Today is “Don’t Fry Day!” The Friday before Memorial Day is coined “Don’t Fry Day” in hopes that people will take the extra precautions to practice safe sun protection habits. It’s the weekend when many of us will be hitting the beaches, having picnics at the park and just enjoying the outdoors and long holiday weekend. Keep you and your family safe and let the world know you are by taking the “Don’t Fry Day” Pledge!

Here are some great sun protection tips from the Skin Cancer Prevention website:

Do Not Burn.

  • Avoid intentional tanning.
  • Avoid tanning beds.

Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds causes skin cancer and wrinkling.  If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.

Generously Apply Sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.  Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

Wear Sun Protective Clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

Seek Shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.

Get Vitamin D Safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements.  Don’t seek the sun.

“Don’t Fry Day” also marks the end of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. You still have until May 31st to place your UV Skinz order to receive a complimentary Special Edition “What’s a Sunburn”  baby skinz swim shirt! Go to the UV Skinz Facebook fan page and share what special child or organization you gifted your baby skinz to!

what's a sunburn_baby

 

Melanoma Monday

The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May–Melanoma Monday. Its simple purpose is to increase public awareness about Melanoma. Melanoma is a very aggressive form of skin cancer and occurs when uncontrolled growth of pigment producing cells spread rapidly to other areas of the body. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers, but if not detected early it is 75% more deadly.

Facts:

  • Over 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
  • One in five Americans will contract skin cancer during their lives.
  • While many common cancer rates are falling, the melanoma rate continues to grow at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%.
  • One bad sunburn in childhood doubles the risk of melanoma later in life.
  • Those who use tanning beds a handful of times per year in their youth risk up to a 75% higher likelihood of developing melanoma in their lifetimes.

No tan is worth your life!

What can you do today?

  1. Find a free skin cancer screening in your area!
  2. Learn and practice healthy sun-protection habits–everyday! A few easy ones to remember are; seek shade during 10am-4pm when the sun is at its highest point, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, gear-up with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and uv-protective clothing.
  3. Conduct your own regular Skin Cancer Self-Exam:

selfExam

 

4. Wear traditional black or…

 

Currently, there is a lot of controversy over what color to wear today to honor those battling Melanoma and our Melanoma Angels. Some people will choose to wear black (the traditional color of Melanoma awareness) and some people will choose to wear orange. Wearing orange is the color being promoted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)  for their SPOT Orange on Melanoma Monday campaign. For those who traditionally honor their loved ones with black it has come as an insult to the Melanoma community, but the AAD is hoping that the bright orange color will really call attention and bring awareness to a disease that has claimed so many lives. It is your choice to wear black or orange, or both!

 Bringing awareness to the signs and prevention of Melanoma and skin cancer is the ultimate goal. 

Preparing your child (and yourself) for a Dermatologist Appointment

The number of Caucasian children 18 and under (as young as 2-years-old) who develop Melanoma is on the rise. From 1973-2009 more than 1200 children were diagnosed with Melanoma. Diagnoses like these have shown an increase of 2% a year. Melanoma is an the most aggressive form of skin cancer. If caught early there is a good chance of survival, but if left to spread it can be deadly.

What could cause childhood Melanoma?

  • Sun sensitivity disorders
  • Mom-to-infant transmission
  • Tanning bed use (teens 14-18 years old)

Sometimes children can develop Melanoma or skin cancer because they exhibit some of the high risk factors; a large number of moles, family history, fair-skinned, and blue eyed. As with most illnesses sometimes there is no reason at all. No matter the cause, early detection is important. Children (as well as adults) should have a yearly Dermatologist appointment. People with a family history of Melanoma and atypical moles should be examined every 3 to 6 months. Children in these families should have their first exam by the age of 10. 

Treat a Dermatologist  appointment like a yearly Pediatrician wellness check-up.

