Hawaii is the first country to pass a legislation to ban certain sun creams in a bid to protect their coral reefs from damage.
Research has shown that damage to coral reefs has increased by up to 90 percent in some cases, and some of that damage is irreversible. Chemicals such as Oxybenzone and Octinxate (found in most well-known sun cream brands) are bleaching the coral and affecting its ability to reproduce and grow.
These chemicals enter the reef by coming off tourist’s skin when they are snorkelling or swimming. It is believed just one drop of oxydenzone in an area of water around the size of one and a half swimming pools has been proven to cause bleaching and DNA problems in coral reefs, so it’s very important to bear this in mind if you’re planning on going snorkelling or diving whilst on holiday.
Whilst the ban in Hawaii isn’t expected to be in full force until January 1st 2021, it may be worth looking for sun creams that do not contain oxybenzone or octinxate when visiting the state or going on any holiday which will involve you swimming in the sea.
Following Hawaii’s legislation pass, it is believed the next country to adopt a similar ruling is Ibiza, however this is for very different reasons. As the country is becoming more well-known for its nightlife rather than its white isles, the San Antonio council is putting together a pitch to ban all tourists from using sun cream in public. Following the recent change of law which banned tourists from drinking in public, including soft drinks and water, there are fears that tourists will fill up their sun cream bottles with alcohol and apply it to the skin in an attempt to absorb it and get drunk.
Despite the reasoning, the Ibizan council are facing questions from medical experts who state that water and sun cream is essential in Balearic heat to avoid illness.
Whilst there has been no announcement yet of this law passing in Ibiza, it is worth remembering the country’s concerns of drinking and behaviour in public as you may get cautioned and even fined if you are seen to be acting inappropriately.
Regardless if this law is passed or not, you should always take care to protect yourself and your skin from harmful UV rays whilst on holiday, so apply plenty of high factor sun cream before you leave your accommodation, make sure you take shelter in the shade and cover any areas of your skin that appear red or sore to help protect them from overexposure.
Sun-related medical costs, such as treatment for dehydration, sun stroke, blistering and sun burn can be pricey so it’s important to make sure you have medical expenses cover under your travel insurance. If you are travelling in the EU, it’s worth noting, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not a replacement for travel insurance, it will entitle you to discounted or free medical treatment in the EU member states but may not cover many things we take for granted on the NHS, such as nursing or aftercare.
And finally, be aware, if the sun cream ban is passed in Ibiza tourists can face on the spot fines of up to 600 euros if found to be hiding alcohol in sun cream bottles!