Positive People

The two men helping to make suncream accessible to everyone

The pair are fighting to ‘remove all the barriers’ attached to dermatologist products in helping to tackle skin cancer.

According to the Royal Marsden, around 15,400 people are diagnosed with melanoma in the UK each year. Patients with a history of sunburn are more than twice as likely to get melanoma. The higher the number of sunburns, the greater the risk.

In 2016, two men, British dermatologist and skin surgeon, Dr Andrew Birnie, and Dutch economist David Westerbeek van Eerten, created Altruist; with the help of a leading formulation scientist in their spare time, to help tackle this.

The pair wanted to remove the barriers behind people protecting themselves from the sun and find another way to help defeat skin cancer.

Dr Andrew Birnie (left) and David Westerbeek van Eerten (right) launched Altruist to tackle barriers behind skin care.

Dr Andrew Birnie told Oh My Goodness about his day-to-day inspirations behind the product. He said: “In my day job I see skin cancer patients all the time and all too often this is caused by people not protecting themselves against the sun.  

“We wanted to do something about this and make it easier for people to protect themselves, removing all the barriers. The main barrier is the cost of most of the dermatologist quality products on the market so we used our expertise and contacts to create a range that offered the best possible protection but was as low cost as it could be.  

“We want to take the worry out of using sun protection – and hopefully reduce the number of skin cancer patients the NHS deals with as a result.” 

The two have managed to keep costs as low as possible due to their personal connections with those who help produce the product.

To further maintain the costs at a price as low as possible, all profits are put back into the business to allow them to continue to develop the brand, while the pair also don’t take any salary from the venture for themselves.  

In addition, Altruist donate money from every purchase to charities that help children with albinism in Tanzania and the rest of Africa. 

In the last year they donated £65,000 worth of product to help protect those that live in the hottest part of the world.

Albinism often results in two congenital permanent health conditions: visual impairments to varying degrees and high susceptibility to ultraviolet-induced skin damage, in particular skin cancer.

According to Noah (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation), in the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000.

David Westerbeek van Eerten said: “We donate 10p from every sale to charities that help those suffering with albinism in Africa. 

“Many [in Africa] suffer from skin cancer by the time they are in their 20s.  In the last year we have shipped over £65,000 of product to Africa to help. Seeing the pictures of our product being distributed and helping [people] is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever known.”

In the last year, Altruist shipped over £65,000 worth of their product to Africa to help those living in the hottest part of the world.

If you would like to learn more about Altruist and the great work they do, you can visit their website here.

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