Soldiers Reprimanded for Accidental Sunburns

Operation Iraqi Fredom

Marcie Birk, a Health Educator  with the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine reported on recreational and  occupational exposure to the sun. Occupational sun exposure increases a persons risk of skin cancer  by 43-77%.  Many soldiers are usually exposed to harmful rays all the time,  by default of their occupation. Soldiers can be exposed to many hours of UV radiation during unit and individual training. They are encouraged to take the proper sun safety precautions as the general public; to use a sunblock with an SPF 30+ and reapply every two hours, and to wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Some people still will let their pride and stubbornness get in the way of healthy sun protection habits. Here is a list of excuses that are commonly heard…

Excuse: “Sunblocks smell flowery and feminine.”

Answer: By unscented formulations. They are just as effective without the scent.

Excuse: “The oily base makes my skin feel greasy. ‘

Answer: Try out other brands to find what feels right to you.

Excuse: “They make my hands slippery.”

Answer: Try a sport sunscreen. They are designed to absorb quickly.

Excuse: “When I sweat, the stuff runs into my eyes and stings.”

Answer: Use a stick sunscreen on your forehead and around your eyes. Never put sunscreen directly on your eyes.

But, what happens if they do get burned?

J. Solis (U.S. Navy) said, “For us, we don’t get sunscreen provided by the command. We have to get it ourselves. I used to get in trouble all the time for sunburns when I was stationed in Hawaii. Now a days people don’t really get in trouble for sunburns while being in uniform.”

These instances occur in the United States as well as other countries.  The Canadian Military has a statute for dealing with severe sunburn. One Canadian soldier recalled being a student on officer training during the summer of 1990. At the end of the formal training and before the graduation the training center put on a huge sports day called Exercise Spartan Warrior. The competition uniform for the day was  combat boots, trousers, and t-shirts. The Canadian soldier says he slathered himself in the military issue sunscreen (SPF 8) and competed out in the sun all day until the end of the competition. He admits the day after he was so burned on his arms and the back of his neck that he had to report to the Medical Inspection Room where he was diagnosed with 2nd degree burns. He was then told by the duty medic that because the burns got to 2nd degree he would have to be investigated for a summary charge of “Self-Inflicted Wound”. Luckily, for the soldier it was proven that he had “indeed used the supplied sunscreen and had not inflicted himself with the wound and was not negligent in protecting himself.”

How can soldiers protect themselves?

  • Use a sunblock with an SPF 30+ and reapply every two hours
  • Try to stay covered if out in the sun for more than 30 minutes at a time; wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves and pants.

How can the military can help?

  • Provide a sunscreen with an SPF of 30+
  • Make it mandatory /provide UV protective clothing

What can YOU do to help?

  • Collect sun protection products by asking people to donate in support of our troops! 

support out troops



10 Winter Skin Protection Tips

The winter months can be especially damaging to the skin. The wind blows harder and colder, the temperature drops, and moisture becomes depleted in the skin causing skin dehydration, scaling, and flaking cracked areas. Areas such as the lips, elbows, knees, heels, and hands become particularly parched during this season. UVA rays in winter are as intense and cause as much damage as UVA rays in the summer months. Here are some tips on how to give your skin ultimate protection during the winter months.

10 Tips for Hands, Feet, Body, Face and Lips

  1. Keep Water Lukewarm, Not Hot

    Hot water robs skin of moisture, so it’s best to shower in lukewarm water. If you can’t bear this rule — I can’t — try to keep your warm showers short and try showering only once per day. This also means skipping the hot tubs in winter (another rule I simply cannot bear). The hot, hot temperature, combined with drying chemicals, is torture on skin.

  2. Moisturize After Showers or Hand washingmoisturiser1

    Moisturizer is the key to soft, supple skin in winter. Apply product when skin is slightly damp. For best effect, pat skin dry instead of rubbing with your towel before application.

  3. Exfoliate on a Weekly or Semi-weekly Basis

    Moisturizer is much more effective on properly exfoliated skin. Use a scrub in the shower and exfoliate facial skin with a mild scrub made for the face.

    It’s best to scrub skin when it’s dry. Apply scrub to dry skin before you turn on the water (mix with lotion if it’s not moist enough). Massage the scrub in for a good five minutes for best results.

