The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Sun Protection Cream

1938

Piz Buin

You can thank Piz Buin for sunscreen     Photo: tuppus/Flickr

In 1938 after scaling Piz Buin, a 3,312-meter peak on the border of Austria and Switzerland, Franz Greiter suffered from bad sunburn. A chemistry student and passionate mountaineer, he worked to develop a lotion that would mitigate the sun’s effects and began marketing his Glacier Cream under the Piz Buin brand name in 1946.

The issue of who truly invented sunscreen is still hotly contested, though, as at least three other scientists—including Eugene Schueller, founder of L’Oreal Cosmetics—had worked on similar ideas as early as 1930. Nevertheless, Greiter is definitively credited with developing the notion of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) that is now the standard for measuring a sun protection product’s effectiveness. To celebrate its 65th anniversary, Piz Buin’s Glacier Cream, now called Mountain Cream, was relaunched with a higher SPF.

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