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.
Weleda's Edelweiss Sun Care range offers excellent protection for the whole family whilst safeguarding skin health and the environment. It contains non-nano mineral UV filters and the ingredients are 100% certified natural.
Weleda sunscreens are active immediately upon application, and are waterproof and suitable for sensitive skin types – even delicate baby skin.
The thick formula stays visible on the skin when applied – making it a great choice for parents who want to ensure that all areas of their baby or toddler's skin have been protected.
The sunscreen smells good too, with a summery fragrance of lavender, roman chamomile and lemon-scented litsea cubeba. It also nourishes and moisturises the skin, thanks to organic sunflower oil.
Edelweiss Sunscreen Lotion is Suitable for vegans, and comes in a terracycle tube that can be recycled.
Weleda also produce a lovely . Also created from natural ingredients – including organic aloe vera, edelweiss and olive oil – it has a refreshing scent, is quickly absorbed, and soothes and hydrates sun-kissed skin.
Formulated to be worn under makeup, this protective facial moisturiser is non-greasy and is quickly absorbed into the skin, leaving a matte finish.
It provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection to help prevent sunburn and decrease the risk of skin cancer. The moisturiser's DNA Protection Complex also offers antioxidant protection against free radical damage.
The mineral formula provides long-lasting hydration and is perfect for dry and sensitive skin, and skin that's prone to redness. It's very pleasant to apply – with a fresh, citrusy scent, and leaves skin feeling soft, smooth and nourished.
If you're heading somewhere where mosquitoes or midges may be a problem, incognito's new sun cream and insect repellant may be very useful.
The non-greasy cream offers broad-spectrum SPF30 protection against both UVA and UVB rays, protecting against sun damage and ageing. It's made with aloe, geranium and edelweiss, with a light and fresh fragrance – and has a rich, moisturising formula that's easy to apply to achieve maximum coverage.
The cream is DEET-free, and contains PMD – the same insect-repelling ingredient as found in incognito's award-winning and Roll-On. PMD is approved by NHS, Public Health England, and WHO, and is recommended for high-risk areas for mosquito-borne diseases – offering clinically tested 100% prevention from biting insects for four hours.
Approved by the Soil Association as COSMOS Natural, the ingredients contain no GM, and are never tested on animals. A COSMOS Natural standard also ensures that both harmful environmental effects and waste production are minimised.
The bottle is made from renewably resourced and eco-friendly sugarcane plastic, which has a positive carbon footprint and is 100% recyclable. Incognito is also an ethical and environmentally conscious company that donates 10% of its profits to charity.
incognito Sun Cream and Insect Repellant also comes in a handy 75ml size – perfect for popping in your hand luggage, or taking on day trips. And the three-in-one formula – sunscreen, insect repellant and moisturiser – means you can reduce the number of bottles you have to carry with you.