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Maria Sharapova, tennis superstar and Supergoop! co-owner, has teamed-up with Holly Thaggard, Supergoop! founder and long time advocate for all things sun protection, to use her passion and social reach in an effort to raise awareness of the devastating facts that surround skin cancer. With the launch of Project Black Dot, an education and awareness platform, Maria, Holly and Supergoop! are on a mission to end the epidemic of skin cancer through activism projects.


What was the inspiration behind Project 1 in this campaign, Project Permission?

Project 1: Permission was inspired by an incident Holly Thaggard personally experienced. On September 23, 2011 Emery Thaggard, Holly’s then 6 year old daughter, came home from school with a note in her backpack for a field trip the class would be taking to a local state park. This note stated, “Please apply sunscreen liberally in the morning. Any sunscreen found in your child’s backpack during the day will be discarded.” While Holly had faced this OTC regulation years prior when she first started Supergoop! as a brand that would provide sunscreen and sunscreen education to schools, this occurrence reignited her desire to make change happen.

How is Maria Sharapova involved?

Having grown up under the sun on the tennis courts of Florida, sunscreen was a daily and enforced habit for Maria. When she joined the brand, she was shocked to discover that not only is suncare application not commonplace for most US children at school but that this regulation, in fact, restricts it. She was inspired to make this the first activism project that Project Black Dot would tackle.

So what does this mean for children today?

Last July, the Surgeon General declared that skin cancer is a national health concern and pointed to sunburns during childhood as a clear risk factor for skin cancer later in life. Did you know that only 3 states in the US currently openly allow children to bring sunscreen to public school? Most states restrict sunscreen use in public schools without a signed permission slip because the FDA regulates it as an over the counter (OTC) drug.

What is an OTC drug and why is sunscreen regulated as such?

Drugs that are safe and effective for use by the general public without a prescription are defined as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The FDA classifies sunscreen as an OTC drug in an effort to ensure that manufacturers meet current standards for safety and effectiveness and to help consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families.*

Which states DO allow sunscreen in public schools?

California, Oregon, and Texas are currently the only states that openly allow sunscreen in public schools.

Holly Thaggard & Maria Sharapova

Supergoop! Co-Owners and Project Black Dot founders, Holly Thaggard and Maria Sharapova.

How do parents get involved to help protect their children?

To kick off our campaign we are putting the power to protect our children in the hands of parents and schools. Project 1: Permission provides a simple, downloadable permission slip that gives children the ability to carry and apply sunscreen at school.

You can get your slip at ProjectBlackDot.org.

How can I help spread the word about Project Black dot?

Get social for the cause! We are encouraging everyone who signs the permission slip to share their photos with us with on Instagram and Twitter with #projectblackdot. Authentic images shared with your community would go a long way in spreading the word.

I’d like to get involved in a larger way by providing support from my company, school or advocacy group. Can I do this? Who do I speak with?

We’re so glad you’ve asked! We’ve created a digital tool kit which includes everything you need to help support Project Black Dot. To learn more and get access to the PBD tool kit, please email [email protected]

I love this campaign! Any idea what the next Project will be?

While we can’t give away too much right now we can tell you that it might involve putting your shyness aside and stripping down in the name of sun safety! Stay tuned!


*Source: FDA