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Lather Up: New Sunscreen Regulations

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 (www.planetsunhawaii.com) 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

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on Dec 23, 2011