Will be interesting if they can’t even be behind the game to protect people, sea life, corals by banning sales and use of at minimum oxybenzone in Hawai’i. Don’t worry though, if Hawai’i doesn’t pass a bill, doesn’t make a stand, there are many areas across the U.S. and countries around the world that are presently working on bills and hoping to be the first to put forth an official ban. Perhaps if a ban of these ingredients occurs somewhere else, that can somehow help Hawai’i… if they’re not willing to help themselves.
Archive for the ‘Sunscreen’ Category
Posted in blog, Hawaii, Health & Alternative Medicine, kauai, oahu, Sunscreen, Uncategorized, tagged coral reef, Environment, Hawaii, oxybenzone, reef safe, reef safe hawaii, sunscreen, zinc sunscreen on April 15, 2017| Leave a Comment »
If you haven’t read the full oxybenzone study yet, you should. It’s pretty devastating what this popular sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone is doing to our corals. This barely touches on what it does to other sea life and humans (or the negative effects of all the other toxins in these products). Ask your local stores why they are selling this crap to people and contributing to destroying the ocean ecosystems. Ask the person spraying these all over themselves and their children (and anyone around them) to read this study as well as the many articles available online about the toxicity of oxybenzone and chemical sunscreen ingredients.
FULL STUDY: Oxybenzone and Coral Toxicity
Hawaii Tribune Herald: “Sunscreen Devastating to Coral”
Huffington Post: “Sunscreens Could Be Killing the World’s Reefs, Study Says”
EWG: Guide to Sunscreens
Posted in Environment, Health & Alternative Medicine, Shark Attacks, Sunscreen, Surfing, Tip of the Day, tagged bethany hamilton, BPSA, cancer, coverage, health insurance, medical bills, shark attack, skin cancer, surf insurance, travel insurance on May 23, 2008| 11 Comments »
Thought this an interesting way to advertise health insurance to those who surf; direct-marketed to me on MySpace. So I curiously clicked, and found the Platinum Kaiser Plan is just $195.00 a month (!), for an average Hawaii surfer, who might like swimming with sharks (I’m assuming the sharks in the ocean, not the sharks in the medical insurance industry).
Actually, it is the same story for many shark attack victims – if they’re lucky they deal with a deductible, but a large number who have no coverage are ill-prepared to experience the second stage of the feeding frenzy: bill collectors coming after them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The helicopter ride alone can cost nearly $10,000 (depending on location/remoteness and many plans do not cover medical evacuations). And typical policies don’t often cover needed prosthetics either (a cause Bethany Hamilton has championed – and a bill mandating coverage is nearing passage). It doesn’t have to be a shark attack obviously, surfers get themselves in many other predicaments: from reef to the head to close encounters with a donkey on a longboard. And we need efficient, specific surfer coverage, because it’s not like a car accident – there is no personal info exchanged at the scene, no 1-800 numbers to call. When you’re injured surfing and you’re out for a week, a month, a year -your fault or no-fault- even if you have regular medical insurance it won’t pay the rest of your bills!
So, for the living in the moment surfer, is it worth it to be cautious and protected?
At the very least you want some form of emergency or “catastrophic coverage“ – which doesn’t include regular doctor visits -or has a huge deductible- but does include major hospital and medical expenses. And if you’re on a surf-safari, especially to a foreign country (for that trip you’re taking this hurricane season to Indo or the Mentawais), it’s worth the peace of mind to get yourself some traveler’s insurance (yes, even on top of your medical – as many insurance companies won’t cover you abroad, and don’t include all the things that can go wrong when traveling). Even many pro-surfers neglect the obvious – and they’re regularly touring around the world, continuously introducing themselves to lovely new forms of bacteria their bodies are not used to. For example, sweet-styley goofy-foot pro Ryan Carlson had to learn the hard way via some staph courtesy of a Puerto Rican sea urchin… and the sh*t-load of bills that came with it.
