Education, prevention and support for the most serious form of skin cancer.

IMPACT Melanoma to Provide Free Sunscreen on Pan-Mass Challenge Ride Weekend through “Practice Safe Skin” Program

July 31st, 2017

BOSTON, MA (August 1, 2017) – IMPACT Melanoma, formerly Melanoma Foundation of New England, a national non-profit organization dedicated to working to reduce the incidence of melanoma, is providing free sunscreen dispensers to the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) for use on ride weekend as part of the nonprofit’s Practice Safe Skin program.

“We’re grateful to IMPACT Melanoma for their efforts to protect our riders from the sun as we know what a big difference sunscreen can make,” said Glynn Hawley, Director of Logistics and Provisions, PMC. “We look forward to a safe, and hopefully sunny, ride weekend for all of our riders, volunteers and spectators.”

The dispensers will be installed at the event’s lunch stop in Dighton-Rehoboth on Saturday, where thousands of PMC riders will stop on their way to Mass-Maritime Academy on August 5.

“We are thrilled to expand on our highly successful program and to provide such an amazing event with sunscreen,” said Deb Girard, Executive Director, IMPACT Melanoma. “We hope our sunscreen dispensers will help protect cyclists from harmful UV Rays this year and encourage them to reapply regularly.”

The specially designed dispensers are being purchased and installed across the country. They are part of Practice Safe Skin, a program that offers sunscreen as an effective preventive measure to help avoid sun over-exposure year round. Each sunscreen dispenser is equipped with four 1000 mL bags of sunscreen SPF-30 sunscreen, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Aquatic and Marine safe, appropriate for people aged 6-months and up. Ingredients are printed on the machines upon installation.

A recent study from The University of Colorado cited this program as an influencing force behind the decrease in melanoma rates in the Northeast. Melanoma is rising faster than any other cancer with one person every 50 minutes dying from the disease. Studies show that with daily sunscreen protection, the risk of melanoma is preventable.

Pan-Mass Challenge cyclists are on their bikes for extended periods of time as they ride up to 192 miles across Massachusetts. IMPACT Melanoma will provide education and a place for cyclists to reapply sunscreen.

The PMC is the nation’s most successful athletic fundraising event, raising and contributing more money to charity than any other. Set for August 5 and 6, the PMC will draw more than 6,200 cyclists and 4,000 volunteers to the two-day bike-a-thon. Together, they will work to raise a record goal of $48 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. One hundred percent of every rider-raised dollar goes directly to the cause. Since its inception in 1980, the PMC has contributed more than $547 million dollars to Dana-Farber.

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About Practice Safe Skin 

In response to the Surgeon General’s 2014 Call to Action to address skin cancer as a major public concern, IMPACT Melanoma and partner Bright Guard, launched a pilot program called Practice Safe Skin during the summer 2015 to donate free sunscreen throughout Boston parks and Massachusetts beaches at no cost to taxpayers. Following the success of the pilot program, the Practice Safe Skin initiative is expanding to offer cities and businesses across the country the ability to purchase and provide this public safety program.

For more information or to inquire about pricing, see http://IMPACTMelanoma.org/practice-safe-skin/, call 1-800-557-6352 or email info@IMPACTMelanoma.org.

About IMPACT Melanoma

IMPACT is a national non-profit organization dedicated to working to reduce the incidence of melanoma. Committed to skin cancer prevention and early detection, we provide a variety of award-winning programs which aim to raise awareness and educate the public about skin cancer, as well as support services for those struggling with the disease.

About the Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is a bike-a-thon that today raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the world. The 38th PMC will take place on August 5 and 6, 2017. The PMC was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, who remains the event’s executive director, an annual cyclist, and a fundraiser. The PMC has since raised $547 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The event donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. The PMC generates more than 52 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and is Dana-Farber’s single largest contributor. The PMC has successfully melded support from committed cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. All are essential to the PMC’s goal and model: to attain maximum fundraising efficiency while increasing its annual gift. The PMC’s hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber’s doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers. For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, log onto www.pmc.org.

 

Choosing the Right Sunscreen

July 25th, 2017

By: Dr. Michael Leher

Playing in the sun, whether at the beach or backyard is a time honored tradition, and everyday sun-exposure is often unavoidable, but getting too much sun can increase your risk of skin cancer and photo-aging (premature skin wrinkles and skin discoloration), not mention those pesky sunburns.

