Harken Derm Hawaii


Last week, Harken Derm went to Maui to check out the sunscreen scene, and how they were taking the ban that went in to effect last May.

To review, in July of 2018, Hawaii became the first state to ban two popular chemical active ingredients in sunscreens:

  1. Oxybenzone


  2. Octinoxate

In the passing of Senate Bill 2571, Hawaii banned the sale of sunscreens containing these two active ingredients starting January 1, 2021.

(Oxybenzone is the most common active ingredient in sunscreens - found in about 68% of sunscreens, and the foundation for Neutrogena’s Helioplex)


“ SECTION 1.  

The legislature finds that two chemicals contained in many sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii's marine environment and residing ecosystems, including coral reefs that protect Hawaii's shoreline.  

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate

  • cause mortality in developing coral

  • increase coral bleaching that indicates extreme stress, even at temperatures below 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit

  • and cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms.  

These chemicals have also been shown to

  • degrade corals' resiliency and ability to adjust to climate change factors and

  • inhibit recruitment of new corals.  

Furthermore, oxybenzone and octinoxate appear to increase the probability of endocrine disruption.  

Scientific studies show that both chemicals can

  • induce feminization in adult male fish and

  • increase reproductive diseases in

    • marine invertebrate species (e.g., sea urchins),

    • vertebrate species (e.g., fish such as wrasses, eels, and parrotfish),

    • and mammals (in species similar to the Hawaiian monk seal).  

The chemicals also

  • induce deformities in the embryonic development of fish, sea urchins, coral, and shrimp and

  • induce neurological behavioral changes in fish that threaten the continuity of fish populations.  

In addition, species that are listed on the federal Endangered Species Act and inhabit Hawaii's waters, including

  • sea turtle species,

  • marine mammals, and

  • migratory birds,

    may be exposed to oxybenzone and octinoxate contamination.

     The legislature further finds that

environmental contamination of oxybenzone and octinoxate persists

in Hawaii's coastal waters, as the contamination is

constantly refreshed and renewed every day

by swimmers and beachgoers.  

Swimming and other water activities cause these chemicals to pollute Hawaii's water unless they are actively mitigated.  




We went to check out the scene.


Kapalua Bay,

Northwest Maui,

April 26, 2019

3:30 PM


Kapalua Bay is one of the most popular beaches in Maui, and famous for being highly contaminated with oxybenzone. The bay was featured in the documentary Reefs at Risk, where they took water samples and measured oxybenzone contamination.

July 2015 Oxybenzone Contaminations Maui (Haereticus)

Note: At 62 parts per trillion we see adverse effects in coral, particularly juveniles, who are much more severely affected.

  • 881 ppt Kapalua Bay

  • 1,904 ppt Honolua Bay

  • 4,252 ppt Lahaina

  • 868 ppt Ahihi-Kina ‘u Nature Reserve

  • 1,850 ppt ^ Same site June 2017 (nearly 2 years later, has more than doubled)



But there’s hope!


Check out the cool sign!


After the ban went into effect, we saw many of these signs at beaches, urging visitors not to use spray sunscreens.

(Unfortunately, we always saw a few tourists on these beaches using spray sunscreens, and most people elsewhere used sprays).

Spray sunscreens’ spray can travel up to 20 feet (studies show the brand of sunscreen can be accurately predicted based on just the scent from 20 feet away).

The spray accumulates in the sand, and at high tide, washed into the ocean.

With the concentrations of these chemicals being refreshed and renewed every day, the contamination never ends.



This makes life for all marine animals very difficult.

Such as this sea turtle, which had been resting on the beach for at least 3 hours, after it had been swimming with our friends earlier in the afternoon.



Back At THE Hotel

and around Maui


Unfortunately, most people at the pool (and that we saw in general) were still using spray sunscreens.

Consequently, most people that we saw at the pool and in general were also burned…. some very badly.

At the hotel we saw many kids who were very sunburned… I wanted to scream:

“5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma!!!”

The education is very lacking.

We’re here to help.



We are always testing Harken Derm, curious to see just how far it will take us.

On this trip to Maui, we applied one light-moderate layer in the morning, and never reapplied during the day.


Note: It is important to know that Harken Derm sunscreen is not like normal sunscreens.

While the FDA requires that all sunscreen companies label their products claiming that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, this is not necessarily always the case.

Sunscreen is an OTC (Over-The-Counter) Drug regulated by the FDA, and labeling requirements are based on the lowest common denominator — often the lesser quality chemical sunscreens.

Harken Derm does NOT need to be reapplied every two hours, and in fact, should only be reapplied if you feel that you need it.

One thorough layer in the morning should keep you protected throughout the entire day.



One week in Maui.

Rarely indoors.

Weather: approximately 70-85 degrees Farenheight every day. Sunny, few scattered light showers (rainforests; Maui has several different climates on the one island)

Hikes, beaches, mountains, volcanoes, rainforests, bamboo forest, waterfalls… Harken Derm never quit.

NO BURNS throughout the entire trip

(except on a tiny area of Alex’s upper back the first day that Aliz missed — for which the LOTION IS INCREDIBLE!)



Surf Lesson

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

(Alex & Aliz’s first time surfing)

Peak hours, lots of rubbing on boards.


No burns.

Aliz definitely got some color though (very white —> a bit tan)

Sunscreen was still on at the end of the day, never moved or smudged or dripped or anything — stays where you put it!

Shower at end of the day, apply lotion all over bodies after to hydrate and nourish our skin.



Harken Derm survived the Road To Hana

An all-day adventure leaving at 3:30 AM and getting back at 9:00 PM.

Maui’s infamous “Road To Hana” follows Hana Highway down the northeastern coast of Maui. With 187 hairpin turns and 59 one-lane bridges, it’s talked about as a treacherous road.

In fact, it’s quite beautiful and newly paved, lined with waterfalls and lush green vegetation surrounding every road. Definitely a day trip though.

They sell shirts that say “I survived the Road To Hana;”

More impressive, is that Harken Derm did.


We’d already been in Maui for a few days, and put sunscreen on each day.

Of course, we showered, but we all know Harken Derm will still provide a residual base layer even after showering — it really does stay where you put it!

As we left at 3:30 AM, we didn’t apply sunscreen until we actually got to Hana Beach at 11:00 AM.

We wanted to test the base layer from the day before throughout the morning.


Our skin was still lightly covered and healthy from yesterday’s coat, but 11:00 on the beach in Maui?

You have to have your fresh Harken Derm.

First and only application of the day was at 11:00 AM on Hana Beach (of which we took a video!)

This was followed by black sand beaches, and a long hike through a rainforest and bamboo forest to get to these three waterfalls.

(Yes, Aliz was wearing just a swimsuit most of the time (and her Harken Derm UV indicator band!) to adequately test the capacity of the sunscreen in the elements)



In conclusion,

Harken Derm really is :


The sunscreen that JUST WON’T QUIT


Aliz Savay