Q & A with Bruce Shanks, President, Caribbean Sol & Hawaiian Sol LLC, Orlando, FL, USA.
I owned and operated one of the largest pool and beach concessions in Florida and the Caribbean for many years. Along with rental items, my staff was trained to sell sun care products to the guests. Over time I saw that this sunscreen (a popular brand) did not do all that it claimed. Plus, I knew the chemicals used in those kinds of sunscreens were acid based and concluded that radiation from the sun and those chemicals were not the best combination. Guests at these resorts relied on our suggestions for many things, so I began exploring natural ingredients for a new sunscreen. My goal was to produce a product that was compatible with nature and also protected the skin from both UVB and UVA rays. Chemical sunscreen products only block UVB rays. I was also close to the boat operators in these communities, and they spoke quite often about of how destructive the chemical sunscreens were to the Marine Eco Systems.
I was introduced to a microbiologist who specializes in formulating natural body care ingredients, and we have been working together ever since. It has been over 14 years now.
WHAT IS A BIODEGRADABLE SUNSCREEN? WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?
A biodegradable sunscreen is one that blends with its natural surroundings. Basically, that means the biodegradable ingredients become one with their natural surroundings and do not combat, or repel, the environment it enters.
The chemicals, oxybenzone for instance, block only the UVB rays. Those are the least harmful kind. So you are still exposed to UVA rays. Another problem that science has identified from studies done in Hawaii is that the oxybenzone in these sunscreens have bleached their coral reefs, and there has been a die-off in some areas. That begins a negative chain of events affecting the plankton and the fish moving up the food chain. We need to stop polluting our oceans with harmful chemicals.
Reef safe means that a product can be used in environments where reef systems are located; they have no effect on the reefs and their food source.
It was an SPF 25 chemical-free, natural sunscreen.
AND WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS HAVE YOU ADDED?
We have added three grades of sunscreen to our original product. We now also have Kid Kare SPF 30, Kukui Body Silk which is a skin conditioning lotion, Icy Relief Gel, Faces Only SPF 20, Sport SPF 30, and hair care products that are sodium sulfate and paraben free.
HOW ARE YOUR PRODUCTS DIFFERENT THAN THE BRAND-NAMES THAT DOMINATE THE MARKET?
We use only 100% natural ingredients, no chemicals, non-nano natural zinc.
Chemicals are relatively cheap and go a long way, that is why they are the standard in most consumer products. True natural ingredients are a bit more costly but better for your body and for the environment.
WHERE CAN I BUY YOUR PRODUCTS?
You can go to our website [see link above] to shop online, or you can find us on Amazon, Vitashop, iHerb, and a few other online retailers. Plus, you can find our products at many resort hotel shops in Florida and Hawaii, and at certain marina shops in Cancun, Mexico.
WHAT DO YOU HEAR FROM CONSUMERS WHO HAVE USED YOUR PRODUCTS?
We have a very loyal following. Many have written us telling us that they can now go in the sun and not be scared of burning due to their fair skin, as many would try popular brands and their skin would burn due to the ingredients and the UVA rays. Parents have written telling us they use nothing but our products on their children because it is the only brand that works for them.
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