Sunlight is composed of ultraviolet radiation that harms your skin by directly damaging your DNA. Sun exposure and DNA damage leads to the unintended consequences of burns, photo-aging, and increases your risk of skin cancer. To reduce these risks it is prudent to avoid the sun when possible and apply sunscreen when you expect to be in the sun for any period of time. With so many sunscreens on the market though, how do you choose the one that is right for you? What does SPF mean? Am I using enough? What is broad spectrum? What should I use for my child? Why is it so complicated? These are all good questions and hopefully this article will give you some answers and allow you to make the best choice the next time you are in the sunscreen aisle at your local store.

Sunlight is composed of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and is very damaging to your cells and their intracellular machinery. In fact, many scientists use ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria and other unwanted cells because the UV radiation is so destructive to unprotected cells. UV radiation is broken down into three main categories, UVA, UVB, and UVC based on their different wavelengths; however UVA and UVB are the most clinically relevant and are what many of our sunscreens block. UVA can be divided into UVA1 and UVA2, both of which are associated with photo-aging and increased risk for skin cancer. UVB is the set of wavelengths mainly responsible for sunburn as well as photo aging and causing skin cancer.

Sunscreens are composed of compounds that can either absorb or reflect UV radiation and prevent the damaging effects of UV radiation on skin cells. Sunscreens are broken down into two categories, the physical blockers (Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide) and the chemical blockers (avobenzone, homosalate, etc). The physical blockers (Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide) tend to be less irritating and block UV radiation across the UVA and UVB spectrum. The drawback is that many physical sunscreens can leave your skin with the white chalky appearance so classically seen in old beach movies. The chemical blockers on the other hand tend to have a more narrow spectrum of ultraviolet coverage, however many sunscreen formulations combine several chemical blockers to more adequately cover the UVA and UVB spectrum. Chemical sunscreens also carry a risk of contact allergy and irritation; but this only affects a minority of people.

One of the major metrics by which sunscreens are measured is the Sun Protection Factor or SPF. The SPF is the amount of UV radiation required to cause a mild-sunburn. A SPF 15 means that it will take 15x the UV exposure to cause a mild sunburn when compared to unprotected skin. Remember though, that sunburns are mainly caused by UVB and an SPF may not adequately assess the ability of a sunscreen to block UVA, therefore it is crucial to find a sunscreen that also says “Broad Spectrum”.

 

There has been some controversy regarding SPF labeling in recent years. The SPF predicts the amount of UV radiation required preventing a sunburn, but its relationship to the amount of UV radiation blocked is not linear. For example, an SPF 15 generally blocks approximately 93% of UV radiation while an SPF 30 may block closer to 97%, and a SPF 45 may block 98%. For this reason, the FDA has recommended that sunscreens not label above SPF 50 because it may provide a false sense of security to consumers. Overall, the American Academy of Dermatology has recommended that an SPF of 30+ with “Broad Spectrum” coverage be used.

One of the most common reasons for a sunscreen to not work effectively is because it is accidently washed off and not reapplied. Many sunscreens can lose their effectiveness after a couple hours playing in the sun, therefore it is important to reapply every two hours or less. If you are swimming it is even more important to re-apply your sunscreen. Sunscreens labeled as “Very water resistant” maintain their effectiveness for 80 minutes before needing reapplication, while those that say “Water resistant” hold their effectiveness for 40 minutes. The FDA recently recommended against the use of the wording “Waterproof” as even the hardiest sunscreen is not resistant to a day in the pool or on the beach.

What about sunscreen for my children? The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that sunscreen be used once your child is 6 months old. At birth, the skin barrier is not fully developed and the use of sunscreen before 6 months may cause irritation. Further along this point, many children have decreased function in their skin barrier and the use of physical sunscreens such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc oxide may be better tolerated in children.

