Nothing screams a successful Hawaii getaway than a glowing golden tan. That’s the color to be had after those care-free days basking in the Hawaiian sun or surfing in Waikiki. Basically wearing nothing but your beach attire 24/7.Sunscreen makes us smile. Protect yourself whenever you’re out and about.

And because Hawaii requires very minimal epidermal coverage, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. I’ve seen some pretty bad sunburns from lobster-red to even blistering, and trust me, you don’t wanna go there! There’s a few things you should know next time you lather on that lotion for the ocean, starting with new sunscreen regulations.

Just recently, the federal Food and Drug Administration ordered sunscreen manufacturers to revise product labels. Here are two things your tube of screen should now read:

1) SPF 30 – SPF measures a sunscreen’s capability to prevent burns. SPF 30, period. If it’s less than that, then don’t bother buying it unless you want to show a shade closer to Kool Aid.

2) UVB and UVA – Sunburns are caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) light, but now we know that ultraviolet A (UVA) is the one that causes aging and contributes to skin cancer. Get a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” and contains zinc oxide or avobenzone to protect against UVA.

3) Sweatproof/Waterproof – There’s no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen. The best you’ll get is water-resistant. Regardless, you should reapply every couple of hours. There’s a lot you should know when buying the next bottle of screen.

You could also consider sun-protective clothing products that actually look like real clothing. A local Oahu-based company called Planet Sun Hawaii ( sells special hats, shirts and umbrellas, as well as its own line of sunscreen.

Now the next time you’re in the islands, don’t only bask in the sun but in the information you just received. Sending lots of Hawaiian sunshine your way!

Source: Federal Food and Drug Administration


  1. The Hawaiian sun is unlike anywhere on the mainland! Growing up in Vermont, I would sit out on my lanai and bake for hours. Now, I can’t imagine going out for a day on the beach without sunscreen!

  2. For oceangoers, using a stick type of sunscreen for your face will avoid eye stinging. I am hooked on Shiseido’s face stick. Its great, you can put it on your forehead and it won’t get into your eyes. Even if you’re sweating from a racing event. Its great!

  3. I always heard that not much difference between spf 15 and 30 in terms of actual effectiveness. Can you shed any light on that? Probably the key is to be regular and consistent in the application.

  4. Kalei, the Shiseido one is great. There’s also the Vertra face stick, but I heard that they no longer make it. Not completely sure…but thanks for sharing!

    David, I have read that SPF 15 blocks about 95 percent of rays while SPF 30 blocks about 97 percent. From 30 and up, there isn’t much difference in terms of the percent blockage. So I’d play it safe and stick to SPF 30 while also making sure to reapply regularly. Thanks for asking!

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