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Fun Protection . . . FunScreen sunscreen on Kiwi Shores

FunScreenThursday 24 March 2016, 2:49PM

Family, fun, safety and the outdoors were the key motivations behind Phillipa Evan's and John Kells' FunScreen sunscreen business venture. The brother-sister duo has designed an eco-friendly, kid-friendly sunscreen for New Zealand and it's ticking all the right boxes.

With a Clinical Biochemistry degree from Otago University tucked under her belt and experience in the field of oncology focusing on melanoma, Phillipa has always wanted to bring change to Aotearoa - where we have one of the highest melanoma rates globally. She worked closely alongside FunScreen's manufacturing partner on the formulation which has passed rigorous testing and has regulatory approval.

"My background in science has been instrumental in understanding the impact of sunscreen ingredients," she says. "I appreciate the vigilance of parents wanting to protect their children from the sun's rays, and also the increased public awareness of the impact of chemicals used in sunscreen because it is a health concern."

The development of FunScreen is something Phillipa is proud of and stands by.

"It doesn't contain any parabens - oxybenzones/preservatives, or nanoparticles - zinc oxide and titanium oxide, and is PABA free," she says. "I use it on my own three children, one of whom is highly allergenic and I also use it on my friend's kids. It contains vitamin E and natural aloe vera extract which nourishes skin at the same time.

"It is also dry-touch so it doesn't have that greasy film that many sunscreens tend to have, which kid's prefer. Nor is it tested on animals, which is very important to us."

Describing himself as a "big kid at heart" Phillipa's brother John was instantly drawn to FunScreen after a first-hand experience with melanoma.

"I had a typical Kiwi childhood - out from dawn till dusk, on the beach and at the park - constantly in the sun without as much sun protection as I should have used," he recalls. "Unfortunately, I developed a cancerous mole, but discovered it just in time before it spread and became aggressive. This personal journey, coupled with the fact I now have multiple nieces, nephews and godchildren, has really inspired me to get onboard with FunScreen and encourage better and safer sun protection habits for our young."

Research into the damage caused from over exposure to the New Zealand sun is also a critical factor with FunScreen.

 "New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. There are an estimated 70,000 new cases of skin cancer each year," says John.  "People can triple their risks of serious skin cancer from just one bad sunburn over a two-year period.  Despite this, a recent survey by Southern Cross revealed that 58% of New Zealanders are burnt every year and because kid's skin is more sensitive, the figures for them can be quite terrifying. Even one blistering burn may double a child's lifetime risk of melanoma!"

"Making a difference to our cancer statistics is FunScreen's mission", says Phillipa. "Experts say that four out of five skin cancers can be prevented by avoiding excessive UV rays. This is a critical issue that needs to be addressed and we are looking to make a difference, not by replacing current practices of seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and regular checks, but by complementing them," she says. "We aim to encourage our children to create positive habits around regular sunscreen protection by offering a high-quality formulation within a cool, fun, colourful, visible and engaging product".


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