This article first appeared in our Earth Day 2023 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 22 April 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
When we take a shower or swim in the sea or rivers, sunscreen – and the chemicals it often contains to protect against UV rays – can wash off our skin and enter our waterways.
Scientists have discovered that some of these chemicals pose a threat to the health of coral reefs; they can accumulate in coral tissue, induce bleaching, damage DNA and even cause death.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are just two of the chemicals to avoid when choosing a sunblock, due to the risk they pose to coral reefs and other marine life including dolphins, mussels, fish, sea urchins and green algae.
The good news is that these chemicals are unnecessary and avoidable; as well as being free from DEET, incognito’s award-winning Mineral Sunblock Insect Repellent SPF 30 has been formulated with all-natural ingredients and some clever, ocean-friendly science that also makes the lotion easier to apply.
Howard Carter, MD of incognito, worked with suppliers to develop octo-sized particles of zinc and titanium dioxide as a new sustainable solution in the manufacture of sunscreens.
These particles are larger than the nano size that can harm coral and aquatic wildlife and smaller than the hexo-sized particles that can make creams difficult to apply to skin.
‘Sunblocks containing larger than nano-size molecules are usually harder to rub in, which can result in a white sheen over the skin’, explains Christopher Spezzano, non-executive director of incognito. ‘However, the difficulty to get the cream absorbed means it’s much easier to protect the skin – and coral reefs.’
This sunscreen has been completely reformulated to improve consistency, and a happy side-effect is that the moisturising and hydrating cream is now more water resistant than most other sunblocks.
The new and improved formulation is both coral friendly and sustainable, and maintains its special tri-action power as a sunblock, moisturiser and insect repellent with a light citrus fragrance.
With broad-spectrum SPF30 protection against both UVA and UVB rays, this non-greasy lotion helps protect the skin against both sun damage and ageing.
At the same time it provides a powerful camouflage from biting insects, including mosquitoes, midges, ticks, sand flies and land leeches that can be a nuisance at home and away.
This formula contains a high-grade plant-based PMD – the same anti insect ingredient contained in incognito’s award-winning insect repellent spray, lotion and roll-on.
PMD is approved by NHS and Public Health England, and recommended for high-risk areas to protect wearers against mosquito borne diseases. Incognito is clinically tested to protect against Aedes aegypti, Zika virus and dengue-carrying mosquitoes for five hours.
Incognito, a carbon-balanced business committed to ethical and fair practices, has already won two Queens Awards for Sustainable Development in recognition of the company’s efforts to ensure ‘a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come’.
‘At incognito we believe it is our responsibility to lead the way to a more sustainable industry and we strive to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible’, Howard tells us. ‘We strive to be the best at what we do, at as little cost to the environment as possible. In recognising the importance of sustainability within a context of mass, industrial environmental exportation and climatic threat, we are proud to be at the forefront of consumer-facing upstream sustainability.’
The sunblock comes packaged in environmentally friendly sugarcane plastic and is so gentle on the skin that it can be used by all the family, from the age of six months.
It is registered with The Vegan Society and the rigorously tested ingredients are free from GM and have never been tested on animals.
The 100% natural sunblock contains some organic ingredients and is certified Soil Association COSMOS Natural; a COSMOS Natural standard also ensures that both harmful environmental effects and waste production are minimised.