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

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.

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

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,

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.

The Melanoma Foundation of New England 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 the MFNE 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, the MFNE 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.

Why Sun-Protective Clothing Isn’t Just For Summer

October 19th, 2015

Hopefully you remember to put on high quality sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing during the summer. But what about the rest of the year? If you think you’re safe from the sun just because it’s cold or cloudy, think again.

Today I’ll reveal the truth about the importance of sun protection throughout the year. I’ll bust a few commonly held myths and help you understand why you need to be aware of the sun throughout the year.
What Causes Sunburn?

Surprise: It’s not the sun!

Well it is, but not necessarily in the way that most people imagine.

Many people believe that if it’s cloudy and they can’t see the sun, there’s no risk of sunburn. They think that their skin won’t be sun damaged if there’s no visible sun. Unfortunately, this is a very common and potentially dangerous misconception.

Even when you can’t see the sun, it’s still there– obviously. The sun provides heat and light through several different forms of energy. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is just one form of energy from the sun. But it’s what causes sunburns and other damage to your skin.

UV radiation is completely invisible to our eyes. But it’s always there and it’s always doing damage to your skin– unless you protect yourself
What About Cold & Cloudy Weather?CloudyWeather

Despite another common misconception, there’s no connection between temperature and UV radiation, according to a study by the Australian government.

Even during the colder months of fall and winter when temperatures are lower, UV radiation still reaches your skin and can cause sunburn, eye damage, and skin cancer, among other ailments.

Surprisingly, some types of clouds can actually intensify UV radiation, making the danger to your skin higher than if there were no clouds at all.
How About Snow?

When UV raSnowys come into contact with snow, they bounce back up. That means you’ll receive extra UV radiation. It’s like a mirror on the ground, reflecting and intensifying UV radiation.

Because the reflected rays are coming from an unusual angle, we often forget to protect ourselves. Skiers and snowboarders should wear full-coverage snow goggles to prevent a condition known as snow-blindness.

Sun-Protective Fashion: Year Round!

Specially designed sun-protective clothing with a high UPF is a great way to protect your skin from sunburn and damage throughout the year.

Sun-protective clothing only works when you actually wear it. At SUMMERSKIN, we believe that sun-protective clothing needs to be something that you actually want to wear.

If you don’t like how a piece of sun-protective clothing looks, fits, or feels, you’re not going to want to wear it. That’s why we design our pieces to have both form and function.

That’s why we try to create pieces of clothing that look great all year round.Fashion
Respect the Sun– Don’t Be Afraid of It

The Sun can do real damage to your skin and to your health, but that doesn’t mean you need to fear the sun. You just need to respect it.

Just remember to wear the proper sun-protective clothing and sunscreen– no matter what time of year it is.



The SUSummerSkinPhotoMMERSKIN journey began in 2007, when founder Summer Kramer was diagnosed with melanoma on her lower left leg. Fortunately, she caught the cancerous mole very early, but it changed her life forever.

Following the surgery, and at her dermatologists recommendation, Summer rolled down her sleeves and started an exhaustive search for fun, stylish sun protective clothing.

To her dismay, all she could find were clothes that were either specifically designed for an outdoor activity — like running or surfing — or styles that targeted an older demographic.

What she wanted was stylish apparel that would protect her skin from harmful UV rays, while still maintaining a sense of versatility and expression. Something she could feel confident wearing to a picnic or an outdoor function, or just walking around the city.

And just like that, the idea for SUMMERSKIN was born.

SUMMERSKIN exists to bring health, happiness, and fun to your everyday lifestyle. We provide stylish sun protective apparel and accessories so people can have fun in the sun while protecting their skin and health.

With this purpose at our core, our 10-year vision is to reach 10 million people and increase awareness about the importance of sun protection.

Mike Trombley’s Experience with Basal Cell Carcinoma

May 4th, 2015

miketrombleyEver since I was a kid, I loved playing outside. Almost every day you could find me throwing a baseball or football or hitting a golf ball. I was lucky enough to be able to do that for a living for almost 20 years. I played professional baseball from 1989-2002 with the Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. After my baseball career ended in 2002, I played on the Celebrity Golfer Tour until 2008. What a great gig! Being in the sun all day was just up my alley.

