Each year millions of Americans are affected by skin cancer and it’s becoming more and more apparent that our days of sun bathing for that perfect tan may not be worth it. Supergoop co-owner and tennis star, Maria Sharapova, along with Supergoop founder Holly Thaggard have decided to do something about it with their new initiative, Project Black Dot. The project is a new advocacy and activism platform with the singular mission of ending the epidemic of skin cancer and changing the future of skin health in America.
It kicks off with Project Permission, and opportunity to educate kids on the importance of sunscreen by providing downloadable permission slips for parents to sign for their children to bring sunscreen to school. The goal is to get 100,000 sun safe students with signed permission slips. Sharapova gave Yahoo Beauty the scoop on her suncare routine and what we can expect from Project Black Dot.
Yahoo Beauty: When did this idea begin for you and Holly?
Maria Sharapova: The idea behind Project Black Dot has been something Holly and I spoke on before I actually invested in the brand. I’ve always been mindful of protecting my skin as I spend so much time outdoors. People today are less engaged in every day, year-round suncare habits, but it’s exactly this incidental, unprotected exposure to UV rays over the course of a lifetime that creates much of the damage that leads to skin cancer. I wanted to help spread the word about teaching and empowering kids.
In joining the Supergoop team I was shocked to learn that due to FDA regulations, most kids in the U.S. (47 out of 50 states) are restricted from bringing sunscreen to school without a permission slip because it’s classified as an over the counter drug. Our first project, Project Permission, is aiming to put power back into the hands of parents and schools by providing a simple, downloadable permission slip through the website ProjectBlackDot.org which parents can sign to allow their children to carry and apply sunscreen at school.
What is the most shocking fact you’ve learned about skin cancer from taking on this project?
My eyes have been opened to many shocking facts about skin cancer since joining the team, but I have to say most surprising to me is the sheer volume of people that will be affected by skin cancer. The yearly diagnosis of skin cancer significantly outweighs those of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer in their life and yet it’s a disease that is not spoken about with the frequency or amplification that it demands. Here’s another one: Skin cancer is primarily preventable.
What would you like to see the result be on a grand scale in terms of sunscreen education?
It is so important that people understand that skin cancer does not discriminate based on age, sex, or skin tone and that any tan is a sign of sun damage. School policies in the United States must change to allow and encourage sunscreen on school campus in all states. I’ve always been diligent about using sunscreen throughout my childhood and I believe wholeheartedly that until kids embrace this daily habit we are not going to stem the epidemic of skin cancer. Too many children in the U.S. are not as fortunate as I was to learn early on that suncare isskincare.
How often do you reapply your sunscreen every day?
If I’m in direct sunlight, whether that’s on the court, at the beach, walking around, or having lunch outside, I’ll apply every 2 hours. That’s about how long sunscreen is effective. The product I use depends on where I am. Supergoop! Defense Refresh Mist ($12) is a really easy way to re-apply when you’re on the go but still want to protect your face after you’ve applied make-up at the start of the day. You can keep it in your bag and spray it on throughout the day.
Do you believe sunscreen should even be handed out in schools or at least readily accessible for children to wear?
Absolutely! Applying and reapplying sunscreen is something that was ingrained in me since I started playing tennis, I didn’t go outside without it. Why should it be any different for kids in the schoolyard or those participating in after school sports? Because we know that no sunscreen lasts all day and all schools have afternoon and after school activities, sun damage is inevitable without reapplication.