Steps to a successful Dermatologist appointment:

  • Talk with your child about who a Dermatologist is; let them know that a Dermatologist is a doctor who knows a lot about skin and how to keep our skin healthy.
  • If you don’t have a Dermatologist the American Academy of Dermatology provides a quick and easy Derm Finder.
  • When contacting your doctor to arrange a total body skin examination, you should request an appropriate amount of time for the appointment with the scheduler.
  • At the time of arrival, when placed in the room, and when first greeting the doctor, you should make your desire for a total body skin examination known, including a request for a gown if one is not provided.
  • During a skin cancer checkup or “screening,” your doctor will probably discuss medical history and inspect your child’s skin from head to toe-even areas that don’t get any sun. If your doctor performs only a waist-up exam, inform him/her that you would like a complete skin exam.
  • Your doctor will record the location, size, and color of any moles.
  • If a mole looks unusual, he/she may arrange for a biopsy.

doctor-with-patient-child

Through out this whole process you (as a parent) have the option to be present during the appointment, ask questions and to voice your concern. 

Studies have shown that doctor’s instructions may help young people understand that sun exposure and tanning harms the skin. The message of sun safe habits should begin early and the message should  be frequent.

Source: Aim at Melanoma

WWYD: Mom Forces Underage Daughter to Tan

The popular television show, What Would You Do, featured an interesting piece that showed a “tan” Mom practically forcing her daughter to tan at the BOCA Tanning Club on the east coast. The actors were each given a role to play. The teenage daughter was depicted as a fair-skinned, light-eyed, blonde girl while the Mother was unnaturally dark and tanned. The Mom continuously tried to force the girl into the tanning bed while onlookers watched and commented. The Mother could be heard saying such things like, “Look at you–you’re pasty white.”

These comments caught the attention of two young women waiting for their tanning session to begin. They came to the aid of the pale teenager–giving her compliments on her naturally fair skin and eyes. Another woman didn’t have a clue when she offered her words of encouragement, “It’s really relaxing in there.”

It wasn’t until an older woman was in the waiting area before her spray tan that the situation got serious. She openly admitted to being a skin cancer survivor. She showed the teenage girl her scar , with tears in her eyes, explaining that it was because of tanning beds that she developed skin cancer. The woman asks the tanning Mom what was more important; a healthy daughter or a tan daughter? Her last words were, “Your Mom needs a wake-up call.”

The closing message of the show was to learn before you burn. If only a former skin cancer or melanoma patient could sit in the waiting rooms of all tanning salons–then maybe young girls without the proper knowledge of the dangers of tanning salons would be persuaded to walk away.

You can watch the full episode here. Feel free to leave your comments and don’t hesitate to speak up if you are ever in a situation like this!

 

 

What will it take?

With skin cancer and melanoma affecting so many young adults sometimes it takes a different tactic to get their attention about the harm UV radiation can inflict on a persons life. How do we get young adults attention?

With words?

  • “Natural is certainly healthier.”
  • “No tan is worth your life.”
  • “Love the skin you’re in!”
  • “I like the shade of myself, pasty and proud!!”
  • “A shade of pale is always better for your skin than a tanning bed.”

Or with photos?

All humor aside, will it actually take being diagnosed with melanoma and once removed (hopefully) being left with a horrible scar (or more) for the rest of their lives.

What will it take?

Home Tanning Danger on the Rise

In Victoria, Australia anyone 18-years-old and under are banned from tanning salons. Owners must display health warnings or face fines up to $1 million. Since the law in Victoria came into effect in 2008, the “number of outlets offering the service has plummeted by 67% from 436 to 143 salons.” Now the New South Wales government is announcing plans for a total ban on tanning salons by the end of 2014. With businesses closing and losing customers they are unloading their used tanning beds onto online shopping websites like Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon. This sets up a dangerous scenario where people can buy their own personal tanning bed with a click of a button and could lead to more cases of skin cancer as people tan without supervision.

