimately own 4 of our Agility Performance Pullovers in different colors and will wear it for any and every occasion! From heading out to the course to meeting some friends at a brewery, you will find me with this top!

Leslie – Manager, Organizational Effectiveness

Favorite Activities: Fishing (lakes + deep sea), cycling, downhill skiing, and traveling.

Top Product Choice: Women’s Paros Sailing Tee + Men’s Andros Fishing Tee

My husband and I LOVE to fish in the MN summers and when winter comes along, we are off to somewhere warm to do some more fishing. We don’t leave the house without our Paros and Andros tee’s so we can enjoy the sun while on the boat for 8-12 hours at a time. These are our “go-to” shirts because the technical fabrics keep us cool and protect us from harmful UV rays, at the same time.

Mariah- Merchandising Specialist

Favorite Activities: Going to the lake, Exploring with my dogs, Anything outside

Top Product Choice: Tatum Convertible Explorer Hat

I LOVE being able to spend time outside, especially if my dogs are around! Which normally means I am going for long walks or spending hours by the lake watching them play! My Tatum Convertible Explorer Hat it is so easy to grab and go when running out of the house, plus it is convertible so I can adjust the amount of coverage I need throughout the day or depending on activity!

Denzell – Medical Professional Consultant

Favorite Activities: Running, building things, reading, working out and hanging with friends and family

Top Product: Erodym Long Sleeve Golf Polo

One of my favorite shirts in my closet is my Coolibar Erodym polo shirt. Whether I’m at work, headed to the course or hanging with friends, this is my go-to “no brainer” shirt. Because of its elegance and functionality, I don’t have to worry about fit, compromising comfort or performance, and I get to look good and feel protected.

Lacey – Lead, Merchant

Favorite Activities: Golfing, Traveling, Rock Climbing, Biking, Hiking

Top Product Choice: Motio Joggers

Sun protection is a big priority for me because of skin sensitives and genetic history. I find it difficult to remember sun protection for my legs though. So, my solution is an amazing sun protection bottom that you can live in! The Motio joggers are lightweight, stretchy, and have excellent moisture wicking properties. I use these pants outdoor running, long days hiking and climbing, biking around the city, running errands on the weekend, travelling, and just lounging around. I wear them everywhere!

Kat – Business Unit Lead (Hats, Ultimate Coverage)

Favorite Activities: Anything outdoors and adventurous!

Top Product Choice: Lenny Sport Cap

Living in the Midwest, it is very important to me to spend time outside when the weather is nice! The Lenny hat’s oversized brim protects my face if I am out on the lake, hiking, or watching my nieces and nephews’ games. It comes in multiple colorways so it always pairs well with any outfit and is adjustable for added comfort.

Kelsey – Social Media Specialist

Favorite Activities: Golfing, Kayaking, and Traveling

Top Product Choice: Devi Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Whenever the weather is nice, I always try to take advantage of it by being outside. I never have trouble remembering sun-protection but reapplying is where I struggle… Our Devi Long Sleeve T-shirt solves this problem of mine with its built-in sun protection that keeps me covered all day long. 10/10 recommend this to all my friends and family!

Looking for more ideas? Check out our Holiday Gift Guide.
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Skin Diaries

A Melanoma Warrior’s Advice: Always Make Time to Take Care of Your Health

I found my melanoma through self-checks, but not the way you’d think. For a long time, I would notice a brown spot on my lower right leg every time I shaved my legs. Unless I was actually focusing on my leg, I never noticed it and it didn’t bother me, so it wasn’t a big deal.

I never would have dreamt that the spot was Melanoma. But I knew it wasn’t totally normal, so I had made appointments to get it removed. But, because everything else in my life was more important, I kept canceling them. Sound familiar to anyone?

I finally stopped canceling in 2007. It was January and I had been having night sweats and felt very fatigued. It inspired me to finally keep my appointment and the mole was finally removed. I moved on and never gave it another thought – until a few days later.

I was at work rushing to a meeting when I realized I’d forgotten a file I needed at my desk. I ran back to my office where my phone was ringing. It was an unknown number. I decided to answer it in the off chance they were canceling my meeting. As luck would have it, it was my Doctor telling me to come into her office. I realized this was probably bad news, but I still found myself telling her that I couldn’t just drop everything and leave work. Reluctantly, she told me I had melanoma and she wasn’t sure what stage (or how bad) it was. She was sending me to a surgeon, a dermatologist and an oncologist. At this point, I really hoped that the meeting was canceled.  

The surgeon I went to recommended a sentinel node biopsy to find out what stage my melanoma was. I had the biopsy on February 2nd, my 50th birthday. Ironically, a mole was found in one of my groin nodes, but it was completely benign. I was Stage One and I felt blessed. I made it through that scare and moved on to routine skin checks that I DIDN’T miss or reschedule.

