NEW YORK, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on the success of last year's inaugural Time Out, Protect Your Skin (TOPS) initiative, La Roche-Posay and the Women's Dermatologic Society (WDS) are going national. Launching this year in five public and private schools across the country, the TOPS program will increase awareness about sun protection and instill good skin health habits for young children by integrating sun safety education into the curriculum at targeted schools.
The result of a joint effort between La Roche-Posay, known for its long-standing expertise in UV sun protection, and the WDS, an organization dedicated to encouraging women to achieve their greatest potential in the dermatological field, TOPS is designed to educate and inform children at an early age about the importance of safe sun practices. Studies show that only 25% of children apply sunscreen when going outside1 and that having one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence can more than double an individual's chances of developing a melanoma later in life2. Furthermore, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans is expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
These key findings were what motivated La Roche-Posay to support the WDS's ongoing Play Safe in the Sun campaign via the brand's award-winning SOS – Save Our Skin program to launch the TOPS initiative last year. Through engaging activities inside and outside of the classroom, TOPS made a significant impact in raising awareness about skin cancer and sun protection at New York City's Grace Church School, the first recipient of the TOPS' sun-safe makeover campaign.
"We're very excited to expand the reach of the TOPS program," says Angela Bennett, Vice President of La Roche-Posay. "Partnering with WDS dermatologists to educate children, parents and teachers proved to be a great success last year. That's why we felt compelled to do our part and take this initiative to a national level this year in order to inform more students – and the general public – about skin cancer prevention and the importance of adhering to safe sun practices at an early age."
As part of this year's TOPS initiative, outreach will take place at five schools, including three public schools: Encinal Elementary School in Atherton, California, Forest Park School in LaGrange, Illinois, and Lakeview School in Sarasota, Florida, and two private schools: Mullen High School in Denver, Colorado, and the Avenues School in New York City.
In addition to "sun-proofing" each school by installing shade-bearing awnings and other methods of shade protection over highly trafficked play areas, the TOPS initiative supplies schools with La Roche-Posay's Anthelios sunscreen, informational pamphlets and UV bracelets that change color to let students know when they are being exposed to UV rays. The program also seeks to educate students and the public by integrating grade-level appropriate materials (provided by the American Skin Association) into the curriculum and organizing educational presentations by WDS members.
"It's more important than ever to inform children about the harmful effects of UV rays and what steps they can take to keep their skin healthy," says Amy Paller, MD, WDS President (2013-2014) and respected pediatric dermatologist known for her expertise regarding children's sun protection. "Through our partnership with La Roche-Posay, the TOPS initiative enables us to effectively communicate the importance of sun safety in the classroom and on the playground, and we're thrilled to be able to go national with this very important program."
 Study conducted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, epidemiologist Stephen Dusza.
 The Skin Cancer Foundation www.skincancer.org.
The Women's Dermatologic Society, founded in 1973, is dedicated to helping dermatologists fulfill their greatest potential and assisting them in making a contribution to the specialty and society. To achieve this goal, the Society relies on the active participation of its members, who represent a diverse cross-section of professional subspecialties. The mission of the Women's Dermatologic Society is to support dermatologists by striving to: promote leadership and the development of relationships through mentoring and networking; demonstrate a commitment to service through community outreach and volunteerism; provide a forum for communications and research relevant to women's and family issues; advocate excellence in patient care and education, and promote the highest ethical standards. www.playsafeinthesun.org and www.womensderm.org
About LA ROCHE-POSAY
Recommended by more than 25,000 dermatologists worldwide, La Roche-Posay offers a unique range of daily skincare developed with dermatologists to meet their standards in efficacy, tolerance and elegant textures for increased compliance. The products, which are developed using a strict formulation charter, include a minimal number of ingredients to reduce side effects and reactivity and are formulated with active ingredients at optimal concentrations for increased efficacy. Additionally, La Roche-Posay products undergo stringent clinical testing to guarantee efficacy and safety, even on sensitive skin.
For additional information about La Roche-Posay, visit www.laroche-posay.us and "like" the La Roche-Posay Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LaRochePosayusa. Download the La Roche-Posay "My UV Check" iPhone application at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/myuvcheck-us/id433207689?mt=8.
About SOS – Save Our Skin
Now in its fourth year, La Roche-Posay continues its SOS – Save Our Skin to not only inform Americans about the dangers of UV rays and the importance of sun safety, but to also incite true behavioral change, such as incorporating sun protection in their daily routines and visiting their dermatologists for regular skin checks. In partnership with the Women's Dermatologic Society (WDS), the SOS – Save Our Skin campaign lives through a series of initiatives, including skin checks at sporting events, local hospitals and drug stores as well as free skin checks offered to all L'Oréal corporate employees. To learn how to do a self-check and choose the right protection, visit www.sossaveourskin.com.
SOURCE La Roche-Posay