“Some of these beds are worth $15,000 to $20,000 and I’ve seen some online being sold for $500 or less. This is very powerful equipment and these commercial machines can do some damage if you don’t follow the rules. You’re going to get idiots who will use them all day and burn themselves silly,” Mr. Konemann (former head of the Australian Solarium Association) says.

Let’s estimate how many tanning beds are going out into the public market. If 293 salons have closed and each of those salons carried at least 10 tanning beds (maximum)–that would be 2930 tanning beds available for sell and private in-home use! I searched Ebay and ironically enough through the search terms “Health and Beauty” I found tanning beds. There was even a seller starting the bidding at $50, with the most expensive being around $6000. Amazon and Craigslist had similar findings. I can’t seem to shake the amount of used tanning beds that are being sold to people for private use. With even more to be available as tanning salons go out-of-business…

What are we going to do with thousands of tanning beds?? Is it the governments responsibility?

Professor of public health at the University of Sydney Simon Chapman says, “It would be a public service for (state) governments to just buy them at that low market price and destroy them. Another option would be to outlaw the selling of them.”

Not only are there used tanning beds for sale online, but there are many websites that sell brand new ones too. Just like tanning salons these online retailers provide a lot of misinformation. I found the selling points sleazy, deceptive and astonishing. There was one sentence in particular that said, “If anything goes wrong with your new tanning bed you can rely on our customer service department to resolve any issue.” I wonder if they can resolve skin cancer, melanoma or the loss of a loved one as a result of tanning bed use? I doubt it.

Some other ridiculous sugar-coated (BS) points made by an online tanning bed retailer:

  • “Tanning is a natural biochemical process that actually helps to protect our bodies from harmful amounts of UV light. The FDA simply wants to make sure the tanning process doesn’t cause problems it is designed to prevent.”
  • “Tanning is a natural biochemical process that actually helps protect our skin from damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun. Indoor tanning is a controlled environment and therefore much better than lying out in the sun.”
  • “In your skin, you have specialized cells called melanocytes. When exposed to UVB, these pigment cells absorb the light. As the light is absorbed, it stimulates these cells to emit a substance called melanin. This melanin is a clear oily substance that seeps to the surface of the skin. Once at the surface of the skin, this melanin helps block the UVB light, and keeps it from penetrating as well. That’s why, at the beginning of summer, you can get sunburn by working outside for just a half an hour, and by the end of the summer you can stay out all day. A lot of melanin has moved to the surface of your skin to protect it.”
  • “UVA light is at the weakest end of the UV spectrum. UVA is not a penetrating type of light. However, it does cause a chemical reaction in the melanin which completes the UV protection. When melanin is exposed to UVA it oxidizes. When melanin oxidizes it turns brown. So, what we see as a tan is really melanin on the surface of the skin that has been oxidized by UVA.”

Just to clarify the above bullets are sugar-coated misinformation used to sell tanning beds. Tanning is a natural biochemical process that is a result of skin damage. A tan is caused when there is injury to the skin’s DNA from over exposure to UV rays. The skin darkens in an attempt to prevent further DNA damage. Another correction is that UVA  is definitely a penetrating ray. It penetrates deeper than UVB rays (that cause reddening and sunburn) and is the dominate tanning ray that causes premature skin aging and wrinkling. The only truth spoken about tanning beds is that they emit more UVA rays which could be the reason why frequent tanning bed users are more likely to be diagnosed with squamous and basal cell carcinoma.

We know that UV rays are the primary environmental etiologic risk factor for skin cancer. That is the truth!

Join the discussion on our Facebook page. I would love to hear what you think about the surplus of unwanted tanning beds. Should the governement control the sell of them. Should we destroy them? Do you think they could end up in landfills, and if so what would be the effect of that?

