Behind the Brand with Raw Elements
Raw Elements is a line of natural sunscreen created by someone who knows all about the importance of sun protection – a 20 year Ocean Rescue Lifeguard. We asked founder Brian Guadagno about why he started his own line of sunscreen, and if we really need to wear it in the winter.
1. You were a lifeguard for 20 years. Can you tell us about it?
I have been very fortunate over the last 20 years to work with a very professional group of young men and women, many of whom have become very close friends. I joined this team when I was 16 years old. I can say for myself as a young person, and now as I help coach the younger members, the experience develops a maturity and expanded way of thinking. What I love most about lifeguarding at Narragansett Town Beach is the energy and challenge that comes along with 10,000 patrons on a summer day. The day can, and does, change at any moment, and in an instant we are presented with game-time decisions to save lives. It is good to see my fellow lifeguards all working as a team to keep the public safe.
2. How did your experience as a lifeguard influence the development of your line?
Lifeguarding on the ocean is all about safety, and our team is always training hard to make sure they are on top of it all. As the rates of skin cancer have been increasing, and through my own research, I felt that I needed to take a new stance on sun safety. As more research came out about the harmful effects of the traditional chemical sunscreen, my discovery turned in a passion, and I decided to make a difference in the sun care industry. I felt a responsibility to do so.
3. Raw Elements is very eco-friendly and your company has a strong commitment to the environment. Where does your passion and connection to nature come from?
My passion for the outdoors stems from my love of the ocean. I have been very blessed to have spent the last 21 summers on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. One of the things that has always disappointed me is seeing people leave their trash on the beach after a long day. It is a major issue for all of us and to wildlife that also calls that beach and ocean home. Through my research, I learned about the harmful affects of sunscreen on our waterways and our reefs. As a company, we are all outdoor / ocean enthusiasts and, as is our consumer base. We have an obligation to educate our consumers and also to ensure we implement the best practices available to keep our outdoors protected.
4. In Canada there tends to be the feeling that in the colder months it’s okay to skip wearing sunscreen. What can you tell Canadians about year-round sun protection?
Sun care needs to be a year round mindset for people that spend time outdoors. For people that like to spend time participating in winter sports like skiing, Hiking, snowshoeing etc., it is important to know that when the UV rays reflect off the snow, it magnifies the intensity of the rays. This coupled with the fact that many of these activities take place at higher altitude on mountains, there is less atmosphere to filter out these the UV rays. Additionally cold winds can really do damage on the skin and dry out it out. This is why you see so many people with strong goggle burns after a long day of the slopes. The increased UV exposure and wind burns can really do a number on the skin.
5. Canada has a lot of great year-round outdoor activities, including Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. What Raw Elements products do you recommend for hitting the slopes?
We have recently released our plastic-free tins that make the formula very easy to apply in cold conditions, and it is very easy to control how much you want to put on your skin. You no longer need to warm the tube up in your winter jacket to squeeze out the formula. The Eco Sticks also have a higher concentration of Beeswax that helps protect the skin from intense winds that can also be common during many of these great winter sports. For people who don’t like the traditional White Zinc based products, we also have both of these products in a tinted version that blends very nicely with a variety of skin tones.