Avasol is made in California by our good friend Chris and his family. It's made with New Zealand and imported ingredients.

It's simple: we need to use zinc oxide in our sunscreen to protect you from sunburn. Zinc oxide is a mineral, not a vegetable, and can't be certified organic. Unfortunately in this case, to be certified by the USDA's National Organic Program standard for organic products, our sunscreen would need to contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. Even though it's technically natural and of the highest possible purity, we need more than 5% zinc oxide to make an effective sunscreen.

The natural standard for personal care products is based on natural ingredients, safety, responsibility and sustainability.

• Natural Ingredients: A product labeled "natural" should be made up of only, or at least almost only, natural ingredients and be manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity.

• Safety: A product labeled "natural" should avoid any ingredient with a suspected human health risk.

• Responsibility: A product labeled "natural" should use no animal testing in its development.

• Sustainability: A product labeled "natural" should use bio-based ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging.

What we mean by "safer for people" is that:

• We take great care in selecting the best, and safest ingredients we could find from the best farms and suppliers.

• We use our products every day, for ourselves, our children our family and friends.

• We have independent labs conduct tests (on humans only) for both effectiveness and safety.

What we mean by "safer for the ocean" is that:

• Our ingredients are 100% bio-based and are the safest that we can find for the Ocean and other aquatic habitats.

• We have also made a tremendous effort to create completely bio-based and plastic-free packaging with the introduction of our stick product. It is a huge challenge, but we will be continually working towards improving the sustainability and earth-friendliness of all of our other packaging as well.

Reality check...everything in nature is made up of compounds with chemical names (Like H2O). So, to say "chemical free" is misleading, irresponsible and nothing more than marketing hype. What is usually meant by "chemical free" is the absence of Chemical UV-absorbers like oxybenzone, preservatives like parabens, and a variety of toxic petrochemicals widely used in personal care products. While we personally like the idea, and seek to live as "chemical free" as possible, it is important to acknowledge that not everything that is a "chemical" or synthetic is bad for you. Conversely, not everything that is "natural" or "organic" is guaranteed to be good for you. “Chemophobia” is neither productive nor rational. Use common sense, and when in doubt, remember: it's not worth taking a risk with your health.

Thanks for asking, because "reef safe" can be a misleading claim. What manufacturers generally mean by "reef safe" is that they simply don't contain compounds like oxybenzone, etc. It is now proven that these chemicals damage fragile reef habitats. The problem that I have is that I consistently see sunscreen claiming to be "reef safe", yet are full of other ingredients (like nano zinc and titanium, alumina, etc.) that are known to be toxic to base of the ocean food chain. It is a complex issue and one that we take very seriously. We don't have all the answers, so we need to be very careful, with both what we do and what we claim too. Our claim is that Avasol is "safer for the ocean.” Our ingredients are 100% bio-based and are the safest that we can find for the ocean and other aquatic habitats. We have also made a tremendous effort to create bio-based and plastic-free packaging with the introduction of our stick product. It is a huge challenge, but we will be continually working towards improving the sustainability and earth-friendliness of all of our other packaging as well.

The bottom line is that if you can find a more reef and ocean safe product, please let us know!

Avasol conducts NO animal testing. Surprisingly, some still do animal testing, but it never was a consideration of ours and never will be. We only test on humans, starting with ourselves and our families. It helps if you start with raw ingredients that are 100% safe.

So, the bottom line with silica is this: amorphous = safe and microcrystalline = unsafe. Our silica is of amorphous nature, with no possibility for the presence of microcrystalline silica. This is confirmed with the manufacturer. It is also the purest, most expensive silica available anywhere. The only concern would be inhaling it as a dry powder. This is obviously impossible to do once it is in the mix, so you can be totally comfortable putting it on yourself, your kids, your friends, etc.

Zinc oxide is considered the best/safest sunscreen active ingredient and we use the safest form of it that we can find: non-nano, uncoated and even low lead. The maximum we are allowed to use (FDA rules) is 25% and that gets us to about 30 SPF. But there are simply some times where a 30 SPF isn't enough, so we need to bring in our clear second choice (titanium dioxide) to get to 50 SPF. The new 50+ SPF is the same formula, with the addition of titanium dioxide. Where titanium dioxide is a serious health concern is when it is inhaled as a powder, but that's not going to happen when it's in sunscreen. The second real concern is when titanium dioxide is in a nano form. "They" claim it can't enter your bloodstream, but the studies are totally suspect, and if nano titanium dioxide gets in your system it's not good. Remember that titanium dioxide is found in many foods, even in things like natural, non-dairy coffee creamer and cookie filling. A new study shows that this is where much of the nano-sized stuff is going. The third issue with titanium dioxide is when synthetic/toxic coatings are added in to make it spread more evenly. The first batch of the 50+ SPF we made gave some of our test team a reaction. When investigated, we discovered that that it did have these additives hidden. They call it "sunscreen grade" and it looks like the additives were the problem, not the titanium dioxide. So, after finding a non-nano, uncoated, pure form of titanium dioxide, we tested it again on ourselves, our families, then on dozens of people on our test team and it's working brilliantly and has caused no reactions. The reality is that there are no perfect solutions and that sometimes we must be pragmatic. The only other option is to stay indoors all day, and that's not going to happen! The 50+ SPF makes surfing possible for fair-skinned people.

Well, these shades are a result of customer request to more closely match people's skin tone. Because, yes, it can be somewhat opaque.

However, opacity depends how much you apply. It can easily be blended to look completely natural for daily use. For severe conditions, like surfing, etc., more is used and it is visible and opaque. Remember, all of this is based on the fact that the only 100% safe sunscreen active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide, which is totally opaque white. There are currently products claiming to be both non-nano and transparent, but this is not entirely possible. A transparent sunscreen is either going to contain a UV absorber (like oxybenzone, avobenzone, etc.), or contain nano-particles. In any case, we have a fantastic solution that people are totally loving. It may not be for everyone, but we do have a 100% guarantee. So if you want to try it, it is risk free.

That's a great question, but not an easy one to answer because of all the possible variables. We've received high praise for what a great value the stick is and how far it goes. Since you mention head-to-toe coverage, here are some thoughts: With what we now know about sunscreens and sun exposure, it is becoming more clear that the best strategy is to use hats and "swim-shirts" whenever possible and use sunscreen where you can't cover. Not only is this more cost effective, but even with a non-toxic sunscreen, head-to-toe coverage can prevent the skin from breathing*. That sounds strange coming from someone making sunscreen, but this is what works for me and my kids, even my red-haired, fair-skinned daughter. Also remember, some sun is good - just don't let them burn.

This is a good question, but there is no simple answer, or one-size-fits-all solution. It’s smart to do your homework and ask these questions in order to make the best decision for your family. Rule #1 is to avoid the sun and use shade and clothing as much as possible. This is obvious for adults too and is generally the advice given for infants. Everyone (adults & children) should always test any product before using it by applying a small amount on the inside of the elbow and checking for a reaction. We conducted clinical tests and can claim Allergy Tested, Dermatologist approved etc. and have no reports of anyone ever having a skin reaction. However, it is still possible for someone to have an allergic reaction to anything. That said, many report that Avasol is the first/only sunscreen that they/their kids can tolerate without a reaction. Your mileage may vary. We began with the intent to make a safer and better product for our families, so we hope it is also safer and better for your family too. There is so much misinformation and junk out there marketed to parents and kids, just keep asking questions, being skeptical and using common sense and you should be fine. The feedback is that the light shade of our stick is the easiest to see where you are fully covered and when it has been wiped off. Coverage and kids wiping it off can be a challenge for some.