This article appears in the spring issue of MyGreenPod.com Magazine, distributed with the Guardian on 07 April 2017. Click here to read the full digital issue online.
Howard Carter knows a thing or two about being bitten. As well as surviving a pitch to the Dragons, he’s pulled himself through a dose of dengue and a serious encounter with malaria, contracted – both times – while wearing maximum concentration Deet-based products.
The good news for the rest of us is that the experience inspired Howard to ind effective, natural ways to keep bugs at bay. He launched the award-winning incognito® in 2007 and has been developing new formulations of organic, natural insect repellent ever since.
The latest product is a suncream that protects against UV rays and insects in one swift, suitcase-lightening application. ‘Sometimes insect repellent can interfere with the ef ficacy of suncream’, Howard tells us, ‘making it dif ficult to ensure you’re fully protected from both sun and insects.’
The new incognito Second Skin Suncream uniquely overcomes this; it’s a triple-action sunscreen, moisturiser and insect repellent that frees up luggage space and saves you the hassle of applying three different products. ‘It’s also far more effective’, Howard explains, ‘with no conflicting scents that could help attract mosquitoes or other biting insects.’
Click here to find out why incognito’s Second Skin Suncream has been crowned a MyGreenPod Hero!
This isn’t the f irst time a company has combined a suncream – which Howard describes as ‘the holy grail of travel accessories’ – with an insect repellent, yet nearly all similar products have been withdrawn from UK and US shelves. ‘Previous efforts all went pear-shaped!’, Howard explains. ‘We’ve devised a new formula that solves the previous problems; it’s the only product on the market that combines natural ingredients to create a multi-action suncream and insect repellent, packaged in renewable sugarcane material.’
LEVEL OF PROTECTION
Second Skin Suncream offers protection from mosquitoes, midges, ticks, fleas, sandflies, wasps and many other insects. The active ingredient PMD – also known as oil of eucalyptus – is recommended by Public Health England and the NHS, and tests show it’s 100% effective against mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus, malaria, dengue and chikungunya.
‘We source the purest PMD’, Howard tells us, ‘so it’s highly effective as all allergens and impurities have been removed.’ It works by camouflaging the user rather than repelling insects, so the cream – which contains other ingredients with repellent qualities – has a dual mode of action.
The suncream element offers the highest medium level of protection you can get; it’s SPF 25 and will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. This broad-spectrum protection is important as UVA rays damage the skin, causing ageing and wrinkling, while UVB rays can lead to skin cancer.
BITES TO WATCH OUT FOR
The worst bite you could get in the UK over summer would be from the Blandford fly, though wasps, mosquitoes, midges and horse f lies can all cause distress, irritation and even severe reactions. Ticks, which are arachnids, are the only organisms in the UK that can give you a disease that’s fatal, but the list of insect-borne diseases abroad is long.
‘Various mosquito species are vectors for a host of different diseases’, Howard tells us. ‘Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue, chikungunya, Zika and West Nile viruses, whereas Anopheles gambiae are the most common vector of malaria.’ The tsetse fly, which looks similar to the housefly, is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and transmits the potentially fatal (and very dif ficult to treat) African trypanosomiasis, or ‘sleeping sickness’, while Leishmaniasis is a debilitating infection passed on by species of sand-fly.
‘Every year the threats are getting more severe’, Howard says. ‘There are more insects around and they keep moving into new places. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, follow humans around so whenever we build a new city or large town they quickly inhabit our surroundings.’
On top of that, insects are developing a resistance to the active ingredients of conventional insect repellents, such as Deet, pesticides and insecticides, which have been around for over half a century. ‘Mosquitoes are the most dangerous animal on Earth’, Howard tells us. ‘They only tend to live for a short time so they can adapt really quickly, and have evolved over millions of years to become a hugely resistant organism.’ They’re developing a resistance to active ingredients that have been used in excess, which presents a real challenge – particularly in the f ight against malaria.
‘Mosquitoes are often overlooked as more of a nuisance than anything else’, Howard says. ‘A recent survey revealed that 67% of Brits heading abroad hadn’t packed insect repellent.’