Then, during a routine scan in 2011 my dermatologist found another suspicious spot. More melanoma. Same cell type. Stage One but I was told there were free floating cells – a nest of cells that were not condensed enough to be a big concern – and my immune system should take care of them. My dermatologist advised me to watch for any hard lumps behind my knee or in my groin and report them right away. I also had to get checked every three months.

One of the biggest things I took away was advice from my oncologist. They told me that our bodies let us know when something is wrong, much more than we realize. We just need to learn to pay attention. In my case, my night sweats were telling me something and I needed to pay attention.

My diagnosis has changed the way I view life. I do become somewhat afraid when I have a strange new symptom or spot, but I try not to let it consume me. I feel so very fortunate. With the use of sunscreen, shade, and sun-protective clothing I no longer hide from the sun. I am an extremely active person, so being able to get outside to run, walk, hike, paddleboard, golf or garden, is really important to me. I couldn’t imagine not being able to do those things or fearing for my health. Since my diagnosis, I always have SPF sunscreen and UPF clothing on. I even went to sunny Jamaica and added a great big sun hat to my wardrobe to stay safe.

My advice to you: Never put off taking care of yourself. Early detection saves lives, especially with melanoma. The earlier you find the cancer the better your result will be. So check your skin, go to the dermatologist, and get outside and be sun safe!

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Skin Diaries

My Motto: Porcelain is Pretty

I was diagnosed with melanoma on my right arm at 26 years old. At the time, I was about to graduate as a Physician Assistant. I couldn’t believe it! As I was leaving my appointment, I pulled over the car and cried. I was about to start a career in medicine and I was getting married! How did I get skin cancer? I was terrified. 

Luckily, my melanoma was superficial, Stage 1, so it could be surgically removed without significant damage or scaring. I knew it could have been worse. Much worse. Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30, and the second leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30-35. I was 26, and about to be a licensed medical professional and I was a part of a cancer statistic.

The one thing that saved me was my knowledge of medicine. I knew enough to go in and get a skin check when I noticed something was off. Early detection makes a big difference in someone’s diagnosis. Finding out at 26 that I had cancer also helped me reevaluate my relationship with the sun. I was born and raised in sunny Florida and loved being outside and sunbathing by the pool when I was younger. I rarely used sunblock because I tanned easily and therefore assumed I wasn’t susceptible to skin cancer.

It took my diagnosis and surgery to finally change my sun habits. It happened immediately. I started investing in sun protective clothing. I kept accessories like hats, sunglasses and umbrellas with me so I’d never be without shade or protection. I started wearing an SPF of at least 30 on my face and lips daily. I stopped all tanning right away, no tanning beds or sunbathing. And I do my best to avoid sun exposure between 10am – 2pm.

After my diagnosis, I also started working as a Dermatology PA. It is my job to educate, evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with skin cancer. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to empathize and understand what my patients are going through. Getting a cancer diagnosis is hard. I’ve been there! But thanks to that diagnosis I’m able to help and support others.

For some it can seem daunting to kick off a sun-safe lifestyle. But, there are small but significant things you can seamlessly weave into your daily routine.

  1. Keep a hat, umbrella and UPF 50+ elbow-length gloves in your car so you can grab extra protection when you need it.
  2. Switch out your lotions and chapsticks to make sure they have an SPF of 30+ 
  3. STOP tanning, whether it’s in a salon or at the beach. Just stop! Embrace your natural skin tone! Porcelain is pretty!
  4. Get yourself some quality sun protective clothing for sunny days. It’s made to block UVA/UVB rays while keeping you cooler out in the sun.

In addition to helping avoid skin cancer, all of these steps will help prevent early aging in your skin. If you ask any medical provider in a dermatology clinic what their #1 secret is to beautiful, healthy skin, we would say sun protection! 

Source: Melanoma Research Foundation

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Live Wisely

6 Easy New Year’s Resolutions You Must Try this Year

New year, new you. It’s a phrase we are all very familiar with and tell ourselves every 12 months. In a recent study, they found that approximately 80% of resolutions fail by February.

The secret to successful resolutions is keeping them realistic and attainable in a way that you feel progress from the start. Go for the win by focusing on things that give you emotional satisfaction as well as outward results. So, here are 6 little things you can easily do to feel good and realign goals you’ve been carrying for the last few days, weeks or perhaps even years. But, this year is different because it is YOUR year.

1. Get Outside

Almost every year, it seems like people sign up for a new spin class or a personal trainer at their local gym. They dedicate themselves to it for two months and burn out. Don’t worry about joining a club, just get outside. It can be as simple as going on a 30-minute walk before you start your day to going on a quick bike ride around the neighborhood in the afternoon. The fresh air will recharge you! Don’t sacrifice your skin though. Keep sun-safe and cool in a hat and UPF 50+ clothes made for fitness, like those that have cooling technology built in.

2. Sign Up for a Lesson or Class

Never too old to learn a few new tricks! An always popular choice is taking up golf or tennis. Just make sure to cover up for all that added sun exposure! Other ideas could be learning a new language or picking up a new computer skill. You’ll never regret owning an abundance of diverse skills later in life.

