In 2019, our team wanted to force a global change: make sunscreen more accessible and affordable than ever. This came from learning 80% of sun damage happens before the age of 18; it scared us.
We put our heads together and devised the 3 step strategy to help us achieve our goal. We called for the government to abolish VAT on sunscreen and pledged to donate free sunscreens to families who can’t afford it.
Our mission is still ongoing and we need your help more than ever.
Help Us Donate Free Sunscreen:
Total donated to date: 43,000
Total target to donate: 63,000
2023 – We pledge to donate 20,000 free sunscreens to families across the UK in partnership with InKind and Beauty Banks
2022 – Donated 23,000 free sunscreens through partnerships with Schools, InKind and new partner: Beauty Banks
2021 – Donated 20,000 free sunscreens to families across the UK with our schools and InKind partnership.
2020 – We developed the world’s first non-profit sunscreen to donate to families that can’t afford it for our #SunPoverty campaign.
2019 – #SunPoverty was born from our CEO, Rakesh, and lead Campaigner, Chelsey, looking for a solution to end the burden of not being able to afford sunscreen or knowing the harmful effects of not protecting yourself.
We Want VAT Scrapped On Sunscreen:
Sunscreen is a necessity; it’s not discretionary. We’re calling on the government to scrap VAT on sunscreen in the UK and have been since 2019. Please share and support our message to make positive change.
We are committed to eradicating the damage caused by #SunPoverty in the UK by donating tens of thousands of sunscreens to children who can’t afford it, also helping to educate school children about the dangers of not protecting themselves from UV rays.
Our aim is to teach and establish good sun habits during youth, while providing equal opportunities to children eligible for free school meals through our #SunPoverty campaign. We are also calling on the Government to abolish VAT on children’s sunscreen, as it’s not discretionary but necessary.
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• 16,200 people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the UK.*
• 80% of sun damage happens before the age of 18.*
• 86% of melanoma cases are preventable.*
Did you know that excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) – particularly from a young age – is shown to be the main cause of both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer , and also skin ageing? Sunburn proves to be the most harmful, but frequent non-burning exposures are also damaging .
There’s no doubt about it; UVR exposure from natural sunlight  is damaging. It might seem like a bit of a bleak picture. But, the good news is that the right education can change behaviour  – and that’s where you come in.
School education has been clearly shown to raise children’s awareness of sun safety . Promotion of sun safety in schools, particularly at primary school age when behaviour is most likely to be influenced, is expected to lead to long-term reduction in skin cancer incidence , so it’s vital that we teach every kid about the importance of sunscreen from a young age.
How We Will Make A Difference
For every Escentual Sunscreen we sell, we will donate 1 to a child eligible for free school meals in the UK.
• We have created an educational comic for teachers across the UK download and use.
• We have developed a child-friendly story to create good sun habits that can be passed onto future generations.
• We’re calling for children’s sunscreen to have zero VAT as it’s not discretionary; it’s a necessity.
Our Sunscreen has been made and tested under strict regulations in Australia. (AUSTL 314149). It’s also U.K. compliant. U.K. Registration Reference Number: UKCP- 61708019, and is safe for sensitive skin. You can find out all about our SPF50+ sunscreen with our edit…
How You Can Help
• Sharing and raising awareness of the #SunPoverty problem.
• Calling for zero VAT on children’s sunscreen.
• Encouraging people to buy Escentual Sunscreen SPF50+
• Being an advocate for sun safety.
InKind Direct and Beauty Banks are helping us distribute free sunscreen across the UK to families that need it most
Beauty Industry Partners
We would like to thank our 2023 key partners, Clarins and Shiseido, for their contributions and support to help end #SunPoverty. We hope to create an industry-wide movement, bringing more brands on board to help end #SunPoverty.
Download Our Assets:
Learn more about the campaign:
Download Seren, The Sun Hero and our Colouring Activity:
- Download and print our Seren, The Sun Hero Comic Book
- Download and print our Seren, The Sun Hero Colouring Activity
“Skin cancer is very real, extremely dangerous and on the increase – that’s why I’m supporting Escentual’s #SunPoverty campaign. 80% of sun damage happens before the age of 18. Escentual’s initiative to abolish VAT on children’s sun cream, educate young people on sun safety, and donate thousands of broad-spectrum SPF50+ to children in struggling families is incredibly important.”
