I am beyond excited to share this interview with you!
If you are someone who has a Sun Allergy / PMLE (Polymorphic Light Eruption) you have most likely heard of the product called Shirudo AGR+E Moisturising Lotion and if you haven’t, check out my review, where I talk about my first experiences using the lotion.
Shirudo AGR+E Moisturising Lotion is a product created specifically for people who have sun allergy or PMLE as mentioned above. The best thing about it is that it’s 99% natural. It is based on Alpha-glucosylrutin (AGR) and Vitamin E plus is fragrance free. Perfect for someone with sensitive skin.
This interview is in a celebration of Shirudo AGR+E opening their warehouse in the UK! Meaning no extra duties, taxes or handling fees plus a delivery of 1-2 business days (tracked), if you live in the UK of course.
This is very exciting as a lot of people that read my blog are based in the UK, before Shirudo was only shipped from the USA or Canada, meaning extra costs and longer delivery. If you live outside of the UK but still in Europe – I imagine this will also benefit you!
Now let’s get to more juicy and exciting stuff – An interview with Eloïse Camire. The founder and creator of Shirudo AGR+E
I asked Eloise questions that I truly had myself now and before trying out Shirudo AGR+E for the first time. So I know it will be something that will interest anyone struggling with Sun Allergy / PMLE. Eloise gets right into it and the answers are very in-depth! <3
1 – How did Shirudo AGR+E come to life?
Where did the idea come from and what inspired you to create a product like this?
I had my first PMLE rash at the age of 12. I didn’t know what it was at the time. I consulted many dermatologists but none of them had an answer (it was 1989, no internet yet). They suspected I was allergic to sunscreen and I tried pretty much every sunscreen on the market. I also tried special formulations made by pharmacists. Nothing prevented the rash and I simply lived with it for many years. I also tried not applying sunscreen at all and still had major breakouts, so I knew it was something else.
In my 30’s, I really got tired of having all my vacations ruined by the rash. The internet happened in between and I started doing serious research about it. I found a post about PMLE online (Thanks Lindsey from Mommy2connor). This is how I could put a name to it. I consulted a dermatologist again who confirmed my suspicion but had nothing to help except cortisone lotion.
I started looking at every research and scientific articles about the condition and how to prevent it. I tried many things but nothing really made a huge difference. Then I found 2 promising studies about alpha-glucosylrutin (AGR) and vitamin E. I ordered Eucerin from Germany, the only product at the time using these ingredients, and had good results with it. Not perfect but good enough to say aG-rutin was somehow helping me.
This is when I decided to do something different, more natural, with a short list of ingredients, no irritant, no perfume. Something that would respect FDA and Canada Health regulations and would allow me to use any sunscreen. I worked for many months with a chemist who specializes in natural formulation to make the first sample.
I went to Mexico for a week to test it out. And the results were fantastic. When I got back I was ecstatic. I decided I would try to see if anybody would be interested in trying it out. I sent a sample to Lindsey – who wrote the blog post and who is the reason I was able to identify my condition. She loved it and had fantastic results as well. Lindsey shared her results with all her readers. She’s been our first true fan and Shirudo wouldn’t exist without her early support.
2 – Where did the name ‘Shirudo’ come from?
Alpha-glucosylrutin is derived from the tree Sophora japonica (pagoda tree) found in Japan. This plus my very minimalistic approach to cosmetics – wanting to use the shortest possible ingredient list, both had a huge influence on the name.
I thought of Shirudo, derived from Shi-rudo meaning Shield in Japanese, would represent the effect it has on my skin very well and is also memorable.
3 – What exactly is Shirudo AGR+E?
Shirudo AGR+E is a cosmetic line of natural moisturizing lotions containing antioxidants proven to prevent or lessen symptoms of Polymorphous Light Eruption or PMLE. We now produce body and face lotion, night lotion, and lip balm. (Click here for all of the products)
4 – What makes Shirudo AGR+E different from other products (for PMLE) out there?
Shirudo AGR+E is more than 99% natural. It is made in small batches with a short list of ingredients and uses a very small quantity of natural preservatives. All this to minimize the risk of adverse reaction. Plus it has excellent tolerability.
Shirudo is a tiny company of one and we can produce a lotion of the utmost quality because we put everything in the ingredients and fabrication. We sell direct to consumers, meaning no distributor, retailer, agent, marketing team, fancy packaging and advertising.