You’d think pros could afford top-notch health insurance (or perhaps some surfing association would cover them), but unless you’re in the tippy-top rung, often you’re only scoring free gear and some spattering of contest money. Luckily -at least for those well-known in the sport- they seem to be able to rely on the compassion of other surfers, who help out with benefits, surf contests, and other fund-raising efforts. But us regular Joes, usually there’s no big benefit concert waiting for us when we get home from the hospital.
And though many surfers are actually functional citizens, there are a few, ehem, beach bums out there. Those who would opt to spend their last buck on a bar of surf wax before buying a box of band-aids. Many surfers, and athletes in general, rely on the fact that they are decently healthy and fit – yet that doesn’t necessarily protect you from unforeseen. Aussie surfer Richie Lovett had insurance – but with limits (read that fine print), which left him with over $200,000 in bills. Many surfers, like four-time cancer survivor and pro Dean Randazzo, have discovered this the hard way. He started the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to help surfers with or without medical insurance who have to deal with cancer and its side effects – it’s hard to focus on your fight for survival while the bills are mounting up.
It’s not just skin cancers, suffered by pro Rowen Barrett and pro-mom Jeannie Chesser– we see many with rare bone cancers as well. The skin cancers seem obvious and common side-effects; surfers feel impervious. It’s almost as if they have to – it’s not like they can stay out of the sun while enjoying the sport (and for some reason many wrongly believe their sunscreen lasts more than an hour without reapplying!). For those who get cancer that causes pain in the hip, leg or, like Jason Bogle, their back, often they don’t get it checked out right away, as our mind opts to associate it with some past surf injury, over-exertion, or the joys of trying to bust the moves while getting a lil’ bit older. And since early detection is essential – that’s not a good thing.
Though the medical insurance list of “injuries people are at risk for” includes drowning and shark attacks, it doesn’t include what may be much more of a hazard for surfers, and that is polluted water. Sure, us surfers like to think of our sport as cleansing -and spiritually it always is- but in reality, physically, it really depends on the spot we surf. Often surf breaks occur in run-off zones laden with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and all the bacteria the environmental imbalances create, which obviously puts more than 1 in 64,453 -or a yearly total of 64- surfers at risk. If a company were to offer an efficient insurance plan that was specifically designed for surfers, it would have to be a complete package which would include the wide-range of factors surfers contend with every day we go out in the water, wherever we decide to safari. Though there are some companies in Australia and Britain that seem to better understand the coverage needs of the sports enthusiast, for now America is laggin’ behind.
If the life experiences of the surfers who came before us can be a lesson, don’t leave it up to fate. If you surf enough, if you take chances (if the people surfing around you take chances), you’re eventually going to get injured. Surfers consider it part of ‘paying your dues’. Hopefully you’re not faced with a major accident or illness, but if so, the bedridden dreams of getting back into the waves may inspire you to recover in record time, better than you were before. Odds are you won’t need insurance if “the big one bites” but chances are you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be absolutely stoked you’re covered.
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Since plans vary depending depending upon individual needs, age, location…you need to search out what is best for you. Here are a few added links to possibly help – plus some that include alternative therapies. If you are a student there are additional options you should research.:
• If you are a regular surfer in the UK you should consider membership in the BPSA, full membership at 20 pounds a year includes Personal Accident Insurance +£5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.
• American Specialty Medical Networks My Life Plan Alternative Care Discounts for those with Blue Shield of California
• International Health Insurance (out of U.S.)
• Alternative Insurance (Health Care broker for Cali and Il.) – includes discount card for alternative medicine tratment and services from participating practitioners..
• Check out Benefits Check-up to see if you qualify for benefits in your state.
[Note: if you have a favorite alternative care practitioner, ask what insurance they accept, and then look into those.
