My name is Brad Zaro and the following is the story of what led me along with my wife Debi to develop the Deter line of natural skin protection products. Growing up in California during the 60’s and 70’s I always enjoyed frequent outdoor activities, skiing and backpacking in the Sierras, beach days at Santa Cruz and SCUBA diving in Monterey. During this period there was little concern about the dangers of sun exposure, and insect transmitted diseases were something which only existed in tropical regions. As the years went by an awareness of how dangerous sun exposure is became clear. About the same time, two emerging diseases transmitted by insects became endemic in California. By the 1980’s it was well established that sun exposure was the leading cause of skin aging and more importantly skin cancer, including potentially fatal Melanoma. By 2000, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease had become established in California with increasing numbers of people being infected each year. It became apparent that spending time outdoors had associated risks which could no longer be ignored. This all hit home when I was diagnosed with skin cancer. Two years after surgery to remove the cancer it recurred requiring a second surgery followed by third diagnosis a few years later. All that time spent outdoors, and multiple sun burns, had come back to haunt me. I was paying a steep price for all those carefree days in the sun. Likewise, I continued to read about cases of West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, not only in California, but spreading across the U.S. This too hit home when the wife of a very close friend was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, resulting in chronic health problems.
Fast forward, following a 35 year career in the pharmaceutical industry I retired and Debi and I bought a vacation home in Key West, Florida. Not long after purchasing our house the first case of Dengue Fever diagnosed in the U.S. was confirmed in Key West. This was followed a few years later by still another mosquito transmitted disease, Chikungunya spreading from the Caribbean into South Florida. Then Debi was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma requiring surgery. Enjoying outdoor activities was beginning to seem like a dangerous endeavor. We wanted to enjoy spending time with our grandchildren at our vacation home while continuing to enjoy the outdoors, but we also wanted to be sure our family was safe and protected. After considerable research, and trying multiple products, it became clear that there were unacceptable trade-offs for most products on the market. Those which were effective in preventing insect bites, or sun damage, contained potentially toxic chemicals. This was a particular concern for our young grandchildren. These products also presented significant environmental risks, several of the most common sunscreen ingredients exhibit environmental persistence, and are implicated in reef decline. The same is true of DEET, the most commonly used insect repellent ingredient. DEET remains in the environment for years where it accumulates in lakes, rivers, oceans and even our drinking water. DEET has also been shown in animal studies to be neurotoxic. As well, there are multiple cases in the medical literature of seizures and other neuro toxic events resulting from exposure to DEET.
Both Debi and I felt there had to be a better way to protect ourselves and our family while still enjoying the outdoors. So we set out to explore safer “natural” alternatives. Unfortunately, we soon learned that most available alternatives simply did not work, or were unpleasant to use. So, we decided to use my professional experience as a Research Chemist to find a better way. Debi and I founded a company called Mariner Biomedical, and set-up a research lab where we spent the next two years developing a line of safe and effective insect repellents, sun screens and other skin protection products. The goal was to develop products based on natural ingredients which were safe to use on children, were scientifically proven to be effective, were pleasant to use and were biodegradable with minimal environmental impact. We named the product line Deter Outdoor Skin Protection to reflect their use as a deterrent against skin damaging threats while outdoors. We are very pleased that we have exceeded all of our goals. We offer the most safe and effective skin protection products available. Debi and I can now be comfortable safely enjoying the outdoors with our grandchildren without worry about potentially dangerous sun exposure, insect bites and other environmentally induced skin damage.
Deter Outdoor Skin Protection products are based on science and powered by nature. They are the safest and most effective natural skin protection solutions available. Each product is the result of extensive research and testing by professional chemists, entomologists, dermatologists and clinical researchers in collaboration with outdoor experts. Based on natural sustainably harvested ingredients, all products are designed to protect skin, as well as to protect our fragile environment. Deter products offer the best deterrent against outdoor skin threats for the entire family.