Trombley-8511In 2001 with the Orioles, the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center was offering free skin cancer screenings for the team. As usual, I made excuses to myself not do it. I was only 33 years old. I never felt stronger and healthier in my life. Older people get skin cancer. But, I agreed to do it only because of all the screenings I had turned down in the past. The doctors immediately expressed concern to an area beneath my right eye. The next day I was at Johns Hopkins having the growth biopsied. It was diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Within 2 days, I had a nickel sized circle cut out of my cheek to remove the entire growth. 10 stitches later and I was back playing. The doctors urged me to stay committed to skin cancer screenings and to never go without sunscreen.

Before that day I had always made excuses to ignore certain problems. I was the kind of guy to overlook health related issues. Since that day I realized that early detection is the key to prevention in almost all health related problems. Many of my former MLB teammates and opponents have had similar skin problems. Some a lot worse! What would have happened if I continued making up excuses to not do the screening?

-Mike Trombley

MFNE’s Day at the Hill

March 31st, 2015

While we like to keep our feet on the ground at home with regional support groups and community events for anyone who has been affected by melanoma, we also know how important it is to never lose sight of the big picture: advocating for nationwide – and worldwide – improvements in melanoma research, prevention, and education. That’s why we recently headed to the capitol to make our mark on the 2015 Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) Advocacy Summit & Hill Day, an event that brought MFNE and many other advocates face to face with some of our nation’s top legislative leaders.

Our first day in Washington was spent discussing our goals with other participants, finding a common ground, and learning more about the legislative process. With an ambitious audience made up of survivors, family members, and community leaders from all over the country, we were off to a great start, but to make a lasting impression, we needed to present a united front for real change in the way we prevent, treat, and think about melanoma.

Exploring what works in the world of prevention, MFNE’s Meghan Rothschild presented the Your Skin Is In and Skinny On Skin programs and the #GetItChecked social media campaign. After they took off in our own communities within New England, we wanted our forward-thinking initiatives to inspire similar ventures in other states and on the national stage.

With the ultimate objectives of the event being improvements in funding and legislation, we also wanted to play a bigger role in setting Hill Day up for successful results. Serving on a panel discussion, we answered questions and shared tips on what to expect from testifying for tanning bed legislation. Together with other advocates on the panel, we hoped that our expertise would help the event’s less experienced participants find a voice during the following day’s meetings with high-profile legislative leaders.

Ending advocacy training on a high note, we were ready to bring our concerns to Capitol Hill, the heart of the American legislative process. Along with other members of today’s diverse melanoma community, we had a chance to meet with individual senators and representatives to talk about issues that we feel deserve national attention. While the MRF also advocated for additional funding, we kept our focus on promoting legislation that would ban the use of tanning beds for minors under the age of 18, a measure that could prevent lifelong skin damage in younger age groups.

As we continue to make a positive impact throughout New England, participating in events like Hill Day allows us to also remain on the front lines of raising awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers. Although much more work remains to be done, every step forward brings us closer to saving more lives and making melanoma history.

Constant Contact InnoLoft Program

February 26th, 2015

MFNE chosen for small business residency program in Waltham

Constant Contact’s Small Business Innovation Program is a residency designed to help startups drive new business with whole-spectrum marketing solutions. At the Melanoma Foundation of New England, we’ll reap the benefits of this opportunity for a four-month residency at the Innovation Loft (InnoLoft). We look forward to the substantial growth and expansion opportunities afforded by the program.

What Happens at the InnoLoft?

Residency at the Constant Contact InnoLoft means access to the company’s myriad resources to solve a variety of small business problems. The InnoLoft takes up 30,000 square feet of space and is touted by the company as a test kitchen, lab, playroom, launch pad, business school, and safe space all rolled into one. We’re proud to be the only non-profit organization chosen to take up residence at the InnoLoft.

