One of the most important tools you can use to protect your face and scalp is a proper sun protection hat .
Do you know that most skin cancers are found on the face, scalp, ears and neck?
These are areas of skin that your sun hat will shade. You still need to wear sunscreen to protect from rays that bounce in or hit your skin at an angle as you move your head, but wearing a hat will massively diminish the number of those rays. Think of your hat and your sunscreen as a primary and secondary back-up protection system for the precious skin of your head and neck region.
When you wear a hat, you have created mobile shade for your skin that is most at-risk for skin cancers. This same skin is most at-risk for the structural consequences of sun damage, too, such as wrinkles, thinning, crepeyness, and sun spots. Since sunscreens are not perfect, you need additional reliable strategies for your head and neck… and that’s wearing a sun hat when you are outside for any significant length of time! On the weekend, when I’m not in the office, mine stays on my head pretty much all day.
Outwit wrinkles and skin cancer by wearing a great sun hat when you’re in the sun.
But, not any hat is a reliable sun hat. Ball caps, visors, and meshy straw hats don’t give enough protection. You need a hat that creates full and reliable shade to cover the highest risk areas of your head and neck.
How do you pick a great sun-protection hat?
Know the four essential characteristics of the perfect sun protection hat.
- It needs to be made of sun impenetrable material.
If the material was UV-tested, it needs a rating of UPF-50 fabric. Many hat companies are now testing and rating a hat’s sun protection qualities. If you love a hat that is not tested, hold it up to the light and see if it blocks all light from coming through.
- It must have a full circumference brim measuring at minimum 3 inches.
The brim also needs to be fairly resistant to buckling in the wind. A billed visor or baseball hat is not full circumference and does not protect your vulnerable ears, side of your face or the back of your neck. These types of hats have provided “job security” for me over the course of my career – sadly. Please don’t wear one instead of a sun hat.
- The hat needs to cover your entire scalp with sun impenetrable material.
This means no visors, mesh or lightly-woven straw tops. Trust me, you don’t want skin cancer on your scalp. No matter how much hair you have on your scalp, it will part and leave you exposed. Also, hair thins on the top of the scalp long before you know it.
- A good sun hat needs to stay on your head and not be annoying.
This means it needs to fit well and hold securely. Look for a hat with adjustable brim-sizing so you get the perfect sizing for your unique head. Also, depending on your activities, you may need a chin strap to keep it from blowing off.
I want you to become a “hat person.” And, I’m tempting you with lower-than-normal hat prices and a selection of hats that my patients really like.
If you’re new to full-brim hats, know that wearing a proper hat takes some getting used to. Once you are though, you’ll feel odd in the sun without a hat, as if you were riding in a car without a seat belt.
My last bit of advice is to keep your sun hats in convenient places.
I keep one in my car, in the summer, there is a bucket hat rolled up in my purse or tote, there is one in my kitchen by the door, and they are always packed in my suite case when I travel.
Make it convenient to wear your sun protection hats outside – I’ve priced them so that you can afford more than one!