Caroline Hirons, Author, Skincare Expert
“As someone who’s had pre-cancerous skin cells removed (thank you, 1980’s sunbathing-in-coconut-oil madness), I know how real the danger of UV radiation is, especially in your free-wheeling childhood. That’s why the #SunPoverty campaign is so important. For every bottle of Escentual sun lotion (a broad-spectrum SPF50+ that ticks all the boxes) you buy, the brand will donate one to children who are under 12 and on free school meals. Please help spread the love – and the sunscreen!”
Ingeborg van Lotringen, Author, Ex Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan
“This is a great campaign to teach Welsh children the importance of good sun care. This summer when we are outside enjoying the weather it’s vital that children understand the need to apply sun screen, and it’s great that the SunPoverty campaign has made this available to everyone. When I’m out on my bike training or racing I always make sure that I’ve applied enough sun screen for the day, on my face and arms, and even if the sun isn’t out you should still apply sun cream because you can still get exposure to the UVB rays even when it’s cloudy.”
Geraint Thomas OBE, Welsh Gold Medallist
“Every child in Wales should be protected in the right way against sun exposure and at the very minimum have access to sun lotions and this is why I am supporting the SunPoverty campaign.”
Beth Fisher, Sports Reporter for ITV Wales
“Exposing our children to the sun can frequently lead to very poor health outcomes – sometimes much later in life. A better understanding of these dangers, and how the use of sun creams can assist is important knowledge for children and parents to have. This initiative by Escentual is to be commended for bringing this little understood health matter to the fore, and for providing the resources to improve knowledge on how to prevent these risks.”
Lord German OBE, House of Lords
“For children, learning and understanding about “Safety in the Sun” should run alongside other key topics such as road safety. Escentual’s imaginative scheme will encourage children and their parents to follow health guidelines from an early age, so we are grateful to them for providing the resources needed for this important contribution to future good health.”
Baroness Randerson, House Of Lords
“Being a parent to a young child, I see how sensitive their skin is daily. Protecting them is so important. I’m thrilled to see Escentual’s initiatives with Sun protection will reach some of the children most in need of this support”.
Peony Lim, Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
“Taking care of your skin and avoiding getting burnt in the sun saves lives. I know better than most because my stage three cancer almost certainly came from getting burnt when I was a child. So please do protect yourself and your children.”
Chris Bryant MP, Stage 3 Melanoma Patient and Patron for Melanoma UK
“It’s important that all children know about and are protected from the dangers of the Sun’s rays. I welcome the fact that the Sun Poverty campaign is providing free sunscreen lotion to children who qualify for free school meals in Cardiff and I thank the Primary Schools of Cardiff for all that they do to help keep local children safe.”
“Sunburn in childhood is the most common cause of skin cancer in later life. It’s vitally important that children and babies (and adults) are protected against the sun’s harmful rays with a high factor broad spectrum sun cream. All children should have access to adequate sun protection and that’s why I’m supporting the #SunPoverty campaign by @escentual which is giving out over 30,000 free sun creams this summer to primary school children on free school meals. They are also campaigning for the government to drop VAT on children’s sun cream, which I fully support.”
Ashley James, Presenter, DJ and Empowerment Coach
“Studies suggest that approximately one-quarter of the lifetime UV damage suffered by our skin occurs before the age of 20, which increases the risk of skin cancer later in life. This highlights why access to sun protection is vital and why education is key to developing good sun protection habits and reducing risk. We’re proud to support Escentual’s Sun Poverty campaign and work together to educate and protect.”
Dylan Griffiths, Professional Expertise Manager, Eucerin/Beiersdorf UK Ltd.
“If there’s one category of skin care that I would urge people to invest in, it’s good quality sun care every time. Sun protection is the most complex and sophisticated field of skin care development, and undeniably the most important. Using a daily highly protective SPF is a step in your skin care routine you will always be thankful for in the future.”
Debbie Lewis, Managing Director, Clarins (UK) Ltd
“Excessive exposure to the sun is a danger, but so is its absence. Some of our brands at NAOS are inspired by the sun. Our founder Jean-Noël Thorel, a biologist pharmacist, creator of Bioderma, invented numerous patents that nowadays are used in our sun care ranges to enjoy the sun safely. We believe light is the source of life and that we should live harmoniously with it, to do so education and awareness to sun exposure are essential for children. Their behaviour is most likely to be positively influenced if such education is offered since young age, and we are proud to support Escentual’s Sun Poverty Campaign and achieve this objective together.”
Alessandro Ibelli, Managing Director, Bioderma UK.
“Summer means hot weather and everyone – especially children – should wear broad-spectrum SPF every day. Sadly, not everyone can afford it so the #SunPoverty campaign is a brilliant way to protect all children. It’s an amazing and generous campaign by Escentual, which me & Mila support.”
Kristina Rihanoff, Former Strictly Come Dancing Professional Dancer
“It’s so important to keep children protected from the sun with good quality high factor sun cream. Skin cancer is a growing problem in the UK and that’s why I always keep my two little ones well covered in lotion at all times. That’s why I’m supporting the Escentual #SunPoverty campaign, which is providing free sun creams for primary school children on free school meals, so that all children can have access to adequate sun protection.”
Kara Tointon, Actor and Mum of Two
“I am passionate about children being active outside and making sun lotion available to all, not just those who can afford it, is something I support wholeheartedly. It’s fantastic that the SunPoverty campaign will give away free sun lotion to Welsh primary school children. This will hopefully allow thousands of Welsh children to enjoy an active lifestyle safely this summer.”
Laura McAlistair, Former Wales International Footballer, Chair of Sport Wales
“When I was younger I used to love sunbathing but I didn’t use suncream. I didn’t think I needed it because I believed that Cancer was something that happened to other people. Twenty years later I was diagnosed with Skin Cancer – not once but twice. Don’t make the mistake that I did, because if it can happen to me then it can happen to you. Please wear sun protection and support Escentual’s campaign to end #SunPoverty.”
Stephan Matthews, Brand Advisor and Copywriter
”I absolutely love the initiative Escentual have created. Education on sun awareness from a young age is crucial. I hope the Government listens and abolishes VAT on sunscreen as it’s a necessity.”
Dr Cristina Psomadakis, Dermatologist.
Press and Media
Please email: email@example.com or call 07817083358 for all media requests.
Is the sunscreen cruelty-free?
Yes, we can confirm our sun cream is cruelty-free as it is not tested on animals. You can find out more about our SPF formula here.
Are you attempting to abolish VAT on all sun protection or children’s only?
We hope to call for the abolishment of VAT on sunscreen for everyone.
How will you know which children are receiving free school meals and qualify?
We donate directly to schools and via supporting charities; we’re working very closely with local organisations, councils and the government to ensure our sunscreen goes to those in need.
Is the plastic made from recycled materials and is it recyclable?
The plastic part is fully recyclable (without the carabiner clip, which can be specially recycled separately), but it can also be refilled and reused.
 Fatiha El Ghissassi and others, ‘A review of human carcinogens – Part D: radiation’, The Lancet Oncology, 10 (2009),
 Sophie Seite and others, ‘Photodamage to human skin by suberythemal exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation can be
attenuated by sunscreens: a review’, British Journal of Dermatology, 163 (2010), 903-14.
 B.L. Diffey, ‘A quantitative estimate of melanoma mortality from ultraviolet A sunbed use in the U.K.’, British Journal
of Dermatology, 149 (2003), 578-81.
 [Anon.], ‘Behaviour change: general approaches’, NICE, 24 October 2007 <https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/PH6>
[accessed 4 May 2021].
 Helen Dixon, Ron Borland and David Hill, ‘Sun protection and sunburn in primary school children: the influence of
age, gender, and coloring’, Preventive Medicine, 28 (1999), 119-30.
 Julie S. Townsend and others, ‘Targeting children through school-based education and policy strategies:
comprehensive cancer control activities in melanoma prevention’, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Updated by Chelsey Edmunds, (May 15, 2023 @ 18:10:25)