Research shows that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime – it’s the most common form of cancer in the country – and worse, nearly 50 percent of people who live to 65 will have some form of carcinoma at least once, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Yet people are doing little to protect themselves.
Either because it’s messy or a hassle or irritating to the skin, not enough Americans apply sunblock. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reports that only 14.3 percent of men and 29.9 percent of women regularly use sunscreen.
Bobby Awadalla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon based in Southern California, noticed these trends in his patients and found them troubling. Knowing that the body has ways to fight the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays, he conceived of a formula made up of all natural vitamins and supplements that harnesses biological defenses to help shield and repair the skin from sun damage. By turning it into a drink it would be easy for people to use and a nice addition to the arsenal of sun blocking products.
“The ultimate goal is to get more people to protect themselves from ultraviolet damage, so I set out to develop a product that was healthy and convenient that could be used together with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, etc.,” Awadalla said. “We all need to use as many forms of sun protection as possible.”
Busy with his flourishing practice but anxious to spread the word about his new idea, he partnered with childhood friend and fellow Greek American, John Giakouminakis, a former high-level business consultant with Deloitte, and together, in 2015, they brought UVO to market.
“When Dr. Bobby explained the idea I thought it was a great concept, but I was a little skeptical because I didn’t understand how it worked,” Giakouminakis said. “Once he explained the science behind it, I thought it could really be a market disruptor and have a huge impact to the sun protection industry.”