Posted in Hawaiian Culture, Health & Alternative Medicine, Recipes, Sunscreen, Surfer Girls, Surfing, Tip of the Day, tagged bumble and bumble, conditioner, diet, hair care, natural, organic, paul marie salon, stress, sun, toxic on March 29, 2007| 12 Comments »
There’s one thing every girl who surfs has in common. I mean, besides our love for the ocean and the requisite health and physical benefits. One of the downsides is, we all have hair problems. Just think of putting a fine strand of silk in salt water and then letting it bake in the sun, dry out, then wetting it again, then letting it dry… and repeating this for hours at a time, sometimes weeks in a row (ah, if we’re lucky). After collecting tips from hairdressers and other surfin’ wahines, I have compiled a list of the best-kept secret hair tips for the girl in the curl…
1) Wet your hair before you go out into the water. (This tip was gifted to us by Gwen at Paul Marie Salon in Hilo – check ’em out, they give good head…of hair…) Hair, when dry, acts like a sponge, absorbing water into it. Having it absorb regular water first will prevent it from absorbing the salt. And you may question the ability of hair to absorb large amounts of anything. But any long-haired girl who surfs can attest to the weight that is added to her head as her neck is being annoyingly tugged back. Just to emphasize its absorbency, NASA studies have indicated that hair may be a very useful tool in cleaning up oil spills. Future fem scientist Marguerite Blignaut, at the Kentucky Junior Academy of Science, followed it up with her own study and concluded: “Hair absorbs the oil which means the oil collects under the surfaces of the hair fibers. I used human hair in mesh bags and floated them on 10w40 oil-water mixtures. After two days I removed the bags and let them dry. An increase of mass indicated the amount of oil absorbed. I found that human hair does remove oil from the water surface and that straight dark brown hair seemed to be the most efficient.” Thanks Marge, good to know.
Does this mean they’re using hair to clean up oil spills? Nah, they prefer to douse the ocean with toxic chemicals from companies that they own shares in (hello BP disaster). It more likely explains why it’s so hard to get the oil off of the poor birds. And it becomes clear that, whatever your hair absorbs while it’s out in the ocean, likes to hang out in the fibers, so why not have it already absorbing at maximum capacity before you enter the salt water.
2) Apply some conditioner onto your hair as well. You apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected (preferably eco-safe, reef-safe, water-resistant options), why not something to protect your hair? This works best on damaged, coarse, and thicker hair. Apply when dry (with water) to coat the hair strands and keeps them extra-protected and prohibit them from absorbing the salt water. Even in the surf, my thick hair holds it in (particularly if I do Step 3).
Some surfer girls like to use the cheapest products on their hair pre-surf because “it’s just going to come off anyway”. Problem is, it’s coming off in the water! Keep in mind, as with chemical sunscreens, many of the ingredients in hair conditioners are toxic to corals. Avoid parabens, oxybenzone (benzophenone derivatives), propylene glycol… to name a few. Even products from health food stores can contain questionable preservatives as well as natural and essential oils (from jojoba to eucalyptus) that are harmful to corals.
The only manufactured conditioner I like these days is Acure Organics. Otherwise I find it easier, less expensive, and much more natural to grab ingredients straight from the environment here Hawai’i. If the awapuhi is going off (which it does a few times a year), you gently take the flower head, tilt it over and squeeze it just enough for a watery fragrant gel to emerge, and apply it straight to your hair (it’s lovely on the skin as well). This I use as a daily leave in – pre-surf and post surf.When the plant is not flowering, I rely on fresh coconut milk as my hair rinse or leave in conditioner. Not coconut water, not coconut oil, and not coconut milk from a can, but blended and nut-bag filter milk from the fresh coconut meat (since I make it for my morning coffee anyway, it’s easy – I’ll include a link to my recipe when I post it). This can be made with dried coconut shavings as well – though if there’s a fresh option that’s always the way to go. In Hawai’i if you can’t climb a tree and grab one for free, you can usually find coconuts for a buck from fruit and veggie stands in front of local homes of farms. On the very ends of my hair if it’s particularly dry, or extra frizzy, I add a dab of argan, kukui nut oil, or a tiny bit of cocoa butter. My hair prefers when I change it up a bit, despite scientific claims to the contrary. Oh well, these same scientists still don’t believe women “bloat” before their period. ;P
3) Braid your hair. If your hair is long enough, braid it! This will protect the hair from drying out and getting too much exposure. The braids will also hold that conditioner in. And hey, maybe even keep it out of your face while you’re going for that huge airdrop take-off. The best bet is using a hair tie at the top of the braid, and one at the bottom, so you’re not losing the hair ties in the water. Not sure if turtles are able to digest those things but I’m guessing the less lost hair rubber bands the better.