  4. Invest in a Humidifier

    Furnaces rob air of moisture, leaving very little humidity in the air. I once read that your skin needs more than 30 percent humidity to stay properly moisturized. A room heated by a furnace can have as little as 10 percent moisture. In the winter, consider sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom. Keep doors closed so the moist air doesn’t escape the room.

  5. Skip the Drying Soaps

    Stick with a creamy moisturizing cleanser that contains glycerin or petrolatum, such as Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, or Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash (my current drugstore pick).

  6. Baby Your Hands & Feet

    Hands and feet can suffer terribly in winter. Put on moisturizer and gloves BEFORE you head outdoors, and consider lathering up your feet in thick moisturizer and sleeping in cotton socks at night.

    Extra tip: Cover feet in a thick moisturizer, wrap feet in Saran Wrap, then pull on a pair of socks for a couple hours. Try to sit or lie down while the moisturizer soaks in or risk sliding into a full split and pulling your groin muscles. The same treatment can be done on hands, except try plastic bags and keep hands in a pair of socks. A half-hour should do you.

  7. Don’t Forget Your Lips

    Licking your lips will not moisturize them and instead will help dry them out. Lips retain less moisture than other parts of the body, so they tend to dry out more quickly. A simple lip balm helps, as does my all-time favorite lip trick learned in high school from “Seventeen” magazine: moisturize your lips with Vaseline. Take a toothbrush and “brush” your lips in a circular motion. This will remove dead flakes and leave your lips soft and supple.

  8. Your Face Needs Extra Care in Winter

    Cold, winter wind can wreak havoc on skin. To keep your face supple in winter, apply moisturizer to your face before going out into the cold and cover your face with a scarf in harsh wind.

    If you have super, duper sensitive skin, consider avoiding rinsing your face with tap water, which can contain harsh minerals that are especially drying to the skin (Dr. Dennis Gross once told me New York water contains a lot of harsh minerals, while Seattle water, for example, does not. Go figure).

    Instead, do like the French and cleanse skin in winter with a cleaner that does not require rinsing, like Pond’s Cold Cream. You can also rinse with special water that contains selenium and chamomile.

  9. Consider Fish Oil Pills

    New studies show omega-3 fish oil pills may soothe super dry skin. Patients who took fish oils pills in a study reported in Allure magazine, saw significant results within a few weeks. “You can see, within six weeks, the skin, hair and nails improve markedly,” according to skin expert Dr. Andrew Weil in Allure.

  10. Wear your UV Skinz!

UV Skinz swim shirts always keep your skin protected with its chemical-free super soft material and  SPF 50+ which will protect your delicate skin from sun damage and burns!



Weekend Update: Australia Day

How did Australia celebrate Australia Day?…Get the details here!

Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788.

australian flag

Australia Day is celebrated with community events, spending time with friends and family or taking advantage of the national holiday to rest and relax! Australian citizens also have the opportunity to nominate someone who makes them proud to be an Australian. Those chosen for 2013 are pictured below.

From left to right. Australia's Local Hero Shane Phillips Indigenous leader, Young Australian of the Year Akram Azimi Mentor, Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose AO OBE Media Icon, Senior Australian of the Year Prof. Ian Maddocks AM Palliative Care Specialist

From left to right. Australia’s Local Hero Shane Phillips Indigenous leader, Young Australian of the Year Akram Azimi Mentor, Australian of the Year Ita Buttrose AO OBE Media Icon, Senior Australian of the Year Prof. Ian Maddocks AM Palliative Care Specialist.

“On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It’s the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It’s the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.”

In the Melanoma community Australia has been a leader in Melanoma research, prevention and awareness. Australia has the highest incidence of Melanoma in the world. Melanoma is often referred to as Australia’s National Cancer.

  •   Melanoma is the third most common form of cancer in Australian men and women (10% of all cancers)
  • More than 11,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in Australia every year
  • Melanoma makes up only 2.3% of all skin cancers but is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths.
  • The good news is that melanoma is often identifiable at an early stage where simple treatment can result in complete cure.

They developed the “Slip, Slap, Slop” campaign that aims to prevent skin cancer and raise awareness about the dangers of the sun. Australia was first to spearhead the fight against tanning salons by banning minors from using solariums (as they are called there.) There is also new law that will ban all tanning salons from operating come 2014!