During the program, our staff will learn about innovative marketing tactics to help drive interest in MFNE and will have access to the tools we need to attract new supporters and donors. We’ll also be competing with the other four participating companies to earn one of two extended residencies at the InnoLoft, courtesy of Constant Contact. For participating, our team will receive consulting, residence, and workspace at the InnoLoft, as well as mentors in the local venture capital and angel communities.

In addition to all the support and access to resources, the Innovation Program invites industry leaders to work with residency participants. Having access to successful entrepreneurs is a great way for participants to learn how to grow their organizations. Taking advantage of creative synergy is considered one of the most important benefits of working at the InnoLoft.

Looking Ahead With MFNE

For the MFNE team, residency at the InnoLoft means more than just access to resources. It means new opportunities to market the organization and build our education programs. We’ll be able to learn how to make the most of our marketing efforts so we can ensure that as many people in the greater New England area as possible will be aware of and have access to our support, information, and educational programs. We’ll use the resources to expand the reach of our organization by using technology to the reach of our award-winning programs

Learning how to successfully build and grow our organization is also one of our top priorities. We’re eager to learn new troubleshooting strategies that will assist us as we strive toward becoming a wide-reaching, efficient voice in the fight against melanoma.

Tanning Bed Regulations: How States Are Taking Action

February 17th, 2015

Regular use of tanning beds greatly increases your risk of melanomaYou might consider a tanning bed as your ticket to a perfect winter body, but overexposure to any form of ultraviolet (UV) light during your teens and in young adulthood can greatly increase your chances of getting skin cancer later in life. In fact, the increased risk of melanoma associated with tanning bed use is 59% for people whose first exposure to artificial UV rays in a tanning bed occurred before age 35 years. That risk increases with the number of tanning bed sessions per year. Because of these serious risks, policymakers in most states are cracking down on the use of tanning beds by minors.

Regulating Risk: Most States Are Taking Action

Although specific tanning bed regulations differ among states, there’s a serious nation-wide movement against allowing minors access to dangerous indoor tanning. At least 41 states have passed some type of legislation that regulates minors using tanning beds. Some areas make policies at the county or city level, including Howard County, Maryland; Danvers, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois. Vermont, Oregon, Minnesota, California, Delaware, Louisiana, Illinois, Texas, and Oregon ban the use of tanning facilities by anyone under 18 years of age state-wide. Since both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers are common, and both are linked to UV light and sun exposure, enacting measures that discourage the use of indoor tanning devices could potentially prevent a significant number of cases.

The Melanoma Foundation of New England will be represented in DC this March to help testify in support of tanning legislation. The event, known as the Melanoma Research Foundation’s Day on the Hill, has been organized by the Melanoma Research Center. You can learn more here.

It’s OK to Wear White in Winter

When someone mentions skin cancer risk due to sun exposure, baking on the beach in summer is generally what comes to mind. Unfortunately, once summer is over, many people, especially young females, turn to indoor tanning to maintain their deep summer tans. A dramatic uptick in tanning bed use occurs in the winter months. The younger you are, the more danger you face, but the use of tanning beds doesn’t just raise your cancer risk; it can also cause signs of premature aging. UV rays can also cause irreversible eye damage, and they can even suppress your immune function and leave you vulnerable to a number of diseases, including various types of cancer. Don’t become a skin cancer statistic. Embrace your light-colored, healthy skin, and live to enjoy more summers instead of taking on the golden hue of serious cell damage.

Now’s the Time to Take Action and Be Part of the Solution

Your Skin Is In is an educational, pledge-based program and contest that encourages teens and young adults to make a personal promise that they will protect the skin they’re in. Over the past 8 years, MFNE has traveled all over New England, exposing over 100,000 students to this educational program. Get started by pledging here.

If You Have Questions About Tanning and Melanoma Risk, We Can Help

At the Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE), we provide a variety of educational programs that focus on early detection and treatment of skin cancer in people of all ages. Head over to our main page for more skin cancer facts, support groups, and free one-on-one patient advocacy services.

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