Our founder, our story.
S4 Suncare is the brainchild of entrepreneur and innovator Dawn Kerby, a single mom and Idaho native. Dawn’s 15-year career in the pharmaceutical industry educated her in biochemistry, disease management, treatments, and prevention. She gained experience in many therapeutic areas from Cardiology to medical anti-aging treatments like BOTOX COSMETIC. Early in her career, however, Dawn was diagnosed with a retinal degenerative disease called R.P. (Retinitis Pigmentosa). RP leads to tunnel vision and for some, complete blindness. This diagnosis would necessitate an eventual career shift to one that wasn’t driving dependent.
While it was well established in the medical aesthetics marketplace that mineral sunscreens were the gold standard due to their inherent photostability, the rest of the retail world seemed unaware of these differences. Outside of the medical marketplace there were very few mineral options and the ones that were available were thick, white, and pasty. Dawn explains the differences between typical mass-market chemical sunscreens and natural sunscreens:
“Chemical sunscreens begin breaking down the minute you put them on, they lack photostability,” she explains. “The sun—the very thing it’s protecting against—actually degrades its efficacy. At some point, it stops working, but you don’t know when that point is. Natural sunscreens, on the other hand, block or reflect the sun’s dangerous UV rays. When they’re on, they’re working. They are inherently photostable. They don’t break down.”
While doing her research, she read an article put out by National Geographic suggesting a correlation between the damage of coral reefs and the chemical actives used in non-mineral sunscreens, she decided the world needed better mineral sunscreens, why not make it happen?
To challenge the Status Quo. To create a new generation of user-friendly mineral sunscreens, good for both people and the planet. These sunscreens would defy the old stereotypes of the lifeguard white nose paste, not something anyone wanted to wear all over. S4 Sunscreens needed to be lightweight but must still stand up to the rigors of intense water sports. All products would take an anti-aging approach and include antioxidants, vitamins and plant extracts that would promote wellness with every application. This was the beginning of S4 Suncare. The actual journey was a multi-year, self-funded project that resulted in world-class sun protection and some amazing after sun products. Maybe it was a “God” thing, who knows, but the timing was crazy. In 2014, the same year of the product launch, Dawn would learn she needed to stop driving thus retire from her career in pharmaceutical sales.
The success of S4 Sport Suncare products spun off to other daily use anti-aging products. We are still innovating and making a difference in people’s lives with our clean, anti-aging, high performance formulas that are both people and planet friendly. “It’s not a far stretch from the pharmaceutical industry. I still get to do what I love, which is helping others and promoting wellness.”
When asked about her vision loss, Dawn jokes, “While I absolutely miss driving a car, I don’t miss dealing with traffic. Seriously though, I am grateful to still have my central vision. I try not to dwell on the vision I’ve lost but live every day to the fullest and focus on all I have gained. I am a big believer in gratitude and there is always plenty to be grateful for.”