With all that information in mind, how do you chose the right sunscreen? The next time you are at the store, picking out a sunscreen look for a few key words. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens that are SPF 30+, Broad Spectrum, and Water Resistant, the rest if up to you! If the sunscreen you purchase has these words you are in good shape. After that, the selection is based on personal feel and style. Many of the physical blocking sunscreens (Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide) have a very broad spectrum of coverage and are less irritating to the skin, the drawback is they frequently leave a mild white tinge on the face and extremities. The chemical sunscreens (avobenzone, homosalate, etc) can be very effective when combined together and tend to rub on with less of a white residue. Chemical sunscreens however tend to be more irritating to the skin for some consumers. Picking out the right sunscreen is important, but if it not on your skin it does you no good! So always remember to reapply every 2 hours or sooner if you are swimming.

The use of a SPF 30+, Broad Spectrum, Water Resistant sunscreen combined with other common sense sun protection measures can help keep your skin looking healthy, young, and safe while you enjoy all your favorite outdoor activities.

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Qualifying for Social Security Benefits with Melanoma

June 16th, 2017

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with melanoma, you may be worried about keeping your job while you go through treatment. Fortunately, if you’ll be out of work for 12 months, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly financial resources for people with serious injuries or illnesses that prevent them from working.

Medical Qualifications

The SSA uses its own medical guide known as the Blue Book to evaluate disability applicants and determine if they have an illness that is severe enough to keep them from working. Malignant melanoma is listed as a qualifying condition in the Blue Book.

Under Section 13.29 of the Blue Book, there are five ways to qualify for Social Security disability benefits with malignant melanoma. You will only need to meet one of the following criteria to qualify:

1. You have recurrent malignant melanoma of the skin or the eye. Keep in mind that listing specifically asks for the same melanoma to return. If you have two separate diagnoses of unrelated cancer that do not meet a following listing, you will not qualify for disability benefits.

2. Your cancer has spread to one or more “clinically apparent” nodes, which is a node that’s detected by imaging studies or by clinical evaluation.

3. If the melanoma has not spread to clinically apparent nodes, you can still qualify if it has spread to four or more nodes.

4. Your cancer has spread to adjacent skin or another region of the body, such as your liver, lungs, or brain.

5. You have mucosal melanoma.

The entire Blue Book is available online, so be sure to review the listings for malignant melanoma with your oncologist to see if you qualify.

Starting Your Application

Most applicants can complete the entire process entirely online on the SSA’s website. This is the easiest way to apply, as you can save your progress to be completed later.

If you’d prefer, you can also apply for disability benefits at your closest Social Security office. There are over 1,000 offices across the US, so it’s likely there is an

office nearby. Be sure not to just drop by at your local office! You should always make an appointment to apply first. You can do so by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

The denial rates for disability benefits are very high: Nearly 70% of initial applicants are denied. It’s important to keep in mind that this includes all applicants. Some conditions like mood disorders have exceptionally low approval rates, so this data is somewhat skewed. If you meet any of the above Blue Book listings for melanoma and are not working, you will have a high chance of approval. Even so, be sure to fill out your application as carefully as possible. If the SSA cannot gather your medical records on your behalf due to an error in your application, you will not be approved.

It usually takes around five months to be approved for disability benefits, but people who have melanoma that has spread to distant organs or has returned despite treatment could actually be approved in as little as ten days. Once on disability benefits, you can focus on what’s important: Your treatments and health.

This article was provided by Disability Benefits Help (www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org). If you have any questions on qualifying with melanoma, feel free to reach out to our team at help@ssd-help.org

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NYC Parks Launches Free Sunscreen Pilot at City Beaches

June 7th, 2017

IMPACT Melanoma and Bright Guard Donate 1,000 Liters of Sunscreen and 100 Dispensers to Promote Sun Safety

Summertime is upon us and along with promoting water safety, NYC Parks is ramping up its sun safety efforts, with partners IMPACT Melanoma and Bright Guard, with the launch of a free sunscreen pilot. This summer, for the first time ever, NYC Parks is installing sunscreen dispensers, 100 donated by its partners, to dispense 1,000 liters of free sunscreen at beaches in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. With dispensers installed at locations along the city¹s 14 mile beachfront, New Yorkers can protect themselves from long hours in the sun by easily applying the provided SPF 30 sunscreen.

