Whether you’re lounging on the beach or strolling in the city, headwear is an essential barrier to the sun’s UV rays. When choosing a hat, it’s important to consider colour, style and fabric. As a rule of thumb, if you can see through the hat then the sun can get to you so it’s best to avoid loose weave material. To help keep your skin safe and your style on point, here is ASCC’s guide to choosing the perfect sun hat.
An accessory for your health
Almost all skin cancers are caused by too much UV radiation from the sun.¹ Excessive sun exposure causes UVA and UVB rays to penetrate the skin causing sun burn and cell damage - both significant risk factors for skin cancer. Skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are most commonly found on the the head, ears and scalp.² Choosing the right hat is one of the easiest ways to prevent skin damage and keep you feeling cool in the heat.
Outback Hat - $59.99 , www.anacondastores.com
The perfect match
When buying a new sun hat, you should select a style that will complement your activities. Legionnaire hats, which cover the back of the neck, are better for gardening and running while floppy sun hats are more suited to lazy days by the pool. With hundreds of styles available online, it’s never been easier to find a practical, stylish hat for every occasion.
Adult Beige Legionnaire Sun Hat - $ 25.00, www.sunwayuvclothing.com
Check the material
For adequate protection, choose a sun hat with a tight fabric structure. Check the fabric’s UPF label –those with UPF50 offer the best protection from UV rays.³ If the sun hat has not been labelled adequately, you should hold it against a light. The looser weave material, the more sun that can get through. Protective materials to look out for include cotton and straw as well as polyester and nylon.
Cancer Council Unisex Mock Panama - $49.95, www.hatsbythe100.com.au
It’s all in the brim
The skin on your face, ears and neck is much thinner and more sensitive to UV damage which is why a broad-brimmed hat offers the best protection. Baseball or peaked caps are not recommended as they leave the ears and the back of the neck exposed. For maximum protection, make sure the hat has a brim size of 7.5cm – this is the minimum size required to block UV rays from hitting your face or ears.4
RUSTY Chiara Womens Sun Hat - $27.99, www.surfstitch.com
Choose colour carefully
The right colour hat can set off a whole outfit but it can also determine your level of sun protection. White or light-coloured hats will reflect heat from the sun while darker colours will attract and absorb heat. For this reason, it’s best to avoid black and opt for paler tones instead.
Kooringal Sophia Bell Hat - $39.95, www.thehatstore.com.au
DISCLAIMER: The hats in this article are suggestions. Australian Skin Cancer Clinics has no affiliations with any of the aforementioned retailers.
1 Cancer Council NSW - How ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes skin cancer
2 Types of skin cancer – WA Department of Health
3 Reico.op - Sun Protection (UPF) Clothing: How to Choose
4 Sun Smart – sun protective hats