People really get a fantastic quality product for the price. Also being a company of one and being a PMLE sufferer myself, I honestly think it makes all the difference. When people ask me questions or talk about their fear and how they have been looking for a solution for decades, I truly relate. I have been there. I know how it feels. I think it creates a personal connection.
5 – Is there a specific reason to why Shirudo AGR+E does not contain UV protection?
Sunscreen is considered a drug in the USA and Canada, this is our main market and where the company is based. However, it is considered a cosmetic in Europe. This means that the cost to market a sunscreen in America is out of reach for most small companies because of all the regulations you have to follow.
6 – Can a standard suncream be used after applying Shirudo AGR+E? Not a specific one for sun allergy etc?
Yes, you can keep using your favorite sunscreen. I personally use Coppertone Sport, Neutrogena UltraSheer or Ombrelle. I found these 3 work great with Shirudo AGR+E underneath and are enough to prevent my rash in the most intense sun exposure, as long as I apply every 2 hours.
Every PMLE sufferer is different. Some people are more sensitive and prefer to use a sunscreen targeted towards sun sensitivity like Ladival, Ultrasun, Eucerin Sun allergy or La Roche-Posay Anthelios. It’s really something people have to test themselves and find what works best. I had many reviews from customers who tried these sunscreens alone in the past with some results, but not 100% rash free. However, when using our products (Shirudo AGR+E) – day and night together with a sunscreen works wonders and makes a huge difference.
7 – What are the ingredients of Shirudo AGR+E and where do they come from? Are they locally sourced?
I post all the ingredients of every product on our website. I am very transparent about this since I want people to make sure they are not allergic to anything, and also because I’m very proud of our ingredient list.
Our ingredients are more than 99% natural, this is the choice I made from the start and I persist even if it’s not always an easy route. It makes our products more expensive for sure. Unfortunately, we are such a small market here in Canada, it’s practically impossible to source natural cosmetic ingredients here. Most of our ingredients are from the USA, France, Germany, and Japan.
8 – What are you most proud of when it comes to your product?
Six years into this journey, I now realize this lotion changed my life and the lives of so many people. What keeps me going is the testimonials I get now and then, from people who had their best holiday in 20+ years. Mothers write to me saying how their child had a normal Summer for the first time, or how they could be outside with their toddler.
It’s truly moving to read all these stories and at the end of the day, this is what keeps me going. Because you know people can also complain a lot… (laugh). About the price, about the fact you have to re-apply it every 2 hours, about the color (which is natural), or even about the fact that we are not available in every drugstore in the smallest village north of UK! So it’s not always easy as you can imagine.
But when I get comments like this, I just think that maybe their condition is not severe enough or they are very new to this. Otherwise, they would think the benefits out-weight the cons. When you think about all the time and efforts it took me to be rash free. I think maybe it’s really a question of how much you suffered from this in the past. This is what will motivate PMLE sufferers to find a solution that suits them, and hopefully have a normal summer.
And in these moments I also count on our Shirudo hardcore fan base who will, I hope, keep sharing their stories. Some people just prefer to have a steroid injection every time they go south. The path I choose is very different and I’m glad our customers see it as a better alternative for their long term health. So many people count on this now and I won’t let them down. I’m very proud I could achieve all this from scratch. I’m also proud of the people surrounding me in this project like Yves – my trusted chemist, who is truly passionate about his work. You wouldn’t think it, but cosmetic chemists are true artists!
9 – Is Shirudo AGR+E available worldwide?
At this moment we ship in more than 50 countries. And if we are not shipping to your’s, simply ask and I will see what we can do.
10 – Any ideas or plans for the future of Shirudo AGR+E – that we may know about? 🙂
I am working on new formulations and always testing new ideas. I am planning something big for next year and will keep you posted for sure. For now, it’s important to talk about PMLE and how you can live with the condition, and get more people to try our products of course.
What makes the product very difficult to market is that PMLE sufferers, apart from mostly being women, have nothing in common except PMLE. Most PMLE sufferers don’t consult because they are only affected for 2 to 3 weeks a year. This is why I made this test in Florida last April to show people what Shirudo can do (click here for the video), and also talk about PMLE, in general, to help people put a name on the condition.
Note from Eli: Definitely check out the comments under the video – incredible!
So here it is! I am so grateful to Eloise for sharing all of this with us! It’s incredible how transparent and honest she is, definitely a rare thing when it comes to the cosmetic industry.
If you haven’t yet, make sure to check out Shirudo AGR+E out here. There are also testimonials on the website, clearly stating how life-changing this product is to so many PMLE sufferers.
Thank you again, Eloïse!
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