3. Rekindle Important Relationships

Life gets crazy. It’s inevitable. But NEVER lose sight of, or become too busy for, your friends and family. Make one phone call a week with a distant friend; simply inviting family over once a month for dinner (delivered if you’re not into cooking); that’s all it takes. once a week, to simply inviting family over once a month for dinner, that’s all it takes, and it goes a very long way. At the end of the day, the relationships we have are more valuable than anything imaginable.

4. Take Care of Your Skin

This is one we are really challenging you to this upcoming year. How often are you consciously thinking about the amount of sun exposure you are receiving every day? Whether you are in the car or at work, there are so many sneaky ways that we are exposing ourselves to UV rays! A good habit to start as soon as possible is applying a broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30 daily. Afraid of needing to reapply or having an oily feel to your skin? Choose UPF 50+ clothing that blocks out 98% of UV rays and never washes out!

5. Indulge Once a Week

A classic resolution, like dieting, can be extremely tricky, hence the reason it is a reoccurring challenge. One of the secrets is balance and easing into it. Start by dedicating 5 days a week of healthier food choices and then rewarding yourself with a cheat meal. If you become too obsessed with it right away you will become miserable, and nobody wants to associate food with misery. If you are struggling with figuring out where to start, here’s a great beginners guide to understanding food.

6. Be Kind to Yourself

Be good to yourself. Do nice things for yourself. Reward yourself for all your hard work. We can get so caught up in our jobs or daily chores and forget to take care of ourselves. Need a spa day? Have it. You’ve been looking at that new bike for a while? Get it. That tropical vacation you’ve had your eye on? Book it. Try and do one thing completely for yourself at least once a week.

New Year’s is an end and a beginning. It allows you to turn the page and focus on the new goals you’ve just created for yourself. But remember, all of this depends on you and how ready you are to commit. Make the most of 2020. We are all rooting for you!

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Live Wisely Wear to Where

5 Ways to Protect Your Skin From the Sun

It’s no secret that the most effective protection against the sun is the protection that you wear.

Ever heard of sunscreen? Of course you have. It’s been around for nearly 90 years. It’s a good form of protection from the sun, but there is one catch to its effectiveness – It must be reapplied every two hours. Sunscreen paired with other forms of protection works wonders, but alone it’s just not enough. For that reason, you won’t find any products with SPF in our top 5.

UPF 50+ clothing and accessories, on the other hand, provide the most effective form of sun protection because there not as much of a commitment as sunscreen ends up being, won’t wash off due to water or sweat, and always applies to UVB and UVA rays.

Still trying to figure out the difference between UPF and SPF? Check out our blog on it.

Follow these 5 tips to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

1. Wear a wide-brimmed hat

Choose a hat with a 3-inch or greater brim to protect your face, scalp, ears and neck.

Coolibar Choice:

2. Switch Out Everyday Favorites

Swap everyday favorites for long sleeve UPF 50+ shirts.

Derm Choice:

3. Add UPF 50+ Coverage

Add coverage to short sleeves when lounging outdoors or performing workouts.

Derm Choice:

4. Protect Over-Exposed Hands

Keep a spare pair of UPF 50+ gloves in your car to protect your hands.

Derm Choice:

5. Use Sun Blankets for On-the-Go

Pack a UPF 50+ sun blanket for handy sun protection when you’re out and about.

Derm Choice:

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What’s the Difference Between SPF and UPF?

Did you know there’s a difference between SPF and UPF? Both have something to do with keeping your skin protected from the sun but mean very different things. Sunlight includes rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation; overexposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn, accelerated skin aging and skin cancer. Sun protective clothing and sunscreen offer your main forms of UV protection but are rated two different ways with SPF and UPF.

UPF is the standard used to measure the effectiveness of sun protective fabrics. UPF stands for “Ultraviolet Protection Factor” and indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation penetrates a fabric and reaches the skin. UPF is associated with fabric and you will see a UPF rating from 15-50 associated with products that claim that they are sun protective. 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. This also means that it blocks both UVA and UVB rays while SPF only takes the UVB rays into account.

SPF is a standard used to measure the effectiveness of sunscreen. SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor”. 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. Remember that SPF only accounts for UVB rays unless specifically stated as a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Here is a visual breakdown of the two compared to each other.

As you can see when you are trying to keep your skin protected it is important to know the different rating systems. Many skin-care experts believe clothing shields skin more effectively from UV light than sunscreen. Many of us often apply sunscreen lotions too thinly, giving our skin less protection than the sunscreen’s available SPF rating, and we neglect to reapply it as directed by the specific sunscreen that we use.

To receive The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, sun-protective fabrics must have a minimum UPF of 30. They consider a UPF rating of 30-49 to offer very good protection and 50+ excellent protection. Coolibar was the first clothing brand to receive the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. All of our clothing is rated UPF 50+, with protection that will never wash out.

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