Dermatone Sunscreens

Part 7 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Based in Windsor Locks, Conn., Dermatone Laboratories has been producing its trademark line of sunscreen products for nearly 30 years.

Though the company produces a full line of sunscreen and lip balm products, they are best known for their line of waterfree sunscreens for cold weather sports—activities like mountaineering, skiing, winter hiking, and other UV-intensive activities (snow reflects a lot of UV, radically increasing exposure in sunny conditions). Their iconic, indestructible mini-tins for lip and face protection can be found in the pockets of countless cold-weather adventurers around the world.

For the most extreme UV conditions, some Dermatone sunscreens contain zinc oxide, which physically (as opposed to chemically) blocks UV rays for prolonged periods. For a long time, zinc oxide sunscreens were always a thick, opaque white (think the classic white lifeguard nose at the beach). These days, however, transparent zinc oxide formulations are now available, including the Z-Cote Mini Tin (0.5 ounces, $6) and Z-Cote Sunscreen Creme (4 ounces, $12).

Some Dermatone products feature a prominent Swedish flag, even though the company is based in Connecticut and manufactures all of its products in the USA. The reason for the flag appears to be this: The company traces its roots back to Sweden, where Dermatone owner/founder Ric Nelson discovered the original Dermatone formula from a local pharmacist in 1966. After purchasing the rights to the formula, Nelson established Dermatone USA. You can read the full story here.

Dermatone is the official sunscreen sponsor for the US Ski Team and, as many of its products say, is Everest-tested. As the Dermatone web site says, "Since 1981, we have been creating Dermatone sunscreens specifically for the outdoor 'addict.' "

Support your Northeast gear companies! Check out the others I've profiled in recent months:

Delorme (Yarmouth, Maine)
Ibex Outdoor Clothing (White River Junction, Vt.)
Jetboil (Manchester, N.H.)
New England Ropes (Fall River, Mass.)
Nemo Equipment (Manchester, N.H.)
Orion Signal and Survival Products (Easton, M.D.)

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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