Portland Dermatologist Creates Skin Care Product Based on Maine Marine Life
Seaweed harvesters and lobster fishermen inspired a skin care line.
Living and working in Maine, dermatologist J. Michael Taylor provides free melanoma screenings as part of the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual public screenings initiative. One day, he was screening Maine fishermen and noticed that those who harvested seaweed, particularly Laminaria digitata (a dark brown seaweed found from Greenland to Cape Cod) had smoother and more hydrated hands compared with fishermen and lobstermen who handle, well, fish and lobster.
This led Taylor to look further into the hydrating properties of seaweed and other sea life that have SPF boosters, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and minerals. Because of that, Taylor says the ocean is a treasure trove of natural remedies.
“I participated in a free melanoma screening at the annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum,” Taylor says. “I noticed that the hands of seaweed harvesters were smooth and moist while those of lobstermen and fishermen were rough and dry. Our next step was to find and work with a highly experienced chemist who would help to create a product, as natural as possible, using only mineral sunscreens, that was transparent on the skin, felt good, was fragrance free, and looked great.”
Taylor and his team then created Brightwater Bay Science, a Maine-based company whose goal is to help reduce the risk of skin cancers, long-term skin damage, and premature aging caused by sun exposure, all by harnessing the power of marine ingredients. The company’s first product is Ocean Elements Sheer Daily Moisture SPF 30 ($38).
The water resistant formula (for up to 80 minutes) is free of fragrance, PABA, parabens, BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals. It’s rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to help even skin tone, alleviate redness, and calm and rejuvenate skin. It has to be—especially if it’s going to help the fishermen in Maine.
“I’ve seen individuals of all ages who recognized the importance of daily sun protection, but struggled to find sunscreens that weren’t greasy, thick, or filled with questionable chemicals,” Taylor says. “Even with scores of products available, I found it impossible to point my patients to an effective, cosmetically acceptable, natural, and hydrating sunscreen. So we developed Ocean Elements to address this need.”
Up to 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Ocean Elements will be donated to non-profit organizations involved in health care or the environment, including Konbit Sante, a health care initiative in northern Haiti founded by Taylor and his wife, Wendy.
Reps say that the next product in the line will be a night cream. We’re looking forward to it.