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Hard hats, High Visibility Jackets, and Sunscreen

An unlikely combination? Actually a vital combination, says leading dermatologist and skin cancer specialist Dr Andrew Birnie.

When we think sunscreen we think sun, sea and surf, we think summer holidays. We don’t think scaffolding, hard hats and building sites. But we should.

Multiple studies show that people who work outdoors for a living are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer because they are often exposed to the sun for long periods of time.

Researchers estimate there are 48 deaths and 241 cases of melanoma skin cancer each year in Britain caused by people being exposed to the sun while working and those in the building industry are thought to be at the highest risk with as many as one builder falling prey to the disease every two weeks.

Worrying statistics, yet perhaps the saddest statistic of all is that with sufficient sun protection many of these deaths could have been avoided.

Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen, Sunscreen with a Conscience

“Good quality sunscreen should be our first line of defence against the harmful effects of sun exposure and skin cancer,” says skin cancer specialist Dr. Birnie. “There are some excellent products available, but not everyone has access to them, not everyone can afford them and not everyone is aware of the implications of prolonged sun exposure. Accessibility and education are key.” A belief shared by Dutch economist David Westerbeek.

And so Dr Birnie and Mr Westerbeek tasked themselves with creating a sunscreen that is both high quality and affordable, enabling consumers to protect themselves properly without breaking the bank.

At £4 for 200ml, less than a third of the average £15 price tag, Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen does just that: it affords effective sun protection at an affordable price.

 An altruistic venture

Dr Andrew Birnie and David Westerbeek met during their stay in South Africa. Staggered by the lack of education and affordability of a product they

considered to be a simple basic need, they developed Altruist, a high quality sun protection cream that costs as little as a fancy coffee. Unlike a fancy coffee there is no elaborate packaging and no celebrity-fronted marketing campaign – there is barely any profit. What profit there is goes straight back into product development and manufacture, and proceeds from the sale of every bottle of Altruist go to Under the Same Sun and children in Africa suffering from albinism.

Regular application is key

Dr Birnie couldn’t be clearer on this point: regular application and reapplication of sunscreen is crucial; it should be reapplied every two hours, after swimming or after playing sport in the sun. You should be aiming for a teaspoon of cream for your face and a whole shot glass full for your body, something that still happens too little in practice. Traditionally, high-quality sunscreen has only been sold in small-quantity tubes or bottles. Now with the introduction of Altruist’s larger 1-litre pump bottle, a consumer first in the UK and EU, sunscreen has never been more affordable or accessible to sports clubs, schools, day care, construction sites and other groups who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. Regular dermatologist recommended sunscreens sell for close to £15 per 200ml. Altruist sells its 1-litre pack size on Amazon for the same price.

Key ingredients

The science behind the product is equally as convincing. Both SPF30 and SPF50 strengths are recommended by dermatologists, not least because they use the most sophisticated filters available. Micronised titanium dioxide offers UVA protection beyond EU standards and Tinosorb A2B, one of the most modern sun protection ingredients developed to date, offers protection beyond the usual UV spectrum*. Altruist is also highly photo-stable, which means its UV filters do not degrade easily in the sun; it’s suitable for sensitive skins, is fragrance and paraben-free, hypoallergenic and non pore blocking. It also feels great on. Its non-sticky formula means it absorbs quickly and being water-resistant, it stays put.

Altruist Dermatologist Sunscreen costs £4 for 200ml (sold as a pack of two) and dispatched exclusively from Amazon, or £14 for 1 litre. For every 1-litre package of sunscreen sold, Altruist donates 50p to Under the Same Sun.

* In vitro-testing exceeded EU COLIPA recommendations for UVA protection

Under the Same Sun

Altruist sponsors the charity organisation Under the Same Sun, which provides support to children with albinism in Tanzania and the rest of Africa. With its scorching hot sun, the tropical climate of Tanzania puts people with albinism at a high risk for developing skin cancer at an early age. 100% of children with albinism in Tanzania show signs of sun-related skin damage by the age of 10. Altruist donates 10p for the sale of every 200ml bottle and 50p from the sale of every 1L bottle to the charity. In the Netherlands they’ve gone one step further, where they donate one bottle of Altruist for every bottle sold.


  • Kenneth Booth, Magazine Manager

    With 15 years behind his belt in this sector, Kenneth has a keen interest in the construction and management of buildings, striving to learn more and more with each passing year. As a member of the launch team for Building Design & Construction Magazine, Kenneth has seen and followed some of the industry’s leading stories; whether it be the laying of the foundations for Heathrow’s terminal 5, the design and build of the Shard all the way through to the organisation and management of London 2012 Olympics, he's been there for the entire journey. Kenneth handles the majority of the sponsored and advertorial content, pushing the envelope of businesses looking to use Building Design & Construction as a mode of communication for their marketing agenda. With a profound understanding of how construction and property professionals can best put the right foot forward, Kenneth is able to support, and guide the marketing agenda of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

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