Source:

Understanding UVA and UVB

http://www.theage.com.au

Family Leisure

MY Story; Michelle Bain

This week I spoke to Michelle, a 2 year Stage 2a Melanoma survivor and founder of the Spread the Lotion Facebook page. She is a spunky, care-free, and positive spirit! From speaking to her I could tell right away that she wasn’t they type of person that would go down without a fight. I’m happy to share her story and I hope you can take something away from it.

Here is Michelle’s story…

Growing up in Alabama, outdoor activities were common in her  family. They spent many summers on the beaches of North Carolina. Michelle said that she got many sunburns as a child and recalls one really bad one in particular.  There was one camping trip where somehow everyone failed to remember the sunscreen and aloe. After playing in the sun for most of the day Michelle remembers getting the most painful sunburn she has ever had. To her dismay, with nothing else to soothe the pain her Grandmother applied mayonnaise to her burned skin! Sunburns are no laughing matter, but smelling like a hot dog kind of is (her words not mine). I guess now we have another home-remedy to add to the list on how to soother sunburns.

One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.

In the South, Michelle says there was a “culture” to be tan. Body image had a lot of influence and because she was a “bigger girl” she was taught to cover-it-up and if you can’t then you get darker.  Michelle was 19-years-old when she began tanning in a tanning bed, mostly because of peer pressure and a lifetime of cultural pressure to be tan. Her yearly ritual was to buy a tanning package in January and go almost every day until May. Then once summer hit you could find her laying out for hours at a time. Just to be tan.

One day, 25-year-old Michelle, had just come from the tanning salon when she noticed a mole on her back. A thought flicked through her mind that maybe it could be skin cancer and it was kind of strange, but soon the thought was dismissed. Ignored.  Five years after noticing that strange-looking mole on her back, Michelle became pregnant. The change in her hormones caused the bothersome mole to change and turn colors rapidly.  Ignoring it was no longer a choice. At 25-years-old Michelle was told that the mole, now the size of an eraser and very discolored, was Stage 2 melanoma. After hearing this shocking news Michelle said she, “…never thought that something could knock me on my butt. It changes everything.”  Shortly after her diagnosis Michelle miscarried her baby, but believes everything happens for a reason. Who knows how much longer she would have gone on ‘ignoring’ the strange mole on her back. She doesn’t believe that it is coincidental that  the original due date of the baby was the exact date the cancerous mole was removed.

She admits that the worst part of her experience was the waiting; waiting for test results, waiting for appointments, and waiting to know whether melanoma would claim her life. She made it through the waiting period, the cancer had not spread.  Michelle told me, “A  huge part of my recovery was the love and support from not only friends and family, but my furry family as well. I have entirely too many cats and a German Shepard that were with me every step of the way!”

One of her biggest struggles has been transforming from being a sun worshiper to being covered. Now her must-haves at the beach are a big umbrella, a huge floppy hat, and plenty of sunscreen. Lucky for her, as a cheer-leading coach, she is able to use her scar as a teaching moment for the young girls who look up to her, reminding them to wear sunscreen and cover-up. Michelle is also spreading awareness through her Facebook page, Spread the Lotion, and speaking about tanning dangers and melanoma prevention at local high schools which she has dubbed the “Michelle-A-Noma Tour.” Michelle says, “The  goal is to get the word out and hopefully start working on a bill to limit use of tanning beds for minors.” She also wants to organize a walk or 5k event after being inspired from participation in Relay for Life.

“I would rather be white and alive, than tan and dead.”

Her ambition didn’t just fall from the sky. Michelle admits to be the type of person that has to be busy! Melanoma didn’t keep her down for long, but she admits that she feels like a poster child because she never thought it would happen to her. Now her mornings begin with a self-skin check. Even though she has survived melanoma the fear is still lingering. Could you imagine being afraid to become pregnant? Michelle is. Once cancer has touched your life the residual feelings don’t leave. Music is something that gives Michelle strength and offers words of encouragement when she needs them.

Here are a list of songs from what she calls, “My Super Duper Whop’ Cancer Upside the Head” playlist: