A New Take on Sun Protection: Q&A With Tropic Labs Founder Morgan Ioffe

Tanning beds are officially out, and safe tanning is in. Tropic Labs proves you can have a glowing tan while still protecting your skin. Each product activates powerful antioxidants to support melanin production which achieves a fast, natural tan. In addition, these products are 100% vegan and reef friendly. We sit down with Cosmetic Chemist and Founder, Morgan Ioffe, to learn more. 

Tell us about your background; how did the idea for Tropic Labs originate? I have been working in the beauty industry in some form or another since I was 14 years old. I began initially as a makeup artist, then aesthetician, then finally continued upgrading my education to study cosmetic chemistry. Born out of a passion for skincare, I began working on my own product concepts.

On my honeymoon in Hawaii a few years ago, my husband suffered a terrible sunburn on the back of his legs during a surfing lesson. I rushed to the pharmacy to try to find something to help soothe his pain, redness and discomfort but I was immediately discouraged by the lack of options when it came to products I knew would be effective. I turned over bottle after bottle, carefully reading each ingredients list to try to find a suitable solution but found nothing more than simple aloe preparations that might provide temporary relief but offered no real long term benefit to sunburned skin.

This sunburn remedy was the original concept from that Tropic Labs came from, and later expanded to become a line of sun care products geared at those living active and adventurous lifestyles who still want all the benefits of sun exposure without any of the consequences.

What is the motivation behind the brand? We really want to change the way people behave in the sun. I felt that in the sun care industry, there were these two extremes; either you are terrified of the sun and wear super high SPF every single day, avoiding the sun at all costs; or you are reckless and hop into tanning beds or lather up in oil. But what about all of us in the middle? Much like everything in life, I felt developing safe sun habits was about balance, and I really wanted to create a brand that reflected that. From my perspective, tanning as an “activity” is dated and dangerous and a waste of your precious short-lived vacation time. Being ‘tanned’ or having a tan on the other hand is a natural response to sun exposure and in my case is a by-product of me living a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle. I designed this range of products to encourage responsible sun habits, and to prove that with the right preparation and great products, you can have a great tan without spending a single minute ‘tanning’.

Why does traditional tanning need a facelift? When I think of when tanning became popularized in the US, I think of an era where doctors recommended cigarettes. With all the advances in cosmetic technology, there really is no reason why we shouldn’t expect more from our products. Tanning beds have been banned in countries all around the world and despite the risks are still shockingly popular in the United States. I feel that it’s time we update our standards for how we achieve that golden glow we all crave, and fake tan is not the only solution. The multitude of benefits of being active and spending time outside have been well documented, so why not approach tanning as a by-product of a healthy lifestyle? While of course still taking  necessary precautions to protect yourself.

What are the essential do’s and don’t’s of tanning in the sun?



Base Tan Body Lotion

$42

DO prepare your skin in advance
We like to suggest that ‘tanning’ should not be considered as an activity, rather a by-product of time enjoyed outdoors. That being said, proper preparation with a melanin-boosting lotion such as Base Tan Body Lotion will allow you to make the most out of your time in the sun. Using Base Tan before your holiday or prolonged sun exposure ensures your skin is primed and ready. It’s also great for those who are very fair-skinned who have a hard time transitioning into prolonged sun exposure as it helps support your skin’s natural protective mechanisms.

DON’T lay out and bake
Sunbathing in the traditional sense is a risky endeavor – it’s a fine line between and golden bronze and a bright red burn. We suggest you take a more gradual approach to sun exposure, and be sure to avoid direct sun in the peak hours of the day.

DO always use sun protection 
Even if you’re after a deep tan, using sun protection is imperative. Using a product like Tan Smart SPF 20 will give you the sun protection you require and thanks to our unique Tan Boost Technology will still help to accelerate the tanning process.

Tan Smart SPF 20
$49

DON’T
use tanning oils

Step away from the cooking spray! Most tanning oils are nothing more than glorified cooking oils. Don’t fall prey to the seductive fragrance and remember that using oils only amplifies the intensity of the UV rays on the surface of your skin thanks to refraction. It’s 2019, the sun doesn’t need to be any stronger.

DO use an aftersun
A sunburn is a surefire way to quickly ruin a vacation, and when severe, can wreak havoc on your skin. But a sunburn is not the only mandate for use of an aftersun. Our Over Exposed Recovery Gel not only offers rapid relief from redness and discomfort from sunburn, but is extremely refreshing and soothing even when you’re just feeling a little ‘toasty’. Loaded with repairing antioxidants and skin-quenching emollients, our Tropical Phytocomplex blend of 11 oils from exotic fruit and nuts helps to quickly soothe, smooth and re-energize your skin.

Over Exposed Recovery Gel

$29

Is there a way to tan incorrectly? If so, what are the the short and long-term consequences? We believe in balance and support safe sun habits, and as such, we never recommend that you lay out ‘tanning’. Instead, support your skin’s natural processes with the right products, protect yourself from harmful overexposure to UV rays and just get outside and enjoy yourself. Let your tan be a result of your lifestyle, not a goal you aim to achieve.

What about the impact our beauty products have on the environment as well. Is it true that sunscreens cause damage to our oceans? What is considered “reef-safe” sunscreen? The beauty industry is having a massive impact on our oceans in particular. Oxybenzone and octinoxate which have been commonly used UV filters in sunscreen products for years have been shown to directly affect the health of our reefs. So much so, that is has been banned as a sunscreen in Hawaii, with Key West, Florida to soon follow suit. Reef safe sunscreens are those sunscreens which do not contain;

  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate, believed to cause coral bleaching.
  • Sunscreens containing petrolatum aka mineral oil, which takes years to biodegrade, and are known to be harmful or fatal to aquatic life and waterfowl.
  • High content of Titanium Dioxide. This mineral does not biodegrade and is found to react in warm seawater to form hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to all sea life.

Favorite product? Tropic Labs Over Exposed Recovery Gel is definitely my favourite product from the line because the benefits it offers are immediately felt. I always keep a bottle handy because it’s such a nice pick me up after even just the slightest bit of time outside. Of course it’s a fantastic sunburn relief product, but I love to use it even if I’m just feeling a little ‘wiped out’ from a day in the sun. It immediately refreshes and re-energizes me.


THE CHECKLIST: 

One thing that’s always… 

IN YOUR FRIDGE: Over Exposed Recovery Gel. I love keeping it in the fridge so it feels extra cool and refreshing!

ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Ultra Moisturizing Lip Balm. It’s my favourite! I put it on every night before bed.

IN YOUR MAKE UP BAG: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation. It’s super lightweight and dewy; its the perfect ‘no makeup’ makeup.

ON YOUR DESK: I wish I had a desk! I travel so often that my workstation is usually wherever I can find space for my laptop.

IN YOUR SHOWER: Korres Santorini Vine Shower Gel. I picked this up on a trip to Greece and the smell was so intoxicating, I kept buying it again and again.

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