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Surfers find the answer to sunburn in seaweed

An Industrial Design student from Brunel University has designed Surfscreen, the first ever natural and instantly biodegradable sun screen dispenser for surfers, in a bid to minimise the effects of sunburn during a long day in the surf.

Surfers spending an average of two or more hours in the water at peak mid-morning times with only a single application of sunscreen face increased chances of skin cancer. According to the latest figures published by Cancer Research UK, there are 73, 000 new cases of skin cancer reported in the UK every year , with surfers at higher risk due to prolonged exposure to the sun.

Surfscreen - How does it work?
Mark Dowson's Surfscreen design consists of an organic soft gel sun cream capsule made from agar - a natural extract found in seaweed. Each capsule contains a single application of sunscreen either in SPF 15 or SPF 30. Enough to protect the face, neck and hands for up to two hours.

Surfers keep the gel-like capsules waterproof by wearing an arm band with up to five water tight compartments where the capsules are stored. Paddling out to the break or waiting for the next wave, surfers can easily apply sunscreen by popping open the waterproof compartment to remove the Surfscreen pods. Simply twisting the soft lid will dispense the sunscreen, after that toss the empty capsule in the ocean. Due to its natural components, the capsule instantly biodegrades when it hits the water leaving no trace of pollution.

Innovator, Mark Dowson, says: “Living in Cornwall I spend most of my time on the beach or in the surf and usually only apply sunscreen at the beginning of a session. Leaving the sea every hour or so to top up sunscreen is a hassle and if the waves are good, nothing can drag you away, not even sunburn. I hope that with the Surfscreen, we can provide a hassle free solution and eco-friendly product for surfers to protect themselves from the sun.“

Ben Wood, local Cornwall resident and tester of the Surfscreen commented. “The Surfscreen was really easy to use and I was able to protect myself from the sun at various points in the day by using the different factor capsules. It's also a bonus that it's environmentally friendly.“

Paul Turnock, Industrial Design and Product Design Course Director at Brunel University's School of Engineering and Design, comments, “Through his environmentally sound and effective Surfscreen design, Mark has tackled two key issues affecting surfers, sun safety and the need to minimize water pollution. We see that designers need to incorporate more environmentally friendly elements as part of their designs to increase social awareness and the Surfscreen is an example of an easy to use product with great ecological benefits.“

Notes to Editors
Interviews and images are available on request.
For further information, please contact:
Dominique Nunes / Katy Askew at Racepoint Group