³Millions flock to our beaches each summer; spending hours under the sun, recharging on our city¹s glorious shoreline,² said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. ³While being watersafe, enjoying the recreational activities and righting their minds, Parks also wants New Yorkers to be sun safe. We are excited to partner with IMPACT Melanoma and Bright Guard on this pilot program to provide free sunscreen to beach goers this summer, furthering their ability to protect their skin while on the go.²

³We are thrilled to expand on our highly successful program across the country and continue to offer sunscreen units for public and private distribution throughout the country, NYC is an exciting place for us to bring sunscreen,² said Deb Girard, Executive Director, IMPACT Melanoma.  ³We hope sunscreen dispensers will become as commonplace as hand sanitizers over the next few years.²

Bright Guard CEO Ryan Warren said: ³We¹re dedicated to making it easier for people to prioritize their skincare in the sun. We¹ve all at one point forgotten to pack sunscreen, or the bottle ran out, or we simply couldn¹t afford to buy it. With these dispensers, we are increasing access to sunscreen and, by offering it at no cost, are encouraging people to take advantage of this amenity. Sun safety should be a right and not a privilege.²

In June 2016, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer advocated for free sunscreen distribution in City parks and beaches to aid in combatting the national average of one in five who are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. Through the research highlighted in the Comptroller¹s proposal, the report described successful programs in Miami and Boston, and included recommendations that the City work to implement similar efforts that would benefit sun-loving New Yorkers.

Comptroller Stringer said: ³When we first unveiled this proposal last June, we considered this a commonsense, cost-effective way to protect the health of New Yorkers. When we did the research, we looked at cities around the country that had developed cutting edge programs and saw opportunity to help residents across the five boroughs protect themselves. And when we compiled our analysis, we deemed this a straightforward proposal to enhance our world-class beaches and facilities. Today, we¹re thrilled that this pilot will become reality. This isn¹t just smart public policy designed to improve public health and boost quality of life. It¹s the right thing to do for New Yorkers. When you go to the beach, the souvenir you bring home should never be a sunburn.²

³Wearing broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 — and reapplying it every two hours or after swimming — is crucial to protect against skin cancer,² said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. ³NYC Parks¹ free sunscreen effort will make it easier for all of us to apply, and reapply, sunscreen. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses and clothing that covers your arms and legs are also good ways to protect yourself from the sun¹s harmful rays.²

“The small decisions we make every day have an enormous impact on our long-term health.” Said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Health Committee. “Making sunscreen readily available in places where it is needed most ensures that New Yorkers are able to make the best choice for themselves and their children. I want to commend NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for pushing for and implementing such a fantastic program.”

 

Sunscreen dispensers will be located at the following city beach locations:

The Bronx

Orchard Beach

 

Brooklyn

Manhattan Beach

Brighton Beach

Coney Island

–       W. 2nd St.

–       W. 8th St.

–       16th St.

–       W. 27th St.

–       W. 32nd St.

–       Stillwell Ave.

 

Queens

Rockaway

–       Beach 9

–       Beach 17

–       Beach 30

–       Beach 59

–       Beach 67

–       Beach 86

–       Beach 97

–       Beach 106

–       Beach 115

 

Staten Island

South Beach

Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier

Midland Beach

Cedar Grove Beach

Wolfe¹s Pond Beach

 

Randall¹s Island Park Alliance successfully piloted free sunscreen dispensing on Randall¹s Island during summer 2016. Utilizing 24 dispensers, free sunscreen was available at ball fields, the playground, Icahn Stadium and at comfort stations.

New York City beaches open this Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 27. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day Weekend.

Summer 2017 marks the full completion of the three-year project to rebuild the Rockaway Boardwalk after the original was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The new boardwalk sets a global standard for resilient shoreline design, while providing the Rockaway community with a beautiful, functional beachfront. In addition to being NYC¹s largest swimming beach and home to the city¹s only designated surfing areas, Rockaway is also known for its varied food concessions along the boardwalk.

For NYC Parks¹ beach schedule, water safety tips and more, please visit www.nyc.gov/parks or call 311.

 

About IMPACT Melanoma
IMPACT is a national non-profit organization dedicated to working to reduce the incidence of melanoma. Committed to skin cancer prevention and early detection, we provide a variety of award-winning programs which aim to raise awareness and educate the public about skin cancer, as well as support services for those struggling with the disease.

