Every head needs sun protection. In fact, the simple act of wearing a hat can dramatically reduce the chances of skin cancer and premature aging by shading the face, scalp, ears and neck. These areas are also a common place for skin cancer to occur.
For those who have the desire for sun protection but just cannot find a hat that fits, here are four tips to help when making a selection:
• Protect the scalp by selecting a hat, not a visor, that will cover the entire head. The scalp is susceptible to sun damage; especially a bald head or thinning hair. If a sun visor is worn, pull the hair back so that the scalp is not showing.
• Start by choosing a comfortable hat with a brim of at least three inches. Rule of thumb: the bigger the brim, the better the protection. Also, a brim that is angled downward will provide even more hours of sun protection.
• Do not rely on a baseball cap to protect against dangerous UV (ultraviolet) rays. A baseball cap shades your forehead and a small portion of the face, but the small brim leaves the neck, ears and most of the face exposed.
• A hat that is made from tightly woven fabrics, such as canvas, offers the best protection. In contrast, the holes in a straw hat will allow UV rays to come through and any protection may be minimal. Regarding color choice, go darker. Darker colors tend to offer better protection by absorbing UV rays. Hats that come with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) tag have been rated and the tag will state the degree of sun protection the hat provides.
Be mindful of the power of the sun. One good habit to get into is to avoid excessive UVB exposure between the peak hours of 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and seek shade when possible.
No one product will give complete protection. For maximum protection, combine a wide-brimmed sun hat with sunscreen and sunglasses. Also, cover up exposed skin by wearing UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing. This is clothing that has been certified to protect against UV rays. This is accomplished through a tight fabric weave or a sun protection additive.
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