The Caribbean Seaweed Expedition (Part 1 of 6)

Ship Ahoy! Seeking a Lifesaver for Beautiful Skin!

Wherever I go in the world, I love to research local resources that could benefit our customers, especially for skin care. I am always on the lookout for new ingredients, and whenever possible, try to test them on people in different countries, in different circumstances and in differing climates. I have been looking for years for something that brings “instant results” for a variety of skin types and skin conditions from very dry skin to even semi-oily skin.

Just over a year ago, I heard about a very special seaweed that we might be able use for a brand-new product formula. In a total of 6 blogs, I look forward to sharing my exciting adventure sailing in the Caribbean with you.

This trip provided an ‘ultimate test.’ Would I find the ‘magic’ seaweed growing around remote islands off the coast of Panama? How would I know? What could be a better test of new natural skincare products than trying them out on peoples’ skin, even on a sailboat in the tropics? Our skin was battered all day long by the brutal sun, dry conditions, salt water and strong winds.

Some 100 km off the coast of Panama lie the pristine and isolated San Blas group of some 350 islands, of which a few inhabited by a very small population of Kuna Yala Indians. In this remote place, the islanders manage to retain much of their traditional lifestyle. A friend had told me that the locals use a high-mineral seaweed both for food and for their skin care regimens. I had to go see for myself!


Luckily, my lifelong friend Paul Roncken is also interested in the wonderful things of nature and is actually sailing around the world on a beautiful 90-foot sailboat called “Aria.” I flew to Aruba to meet him. We sailed to Cartagena in Colombia where we took on extra provisions. Then it took us four days and nights in treacherous seas to reach the San Blas islands — but we finally got what we had looked fo…

We heard of boats of people who had tried to reach the remote islands and had had to turn back. Many ships lie buried beneath the wild waves or are cast up on the reefs. To see these ships buried was hard to look at. We were lucky as we had an experienced crew and captain!

Testing Nature´s Finest Ingredients

Sometimes the best tests can be done outside the laboratory. The ultimate test lab is Nature itself. The natural environment, the weather, the factors of sun, water, wind, and available nutrients all force the local flora and fauna to adapt. The San Blas archipelago endures some of the harshest conditions and remains among the world’s most pristine and unpolluted. What we were to find there would have to be very special.

Where is Nature’s lab? To me it is anywhere in the world.

In nature’s lab, we can finish what our R&D people start. Our scientists work long hours to make sure all components are in the right chemical balance. Of course, we always try them out in study groups to see if they perform well and meet my own critical expectations as well. Under nature’s harsher conditions, however, we can put our new creations to the ultimate tests. Then we can decide whether these new formulations will really stand up against the elements of life, such as ageing, sun and wind damage, and man-made pollutants.

Please join me for the next parts of this Caribbean adventure when I’ll tell you more about what we discovered!



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