About Bright Guard
Bright Guard was created to provide convenient access to sunscreen in all of the places we live, work and play in an effort to reduce the risks and effects of sun exposure. Bright Guard works with foundations, governments, parks & recreation departments, and other organizations like its nonprofit partner Impact Melanoma, to provide water resistant, hands-free sunscreen dispensers in places from public pools and beaches, to parks and sports stadiums, to municipal buildings, hospitals, schools, and beyond, so that people can have free, safe and effective sunscreen every time they are outside. In summer 2017, Bright Guard is greatly expanding its reach, including launching eighty dispensers in New York City, including at all public beaches. For more information, or to connect directly with the Bright Guard team, visit www.brightguard.com.

Press Contact:
Crystal Howard
pressoffice@parks.nyc.gov
212-360-1311

 

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Initiating the Installation of 50 Sunscreen Dispensers throughout the City of Gainesville, Florida

May 22nd, 2017

Gigi Simmons (pictured center)

On Wednesday, May 17th, Impact Melanoma’s Practice Safe Skin Manager, Laurie Seavey will, along with Gigi Simmons, the Interim Development and Partnership Program Coordinator of the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, unveil 50 sunscreen dispensers throughout the City of Gainesville, Florida. Said installation is a preemptive effort to help prevent the widespread incidences of skin cancers due to UV radiation from exposure to the sun. The initiative, which began in January of this year, was brought to fruition by a great team of advocates, which include Dr. Skidmore of Florida Skin Cancer & Dermatologist Specialists, PA, Gainesville Mayor, Lauren Poe, UF Health College of Dermatology, as well as anonymous sources. Taking this proactive measure to help foster education and tactile preventative measures as they relate to the development skin cancer place Gainesville on the forefront of being a City who are ahead of the curb when it comes to such important, social health issues.

Initially brought to the attention of Simmons by Adam Ping, a local physician assistant in the field, the wheels were in quickly in motion to bring sunscreen-dispensing units to the City.

Said Ping:

“I’m a physician assistant who has been working in Dermatology for the past few years. My main job is in the detection and treatment of skin cancers. These cancers are the direct affect of damage caused by the sun. The incidence of Melanoma is on the rise and I have personally seen this to be true and occurring in people at a younger and younger age. I truly feel that the best way to help in the fight against skin cancers is in education. While on vacation in Boston I was visiting the Parks and came across a sunblock dispenser. I used it and thought that this is something that should be as common as drinking fountains at the parks in Florida. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has been at the parks and thought to myself that only a short time in the sun won’t be a big deal, although I’m here to tell you now – it is!”

It’s about availability and raising awareness. I would love to see education programs in school, and the encouragement of sunblock use during recess. I work at a small office that is anonymous in our sponsorship because we truly just want to help make a difference and advocate in the education and prevention of skin cancers.”

IMPACT Melanoma sat down with Simmons to discuss how the entire initiative came to fruition and what it means for the City.

IMPACT: How’d you learn about these dispensers and of Impact Melanoma?

Simmons: I learned about the dispensers from one of our City’s residents, Adam Ping. After visiting Boston and experiencing the utilization of their city-wide free sunscreen dispenser installations, he thought it would be a great idea to bring the dispensers to our City. I met with Adam and did extensive research about skin cancer and Melanoma. The purpose of researching the idea of installing “free” sunscreen dispensers was to indicate if this is something that our community could benefit from.

Dr. Skidmore (left) with Laurie Seavey (right)

IMPACT: What was the process like for you with regard to engaging with IMPACT Melanoma and figuring out the logistics of whether or not this was even possible?

Simmons: The engagement process with IMPACT Melanoma was seamless. Laurie Seavey was a great communicator as she navigated me through the process. She was very diligent and detailed when explaining the necessary steps that would need to be taken in order to make this process a success! I had confidence and believed in this initiative, therefore I knew if I could get my Assistant Director, Michelle Park equally excited, logistics would become a minor detail.

IMPACT: Whom did you pull in from the community to help with obtaining these machines?

Simmons: I reached out to Florida Skin Cancer & Dermatology Specialists PA, an Anonymous Skin Protection Advocate and UF Health College of Dermatology.

IMPACT: What, in your estimation is the importance of having these dispensers in place? Feel free to share any personal experiences with combating the suns UV rays, etc.

Simmons: The importance of having sunscreen dispensers in our parks and facilities is vast. The installation of sunscreen dispensers will allow everyone, no matter color, age, or economic status, the opportunity to use “free sunscreen.” For our City to take the lead and become stewards of this great community, it’s an awesome service and accomplishment I feel proud to be involved with.

