The Hawaiian Islands have 410,000 acres of coral reefs - this is larger than the island of Oahu!
Coral reefs and the marine life that lives there are some of the main attractions in Hawaii and other tropical beach destinations. However, these ecosystems are fragile and need protection.
One way to avoid damaging the marine environment is to use the right sunscreen. Some types of sunscreen can harm coral reefs, fish, and other marine life. Hawaii-safe sunscreen protects the environment and your skin.
Learn more about how to choose a Hawaii-safe sunscreen and apply it properly.
Why Is Hawaii-Safe Sunscreen Important?
UV rays can cause sunburns and even skin cancer. Using the right sunscreen is very important.
Many factors affect your daily UV exposure. The strength of UV rays depends on many factors, such as:
- Time of day
- Season of the year
- Latitude (distance from the equator)
- Reflective surfaces like water, snow, or pavement
Conventional sunscreen contains chemicals that damage coral reefs and marine life. Hawaii banned the sale of these types of sunscreen in the state in 2021. Sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate is no longer allowed.
You won't be fined or arrested for bringing the wrong type of sunscreen. However, using Hawaii-safe sunscreen is important. You'll be following the law.
You'll also be protecting Hawaii's incredible ecosystems. Coral reef bleaching is a serious problem. You can help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii.
Ingredients to Look for in Safe Sunscreen
Reef-safe sunscreens don't contain chemicals including oxybenzone and octinoxate. They also avoid nanoparticles, which can penetrate coral cells in the water.
Safe sunscreens use mineral-based ingredients. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are common ingredients. Minerals create a physical barrier on your skin to scatter harmful UV rays.
This differs from chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreen lets UV rays enter your skin. The sunscreen creates a chemical reaction that converts the UV light into heat, and the heat dissipates harmlessly.
Some sunscreen brands are labeled reef-safe. You should always read the ingredients, though. You can also find many safe, mineral-based sunscreens that don't have a reef-safe label.
What to Know About Hawaii-Safe Sunscreen
Mineral-based sunscreens differ from chemical sunscreens in several ways. They have many advantages in addition to being reef-safe. They reflect UVA and UVB rays for effective protection.
You want broad-spectrum sunscreen brands with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
Mineral sunscreen is thicker than chemical sunscreen. Older versions could leave a white color on your skin. Some people found the texture unpleasantly thick.
The latest safe sunscreens are easier to apply. They're less obvious on your skin. They're tinted to better match your skin tone.
Mineral-based sunscreen is a better choice for people with sensitive skin. Chemical sunscreens can irritate the skin. They can provoke acne.
Mineral sunscreens won't cause irritation or allergies.
How to Apply Hawaii-Safe Sunscreen
When you apply sunscreen, using enough helps ensure you get the best sun protection. Dermatologists recommend using one ounce of sunscreen for your whole body. That's the equivalent of a shot glass full of sunscreen.
Your face needs extra attention. You'll want about a fingertip's worth of sunscreen for your face.
Mineral sunscreens work right away. You don't need to wait for them to absorb into your skin like chemical sunscreens.
If you're applying other products to your face, the order matters. Apply moisturizer before mineral sunscreen. You want the sunscreen to form a protective layer on top of your skin.
If you're applying makeup such as foundation, put it on after the sunscreen. Mineral makeup can help protect your skin. Be sure to wait a few minutes after applying sunscreen to apply your makeup.
Reapplying Safe Sunscreen
Hawaii-safe sunscreen is very effective - tt will wear off eventually, though. The particles slowly break down under UV rays.
The two-hour rule is a good guideline for mineral sunscreens. Reapplication is especially important if you're in the full sun without other sun protection. You'll need frequent reapplication if you're swimming or doing activities that cause you to sweat.
Boost Your Sun Protection
Sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from damaging UV rays. You can take other suncare steps to boost your protection. These methods help you avoid UV rays without harming the marine environment.
Stay in the Shade
Simply staying in the shade is a good way to limit your UV exposure. For example, you can use an umbrella or cabana at the beach.
Wear Clothing, Even on the Beach
Clothing protects you from UV rays by covering your skin. The level of protection depends on the clothing.
For example, dark colors block more UV rays than light colors. Tightly-woven fabric is better than a loose weave. Dry clothing is more protective than wet clothing.
Some clothing is designed to protect you from the sun. These garments have a UV protection factor (UPV) value on the label. A higher UPV value gives you more protection.
Wear a Hat
A hat helps protect areas that are very sensitive to sun exposure. A hat with a brim all the way around shields your eyes, ears, forehead, nose, and scalp. A wide brim protects your neck as well.
A full-brimmed hat gives you more protection than a baseball cap. A baseball cap only covers the front and top of your head. It doesn't protect your neck or ears.
Use UV-Blocking Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them. Look for sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
Sunglasses offer different levels of UV protection. Sunglasses that meet ANSI UV requirements block at least 99% of harmful rays. Cosmetic sunglasses only block around 70% of UV rays.
Choose the Right Hawaii-Safe Sunscreen
Hawaii-safe sunscreen is good for your skin and good for the environment. You have many sunscreen brands to choose from, though. Read the ingredients to be sure the sunscreen doesn't contain harmful chemicals.
Look for a UV rating of at least 30. Be sure to apply enough sunscreen and reapply it as needed.
Minou and Lily has a wide range of suncare products. You can choose the mineral sunscreen that best fits your skin and your lifestyle. Check out our product line today to find the right safe sunscreen for your fun in the sun.