Sunscreen has come a long way since soldiers in World War II were provided with a red, jelly-like substance called "red vet pet" or red veterinary petrolatum to protect against the sun's rays. The sticky formula may have been unpleasant, but it did help serve as a barrier between the skin and the sun for soldiers stationed in the Pacific.
When Benjamin Green, an airman and pharmacist, mixed his red vet pet with cocoa butter and coconut oil, the first U.S. consumer sun care product, COPPERTONE suntan cream, was born. Since the inception of the COPPERTONE® brand, the brand has continued to foster the same creativity and innovation that Green showed as he concocted sun-protective cream on his wife's stove in the 1940s.
The development of COPPERTONE sunscreens eventually moved out of the kitchen – and into one of the world's largest state-of-the-art facilities for sun care. Upon the 1971 opening of the Coppertone Solar Research Center in Memphis, TN, photobiologists and scientists had the resources needed to evaluate the effectiveness and performance of sunscreens.
Through its extensive research, the Center pioneered methods for assessing sunscreen performance in wet or dry conditions. These tests would later become industry standards and the innovative method paved the way for the launch of the first COPPERTONE® water resistant, broad spectrum sunscreens in 1985.
As the Coppertone Solar Research Center continued to expand, researchers dedicated themselves to understanding the evolving needs of consumers. For example, after conversations with parents revealed concerns about protecting their children from the sun, COPPERTONE launched the first U.S. sunscreen lines specifically developed for young skin with its iconic WaterBABIES lotions in 1987 and COPPERTONE Kids line in 1993.
Continuing its tradition of listening to consumers, COPPERTONE discovered that athletes and active adults were in need of durable sun protection that worked just as hard as they did. When the Center introduced COPPERTONE Sport in 1991 as the first dry-touch, ultra sweat-proof sunscreen lotion, it marked the creation of a brand new category for active adults and became a breakthrough success.