IMPACT: What excites you on a personal and “business” level about seeing this project through to fruition?

Simmons: I’m excited about this project because it has the potential to save lives. Anytime I have a chance to impact in someone’s life (in a positive way), It makes my job fulfilling and gratifying! On a personal level it allows me to interact with people that are not aware of the dangers of skin cancer. This project has given me the opportunity to educate a certain population that would have otherwise been clueless and to see it come into fruition is awesome!

Making IMPACT in the City of Gainesville

IMPACT: What sort of impact does this project leave on your community and what are next steps in assuring that they are properly utilized and taken advantage of?

Simmons: I’m not sure of the impact this will have but I’m hoping it’s a lasting one! I’m also hoping that this initiative will change the way our residents and visitors look at overexposure to the sun and use precautionary methods such as applying sunscreen!

IMPACT: What’s your battle cry sound like with regard to getting surrounding communities in your area, and across the globe, to adopt a similar proactive approach to helping combat skin cancer with these dispensing devices?

Simmons: Cancer DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. Apply sunscreen today – Tomorrow maybe too late!

To learn how you to can get involved, contact us today!

Effective Sunscreen Tips: An Essential Foundation for Healthy Skin

December 6th, 2016

Everyone needs sunscreen to protect their skin from damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun, but not everyone understands how to use sunscreen effectively. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there are three things to look for in a sunscreen:

• Sun Protection Factor no less than 30
• Broad-spectrum (for UVA and UVB rays)
• Water resistance

This is the minimum recommendation from the AAD for protecting your skin against the sun’s harmful rays when you will be participating in outdoor activities in direct sunlight.

When to Use Sunscreen

Anytime you expect to be in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes, you should apply sunscreen. While most people only think to use sunscreen when they are visiting the beach or gardening, any bright day where you are outside can expose you to harmful UVA and UVB rays, even during the winter months. People who enjoying skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are no more immune to sunburn than those who enjoy playing baseball or tennis. The sun’s rays can damage your skin in any season, not just summer.

SPF
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to a sunscreen’s ability to block sunburn-causing ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do a great job of protecting against UVB. The higher the SPF rating, the longer it will take for skin to noticeably burn. In terms of percentages, SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%. These may seem like marginal differences, but they’re meaningful especially if you have a history of skin cancer. But no sunscreen blocks all UVB rays, so it’s still important to seek shade whenever possible, and reapply sunscreen often.

Remember to Reapply

Being active outdoors is great, but you need to make sure your skin is protected at all times. When biking, running, or doing any activity that causes you to sweat, you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. When swimming, it is especially important to dry your skin and reapply sunscreen after leaving the water. If you are using a non-waterproof sunscreen, you may want to reapply no less than every hour, which may mean leaving the water and reapplying for maximum protection. For waterproof sunscreens, it is best to reapply after two hours or follow the directions on the container.

Become an Advocate

Once you know how to use sunscreen effectively, you can become an advocate for sun safety by helping others use sunscreen effectively. Encourage your friends to take an interest in their skin health. If you have kids, talk to them as you apply their sunscreen so they understand why you are putting it on them. You also can be an advocate by visibly reapplying your own sunscreen while you are out in the sun.
For more information on how to reduce your risk of skin cancer, and for additional educational resources, visit our home page or contact us directly.

Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative Aims to Reduce College Students’ Skin Cancer Risk

September 1st, 2016

WASHINGTON (Aug. 31, 2016) — Indoor tanning before age 35 increases one’s risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent, and that risk increases with each use. Despite the danger, however, nearly 60 percent of college students have used an indoor tanning bed — and some of them never had to leave campus to do so.

According to a 2014 study, 48 percent of universities have indoor tanning facilities either on campus or in off-campus housing, while 14.4 percent allow students to pay for indoor tanning using campus cash cards. “Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young women, and that may be partially attributable to indoor tanning behaviors,” says Sherry L. Pagoto, PhD, lead author of the study and co-chair of the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative. “By making tanning devices so easily accessible, colleges are putting their students at risk for potentially deadly melanoma and other skin cancers.”

