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Sun Valley Woman Solves the Problem So Many Hand Sanitizers Pose
Saturday, May 30, 2020


Alison Rosen found her essential oils “very essential” in late March as people began buying up and using hand sanitizers in an effort to keep the coronavirus at bay.

One business, for instance, bought a hundred cases of hand sanitizer for its employees. Then it came knocking on Rosen’s doors because everyone’s hands were dry and cracking.

“They got their hands clean. Next, they needed to get them feeling good again,” said Rosen, founder of Sun Valley Remedies.

In response Rosen developed her own hand sanitizer, which she dubbed Germ Squirm.

Made with 99 percent isopropyl alcohol designed to kill germs, its alcohol content exceeds the 60 percent minimum recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

But it also contains moisturizing aloe vera, which Rosen harvest from aloe plants sitting on the floor of her storefront in the back of the Walnut Avenue Mall in Ketchum and such essential oils as sweet orange, clove bud, cinnamon, lemon and rosemary.

It cleans hands, while keeping them from getting dry and cracked.

“The alcohol kills the virus. And the other ingredients are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so you pretty much cover everything without the harshness of so many sanitizers” said Rosen.

Rosen, a massage therapist since the 1990s, began developing her own lotion to address her sensitive skin, including the eczema she grew up with in Westchester, N.Y.

Prior to that, she says, her doctors prescribed oral medicines that she says often took the form of steroids that were tough on her entire body. Topical medicines she was prescribed often contained ingredients that irritated her skin.

Friends who tried her lotion found them the perfect hydration solution for their own skin in the dry high-mountain desert air of Sun Valley.

“They said, ‘What are you using on me? I’m not greasy!’ ” Rosen recounted.

Spurred on by those friends, Rosen began developing products that were non-greasy and inexpensive compared with other lotions addressing sensitive skin 15 years ago. She began adding essential oils to  address other problems, such as aches and pains.

And she began labeling them with such names as Peace & Happiness, Beach Baby, Energizing and Knots Anymore.

“They’re not greasy so even men like them,” she said.

Many of her lotions and aromatherapy products contain aloe vera, milked from the rubbery serrated   leaves she cuts off her cactus-like plants. It takes, she says, anywhere from one leaf to five leaves to produce one small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Other products contain oils from the seeds of jojoba shrubs native to the deserts of southwestern United States.

One of her newest products is African Black Soap, a concoction of African plants such as plantain, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves and shea tree bark. It offers a gentle face moisturizer while addressing acne, eczema, psoriasis, hyperpigmentation and other ski discolorations.

She sells all in blue cobalt containers, which help preserve the lotions.

When the coronavirus hit, Rosen purchased a 55-gallon drum of isopropyl alcohol, selling smaller amounts to some people and using the rest in her Germ Squirm. Now, she is selling the hand sanitizer at discounted prices to fishing lodges, guest ranches and other business as they begin to reopen.

“I never closed because mine was an essential business—I needed to get sanitizer out to people,” she said. “Selling these products at discounts enables me to contribute in my way.”

Sun Valley Remedies are sold at Atkinsons’ Markets, NourishMe, the Sun Valley Remedies store at 631 East Second St., D101, and online at

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