4) Rinse your hair out immediately after surfing! Very often us surfers pour a jug of water over our heads or a quick rinse at the showers and leave it at that. Well… there’s likely still some salt in your hair and is still drying your hair out (especially if it dries whilst exposed to the sun). Best to give it a quality rinsing when you get home.
5) Eat Right for Healthy Hair! Veggies are essential but vegetarians/vegans should make sure to supplement with some healthy fats / oils. Get your Vitamin B’s and B-12 sublingually – highly advised for everything from stress to breakdown of carbs to glucose. Minerals are also good for your hair, and magnesium oil, applied topically, will not only help for all the post-surf aches, but as a bonus keeps the gray at bay. Gaia Hair, Skin, & Nail Support is rich in minerals, like silica, that promote healthy hair (best to use it daily to see positive results). Chemical exposure, medications, alcohol consumption, smoking, caffeine, stress and lack of sleep can affect the look and appearance of your hair (including hair loss). Basic theory: do whatever keeps you healthy, happy, strong. Lucky most of us surfer chicks do just that!
6) Be careful of over-shampooing the locks. Many water girls use conditioner as their “shampoo” – myself included. But you should still shampoo once a weak to clean build-up and start anew. Try to avoid the overly harsh toxic WalMart-kine hair care. You can make your own with Skikakai, hibiscus, Amla (here’s an example of a recipe – I think for thick / curly hair it’s better to strain in cheese cloth before applying). As far as manufactured products, again, I like Acure Organics. John Masters Zinc & Sage Shampoo is pretty gentle on surfer grrl abused hair (but can you guys take out the sodium benzoate please, thanks). We’ve heard good things about Yarok Feed Your Moisture Masque – looks relatively clean (albeit pricey), we’ll have to test it out.
7) Don’t brush your hair while it’s wet. Flash back to a Museum of Science and Industry (Los Angeles) back in the ’90s. One part of the exhibit had a huge display showing before and after microscopic images of the human hair brushed when wet vs. brushed when dry. Suffice to say…don’t brush your hair while it’s wet. Coconut Girl Wireless contributor and my very big-haired surfing cohort Ms. ReefRash sez she won’t be able to get the knots out otherwise. Copy that! If that’s the case with you, use a quality thick-toothed comb or a very gentle natural bristle brush; get the hair lightly damp and apply a dollop of leave-in conditioner first before workin’ on it. Then do so gently and hold the hair so it doesn’t stretch and snap.
8) Wear a hat! Protect the hair while protecting your face. Reefrash wears a hat when surfing because she is about as white as a haole girl can get (nah, they can get a little mo’ white).
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Hawaiian women were known (are still known) for their lovely long brown hair. Was it the coconut treatments they did after swims? Was it their rich diet that included poi, banana, papaya, lilikoi, coconut, sweet potato, breadfruit, laulau, fish and seafood? Maybe drawing from a gene pool (including those of the Asian races that have mixed here) that is renowned for their beautiful skin and luscious hair doesn’t hurt.
Even if we aren’t blessed with perfect DNA, there are things we can do to have our optimum healthy hair. Some of these tricks should help balance out the abuse us surfer grrls put our hair through.
If you have any thoughts on the matter or product tips they’re always welcomed. Have a great hair day!
Hey, by the way, this is very important – disclaimer!: No health or medical or dietary advice should ever be considered without the approval of your omnipotent physician. Make sure on your next visit you ask what hair care products he/she uses! LOL. All seemingly knowing advice that appears within this article are simply humble opinions to be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, same grain of salt we are protecting your hair from…. meowxo
[article last updated 1/5/2016]