In response to The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has launched the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative, which aims to promote skin cancer prevention and education on college campuses. “One of the goals of the Call to Action is to reduce harms from indoor tanning, and we believe the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative is a big step in that direction,” says NCSCP Co-Chair Sophie J. Balk, MD. “By educating college students about skin cancer risk and eliminating indoor tanning on college campuses, we hope to reduce melanoma incidence down the road.”

Colleges that demonstrate their commitment to student health by promoting skin cancer prevention and education will be recognized with the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Award. To qualify for the award, colleges must prohibit indoor tanning facilities on campus and in university-promoted off-campus housing, as well as the use of campus cash cards to pay for indoor tanning services. Colleges also must adopt a formal indoor tan-free campus policy and offer a skin cancer education program in order to receive the award.

In conjunction with the launch of the initiative, East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., was honored as the inaugural Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Award recipient. “We hope ETSU and future honorees serve as role models for colleges and universities across the nation,” says board-certified dermatologist Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, co-chair of the Indoor Tan-Free Skin Smart Campus Initiative.

Award nominations may be submitted via the initiative’s website, which also includes resources for college students and administrators who are interested making their school a Skin Smart Campus.  For more information, visit SkinSmartCampus.org.

About the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention is the united voice of more than 45 organizations, associations and agencies dedicated to preventing skin cancer through education, advocacy and raising awareness.  National Council members represent the nation’s premiere physicians, researchers, clinicians and advocates for melanoma and skin cancer prevention.  For more information, visitSkinCancerPrevention.org.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

May 2nd, 2016

Today is officially to kick off to Melanoma Awareness Month, a national effort to increase awareness about the deadliest form of skin cancer.

IMPACT Melanoma is launching it’s third national program of the year, The Skinny On Skin. As some of the only professionals to closely examine skin on a regular basis, stylists, estheticians, nail technicians, and other skin professionals are in a unique position to spot melanoma on a client long before anyone else. The Skinny On Skin will teach you how to screen for suspicious moles while performing common salon services.

That’s not all IMPACT Melanoma has been up to. After launching our Practice Safe Skin nationally program back in January, we are proud to announce that our sunscreen dispenser units will be installed at 54 locations in 12 states across the country. The program provides free sunscreen to communities to help reduce the incidents of melanoma.

Finally, IMPACT Melanoma is hosting it’s 5th annual Martinis For Melanoma Providence on Thursday, May 12 at 1149 Restaurant.

The overall message of the month is to remember to get your skin checked, spread the word and share the message with those you love.

2016-Skinny-on-Skin-FINAL10898114_829611193768584_6373427922323156812_nPractice Safe Skin

 

 

 

 

