Before I heard the story behind Altruist sunscreens, I had seen them a couple of times in my local chemist’s shop. On the grey tube, there’s a prominent ‘Dermatologist’ writing. I thought to myself ‘another lousy doctor’s brand’ with a doctor that agreed to give his/her name for a share in sales; though, the products themselves have nothing to offer. However, when Dr Dray (an amazing woman, check out her Youtube channel) reviewed Altruist sunscreens, I was more than surprised. It turned out that Altruist are not ‘another lousy doctor’s brand’, but a company with a genuine message to deliver good-quality products to people. There are two sides to Altruist: the first one, they offer well-formulated and affordable sunscreens, the second one, they help people with albinism in Africa, a story that always moves my heart. Hence, I had to try them out. After watching Dr Dray’s video, I ran to my local chemist’s the next day. The power of blogging you would say.
The sunscreen itself is quite enjoyable. I’ve bought the SPF 30, as my local chemist’s shop seems to be only carrying this one (at least whenever when I am there), though I am pretty fine with it. It’s all about applying and reapplying, the right amounts. I’ve been using it for a month now, and I must admit that I am amazed. The sunscreen cost me €4.50 for 200 ml; it’s about US$ 5 or £4, I mean it’s peanuts you would say. In the same chemist’s shop, the shop’s own brand sunscreens are more expensive than Altruist’s, and they are in no way similar. First of all, Altruist sunscreens have very high UVA protection, exceeding the EU’s standard of UVA: UVB in the ratio of 1:3; reaching 5 stars in the UK’s UVA rating system (PA++++ I reckon). The SPF 30 (and SPF 50 too) is a mixture of chemical filters, in the majority, and titanium dioxide, which makes it a perfect sunscreen for all complexions as it leaves no white cast whatsoever. It blends in perfectly; it’s alcohol and fragrance-free. It has a bit of glycerine-ish feeling (if that make sense), however, nothing disturbing. Last weekend, I tested Biore UV Essence for the first time (as many people praise it I also had to try it) both Altruist and Biore blended-in similarly and had a similar finish. However, Altruist came up front for me because it wasn’t as sticky on my face, especially during sweltering days. Yes, it can get a bit sticky on hot, humid days here, but it happens to pretty much every sunscreen on my face. I am surprised that so many people praise Biore’s essence because I was disappointed with it. For me, Alutrist sunscreen is rocking it. I am not sure how it would work under makeup, but I put some BB cream on top of it, and it performs wonderfully.
It’s ideal both for body and face. It didn’t break me out, though it’s water resistant. During very warm days, I skip my moisturiser and only use this sunscreen. It’s enough for me and doesn’t irritate my skin after shaving. My only concern is that the sunscreen can become a bit shiny in my T-zone after a couple of hours and reapplications, which is totally fine but it’s nothing that a blotting powder or papers can’t fix. It’s also worthwhile to note that the preservatives used in this product are mild and specially selected to limit the possibility of irritation. For anyone interested, this sunscreen does not stink. A friend of mine asked me about the smell of it when I offered her the sunscreen. The sunscreen smells of Bepanthen, to me, if you know how the scent. It isn’t off-putting, and this sunscreen has a barely smells like it.
The second side of the brand is the support for the charity. Altruist donate a portion of their profits to Under the Same Sun charity which helps children with albinism in Tanzania. First of all, albinism in Africa is difficult because you need to protect yourself from the harsh African sun. If you don’t know albinism, it’s a condition in which the pigment in the skin is lacking; meaning people with albinism are more perceptible to sun damage and skin cancer. Secondly, there’s an ongoing prosecution done by people because of backward beliefs about albinism in the region. Some people believe that consuming body parts of people with albinism brings health and other beneficial properties… I have watched a few documentaries about albinism in Africa, and the story always moves my heart. I have found one to share by Russia Today, on Youtube. I highly encourage to watch this one and other films about this issue; the story of these children is touching.
I also encourage you to visit Altruist’s website where Dr Andrew Birnie, the man behind the brand, answered the most common questions about sunscreens and sun protection. All of the answers are very informative and based on scientific knowledge. So instead you going onto holistic websites offering raspberry and coconut oils as sunscreens, please visit Altruist’s FAQs page. And if you use any vegetable or fruit oils as sunscreens, please stop.
Ultimately, it’s a great sunscreen at a bargain price. Perfect for all, from very sensitive (even rosacea-prone) to oily skin types. Though people with acne and very oily skin would prefer something lighter and mattifying, I assume. Dr Birnie and his team have done an astounding job of providing people with affordable sun protection. Many people do not apply sunscreens enough or at all because of the cost. The researchers know it, and even the EU are aware of it (I’ve read that in one of their documents) However, the companies seem to look away and instead overprice their sunscreens. Let’s be honest if a sunscreen product was formulated a couple of years ago, with the greedy margins (usually between 40-70% sometimes even more) that the companies put, they can surely make money back within a couple of seasons. So Altruist’s sunscreens are the answer to our problem. There is not much money spend on packaging or marketing, a squeeze-out tube is all you need really, and the margin is most likely low. The idea is to provide affordable sunscreen and promote sun protection not to make money. I would like to see more options available from Altruist. I am a fan of ultra-light sunscreens, and if Dr Birnie’s team could develop this alcohol-free sunscreen so pleasurable to use, I can only imagine the same sunscreen with a splash of alcohol.
Ingredients: Aqua, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Octocrylene, Glycerin, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide (nano), Cyclopentasiloxane, Aminomethyl Propanol, Tris-Biphenyl Triazine (nano), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Silica, Piroctone Olamine, Caprylyl Glycol, Decyl Glucoside, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Disodium Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Silver Chloride. (tube)
You can buy the Altruist SPF 30 internationally from amazon.co.uk for £4; as well as their other sunscreens, the 1-litre bottle makes it even a bigger bargain. The sunscreens are also available in the Netherlands at Trekpleister (and other retailers), and in Belgium at Carrefour.
If you want to help children with albinism and support the Under the Same Sun charity, head to their website to donate.
PS. Regarding the bad reviews on Amazon, take them with a pinch of salt. Each sunscreen that was tested should provide the guaranteed protection (given that the right amount was applied), and I am sure it’s the case here. The people who complain about sunscreens not protecting their skin should consider these three points: 1. did you apply the right amount?; 2. no sunscreen guarantees 100% protection (if I’m not mistaken this information should be on sunscreen packaging in the EU); 3. if you expose yourself to direct sunlight, you will get sun damage. There you have it. Sunscreen is not a miracle; it does not give you the right to burn yourself in the sun without consequences.