The Sun, Hawaiian Style

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Hawaii’s Sun

With Hawaii located close to the equator, the sunrises and sunsets don’t vary too much. Same with the daylight time, steady amount all year long.

Unlike the US mainland, Hawaii doesn’t change their time to and from daylight savings time. Hawaii’s typical year will have approximately 70% days of sunshine. With May to October having the most sun filled days, all months have beautiful sunny days on the islands.

It’s perfect for vacationing, but more caution to all who are fair skinned. The sunniest and driest side of each island is the leeward side (South or West).

The windward side (North & East) is likely to be more wet, with lush green landscape.

Leeward locations include:

Waikiki/Honolulu (Oahu)
Kihei/Wailea/Makena/Lahaina/Kaanapali (Maui)
PoiPu/Waimea/Lihue/Kapaa (Kauai)
Kona/Waikoloa (Big Island Hawaii)

Hawaii Leads The Way

Hawaiians have always been respectful of their land and sea. Not just for survival of themselves as resources are limited, but for the future of these spectacular islands. Visitors were always cautioned not to step on the coral reefs, they are alive and they are very vulnerable.

Well the State of Hawaii has taken that protection of reefs to another level. In 2018 Hawaii became the first State to pass a bill that bans chemical based sunscreens. This ban goes into effect on Jan 1st, 2021. Close to 80% of sunscreen products will be banned.

Studies have found that these chemicals are harmful to coral, including stunting the growth of baby coral. Coral is made up of algae and these chemicals tend to expel the algae, therefore impending the corals health, this is called coral bleaching. Banned chemicals include Oxybenzone & Octinoxate.

These paraben groups have been proven to harm coral reefs, along with marine animals such as clams & shrimp. Hawaiian government and local population really stand behind their pledge to help preserve oceans and marine life. Some tour operators will only allow reef friendly products on their tour.

Sunscreen - Protection & Burns

Sunscreen is usually in the form of a lotion or a spray. Sprays seem easier to use for hard to reach spots or never sit still children. However, spays disperse sunscreen everywhere around you, including breathing it in or even the sand, to be washed out to sea.

The SPF rating shows you how much UV sun rays are blocked. Fair skinned people should get a higher SPF number. There are now sunblocks for specific body parts, like face or hair. When applying sunscreen, start your first coating at home so you can cover all areas. Then re-apply every 2 hours, even if it’s a cloudy day or you plan to go swimming.

The areas on the body that generally get missed include: your ears, hands, neck and the bottom of your feet. Best to get those areas at home before you’re in the sand.

Other ways to prevent sun exposure include; set an alarm to remind you to reapply, wearing a hat, rash guard, swim tights, buffs and sunglasses.

My favorite tip is to flip every 20 minutes 🙂

Artificial Sun

Many want that nice color a tan brings, but one bad sunburn can increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Some think artificial sun, such as tanning booths or spray on tans can be used instead for color. However, they both have ongoing controversy over safety.

There are no safe tanning booths, scientists say and the chemicals in spray on’s, can also be hazardous to your health. Getting a ‘base’ tan, will not prevent you from getting sunburn. For outdoor sun, it’s best to avoid the midday sun when the sun is at its hottest. Even with the natural sun, too much exposure will damage your skin.

We all want to do our part in preservation of our oceans, that being said, visitors use tons of sunscreen every year in millions of plastic bottles. Start looking for those reef friendly products. Other items such as lipstick, moisturizers and shampoo are loaded with chemicals, they have not been banned, but for your own health it’s good to know what you’re exposing your skin to. Great advice with regards to taking sunscreen to Hawaii, don’t!

Buy your reef friendly product in Hawaii, use it all up while visiting, then you have more room for souvenirs.