Patriotic Beauty

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From a heartfelt note to thoughtfully arranged flowers, there are many different ways to say “thanks.” But when it comes to showing appreciation for the servicemen and women who protect our freedom, it’s easy to feel unsure of how to express our gratitude. But that’s where skincare company SKINCANDO comes in. Although sending military members a jar of skin cream might not initially come to mind, SKINCANDO has delivered more than 10,000 care packages to American soldiers, who truly appreciate the products.

The story started when Sara Damelio tried numerous high-end department store lines to ease her troubled skin. Much to her frustration, nothing worked, the pricy products only serving to further irritate. She decided to whip up her own salve to see if she could achieve a clear complexion, and in the process, created about 1,000 batches before she found the perfect formula. Finally, the combat-ready balm – a natural moisturizer that eases inflammatory skin conditions including blisters, dryness, eczema, minor abrasions, post-shaving burn, chafing, scars, bug bites and sun/wind burn – was born.

SKINCANDO’s relationship with the service began in 2005, when a military wife bought a jar of combat-ready balm and sent it to her husband in Iraq. He was suffering from sunburn, dryness and insect bites, and the cream alleviated his skin woes. He asked for more, and the product soon became a hit among military men and women. Its popularity increased to the point where Sara decided to start her company’s nonprofit arm – Operation Sand Flea – to send care packages to members of the military overseas.

“It means so much to say thank you,” Sara says. “That’s where I saw a disconnect of civilians wanting to thank the troops.” The company’s solution was smart: customers can send one item or the entire combat-ready line, which includes bug repellant, lip balm, a bar of soap and the original balm, to specific individuals. The prices are reasonable too – the lip balm is just $5. SKINCANDO will also include a handwritten note with a message from the sender, or, if buyers are interested in sending one anonymously, the company will simply pack a box with extra products so the recipient can share the goods.

As we approach Memorial Day, a day dedicated to honoring those who gave their lives in service of the United States, it’s an ideal time to consider thanking our servicemen and women in such a practical, appreciative way.

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