Our neighbors down under have achieved great things–Happy Australian Day!

Scientist Grow Human Skin to Fight Skin Cancer

Scientists at the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter’s Tremough campus have been researching a way to grow skin specifically to tackle Malignant Melanoma. They first announced their intent to grow human skin back in November 2012, saying that it would take at least 6 months or more to get the full clearance on their ground breaking research. Cancer research is often of single cells, but scientists at the Centre believe the best route would be to examine clusters of cells in contact with each other the way they naturally lie in the body.

They hope the research could help to identify people at risk, diagnose more effectively and understand how cancer cells break away from each other to form other tumors in the body.


Malignant Melanoma is the most deadliest form of skin cancer. Anyone can get Melanoma. If found early melanoma is almost 100% curable. When allowed to grow, melanoma can quickly spread to other parts of the body.

The best ways to protect yourself from Melanoma and other skin cancers are to:

  • Conduct a monthly self skin check; watch for changes in moles and see a Dermatologist immediately if you notice any signs of skin cancer.
  • See a Dermatologist yearly, especially if you have pale skin, light-colored eyes, freckles or a history of skin cancer in your family.
  • Seek the shade during peak hours of the day between 10am-4pm
  • Wear SPF 30 sunscreen daily
  • Protect your eyes, neck, face with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Wear UV-protective clothing




5 Ways to Stay Positive During Your Cancer Fight

A positive can work wonders! Found this while surfing the internet and thought that it would be helpful to anyone going through any hard time in their lives, especially those diagnosed with skin cancer or melanoma. You can read more on this at the Gutsy Lady blog.

Remember to smile and…

Hang in there!

Hang in there!

Here are 5 Ways to Stay Positive:

  1. Think happy thoughts. 
  2. Daily Affirmations
  3. Questions to ask yourself; “When a negative thought enters your head and says something like “I am not going to get that promotion or I am not smart enough” ask yourself is this true?  Do I have facts to support this statement?  If not, accept that this is garbage and throw it out of your head.  Replace these negative tapes with your positive affirmations.”
  4. Hang out with happy people. 
  5. Read inspirational books/quotes





Give the Gift of Melanoma Awareness

Sometimes during the cold winter months of gift giving we let sun protection and melanoma awareness slip our minds. It’s during these non-summer months that we should think of it most and prepare for the sunny days ahead. It is only by advocating and showing support for melanoma research that we can ever imagine a world without melanoma. If you are having trouble buying a meaningful gift for someone who has been touched by melanoma either by a diagnosis or a passing–then please feel free to browse the websites below.

Help us to help others give the gift of melanoma awareness by sharing via Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Also, if you know of any other places to purchase melanoma awareness gifts–please share in the comments!

Melanoma Awareness Gift Guide!

  • Bravelets feature the slogan “be brave” on their stylish and simple bracelets. $35 and under


  • Project Hope sells a “hope cures” bracelet that with every purchase will donate $1 to the Uganda Child Cancer Foundation. $15

Melanoma_Awareness_hope cures

melanoma awareness gift basket

Etsy is also a great place to find handmade and original melanoma awareness and cancer support gifts. Big Bead Jewelry sells custom bracelets with $2 of proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.  Kind Living Designs custom makes Pillow People that have been used to preserve the memory of a loved one that has passed away or as a keepsake for a family member that will be missed while serving in the military or away for long periods of time.

personalized pillow people for melanoma cancer

Knot Creations has taken the term survivor to another (awesome) level! You can purchase a paracord survival bracelet that can save your life and inspire at the same time!

melanoma survivor paracord bracelet

Gendrea makes handmade jewelry using swarovski crystals and gemstones.

Hope melanoma awareness necklace

There are many more handmade gifts you browse on the Etsy website. One of our favorites is unfortunately on vacation so I can’t feature Jilly’s Jems’ handmade gifts, but I can tell you more about a very special 2013 The Faces of Melanoma Calendar that you can purchase to help benefit melanoma awareness and to support Jillian’s fight against melanoma. If you are interested “like” Jilly’s Jems on Facebook or email

This calendar is full of touching stories, tips and sun safe facts, as well as ways you can get involved in your community to help raise awareness! Check it out!

faces of melanoma calendar