In sunny weather, whether you're out in the garden or sunbathing on a beach, protecting your skin from damage from the sun is essential.
Reaching for your usual bottle of sunscreen may protect your skin from damage, early skin ageing, and diseases such as skin cancer – but, depending on the brand you choose, it may not be the best thing for the environment.
Many brands of sunscreen contain polluting chemicals that invariably end up in the sea – causing damage to delicate marine ecosystems and harming the species that live there.
Certain chemicals have been identified as being particularly dangerous – especially to coral reefs, which suffer bleaching and other issues when exposed to the pollutants.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are perhaps the worst offenders – and sunscreens containing these, and other chemicals such as octocrylene and parabens, can seriously harm marine environments.
Coral reefs are highly sensitive, so even tiny traces of these chemicals can have a devastating effect. And even if you don't plan to swim in the sea this summer, the chemicals in sunscreen get washed off in the shower, and could end up in the ocean.
These chemicals aren't great for humans either – studies have suggested that parabens, for example, are potentially harmful when applied to the skin.
Luckily, there are several manufacturers producing natural sunscreens that don't contain these damaging chemicals. Here are three to try.