FDA Hopes to Ban the Tan

April 6th, 2016

The FDA recently announced it has proposed important new regulations for the indoor tanning industry. Most significantly, the agency seeks to restrict indoor tanning to adults 18 years old and over. The new rules also aim to improve the safety of tanning beds, as well as force tanning booth manufacturers and operators to openly disclose the health risks of tanning to customers.
Under the proposed regulations, customers at tanning salons would have to sign documents stating their knowledge of the risks involved in tanning before their first session and every six months after that. In addition, tanning booth manufacturers would be required to prominently display health warnings on their devices. It is important to note, however, that these new rules have not been implemented yet, and will be reviewed after a 90 day period set aside for public comment.
While these proposals are a step in the right direction, it is crucial that they are in fact implemented. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and its growth has actually increased in the last few years. Skin cancer is caused by many things, from genetic predisposition to overexposure to the sun, but the damage done by indoor tanning is especially tragic because it is completely avoidable. The possibility of dramatically reducing the incidence of skin cancer purely through prevention is a situation similar to another cancer epidemic of the past: smoking-induced lung cancer.
Just as smoking once inordinately harmed teenagers, so does indoor tanning today. Tanning bed users often start as adolescents and continue tanning up through to their mid-20s. Almost one in three white high school girls tan indoors each year, with some starting as young as 14. Once begun, tanning tends to become a habit, with most tanners reporting 10 or more visits to the salon a year. And while tanning always entails an increased risk of skin cancer, studies have shown that starting at an early age is especially dangerous.
But where does this desire to tan come from? In large part, the problem is one of old, stubborn ideas and ignorance clashing with recent scientific evidence. Once again, there is an obvious parallel with smoking and lung cancer. Smoking was once valued for its purported weight loss effects and cool factor, attitudes that died hard, even in the face of all evidence to the contrary. A common misperception about tan skin is that it is actually a sign of good health, and is seen by many as attractive and desirable. The harm these ideas cause is compounded by the fact that many people are unaware of the real danger that overexposure to UV rays entails. Indoor tanning would not be looked at in such a benign way if more people knew that tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer) by 75 percent.
Luckily, the similarity between smoking and tanning also means there is already a road map to a solution. The FDA’s proposed regulations in many ways mirror the laws that led to the decline of smoking and lung cancer rates in America. Allowing children to engage in behavior proven to cause cancer is an obvious mistake, and banning minors from tanning salons would at the very least protect them in their youngest and most vulnerable years. Requiring tanning salons to inform customers of tanning’s risks before accepting their business would act in a similar manner as cancer warnings on cigarette packages, and hopefully dissuade a significant number of potential tanners.
Finally, it must be acknowledged that while critical, these new rules would not be the end to preventing indoor tanning and skin cancer, but just the beginning. While the government restrictions on age of purchase and advertising of tobacco helped, what really led to the lower rates of smoking we see today was the fundamental shift in public attitudes regarding the practice. Smoking was once thought to be cool, a sign of youthful rebellion and independence. That mirage has been replaced by images of racking coughs and trachea tubes—and since lost its broad appeal. Tanning will not see comparable results until the cultural myths surrounding it (tans are healthy, tans are sexy, etc.) are widely dispelled as well. All the more reason to start the process now with strong rules to protect and inform the public.

Georgetown investigates myths and facts of indoor tanning

November 9th, 2015

Georgetown Tanning GraphicIt’s a well-known and documented fact that excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays has adverse effects on your health. Despite knowledge of these risks, indoor tanning studios haven’t gone out of business. Nursing@Georgetown, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies’ Online Master of Science degree in Nursing program, developed an interactive graphic, to illustrate misconceptions surrounding indoor tanning and how dangerous this activity actually is.

They decided to investigate tanning because, among the causes of cancer, it seems to be one that is actually gaining popularity. For example, the number of people who tan has not followed the trend of smoking, which has been whittled down to a core group of smokers. Tanning rates are high among young women in particular, and Nursing@Georgetown hopes the interactive graphic reaches young people who might know in the back of their head that tanning is dangerous, but find the peer pressure substantial enough to overwhelm their common sense.

Who Is Tanning?

In the 2010 National Health Interview survey, 5.6 percent of adults reported using indoor tanning devices during the previous year. The highest prevalence of indoor tanning (32 percent) was among white women ages 18 to 21, followed by white women ages 22 to 25 (30 percent). Additionally, 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data showed that 13 percent of high school students had used an indoor tanning device in the previous year. The highest prevalence of tanning was among older, white, female high school students. However, it’s not just women who are using indoor tanning devices: Another study found that 39 percent of men younger than 40 tan at some point in their lives.

What Are the Risks Associated With Indoor Tanning?

There are tremendous risks associated with indoor tanning. Using an indoor tanning device even once is associated with a 20 percent increase in the risk of developing melanoma. Indoor tanning before age 35 is associated with an 87 percent increase in the risk of developing melanoma, and the risk increases 1.8 percent with each additional indoor tanning session per year. Additionally, men are less likely to use sunscreen than women and are approximately twice as likely to die from melanoma than women.

Where Do People Tan?

There are more tanning facilities in cities with higher percentages of white residents and lower UV indexes. Nationwide, the number of indoor tanning facilities outnumbers Starbucks Cafes.

When Do People Tan?

Teenagers and adults are most likely to tan in preparation for special events, such as formal dances, weddings, and vacations.

Why Do People Tan?

There are a variety of reasons that people tan, some of which are associated with misconceptions of the true dangers of UV rays. There is a false perception that obtaining a “base tan” will prevent future sunburns, but one study found that indoor tanning was actually associated with a marginal increase in the risk of burn. Additionally, some believe that people look better with a tan and that there are associated health benefits. Finally, poor body image, depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder, behavioral addiction, and social influences have an impact on if and when an individual uses an indoor tanning device.

Visit the original blog post for more research and full citations.

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