Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is essential, particularly as we enter the much warmer part of the year.
The skin on your face, neck and ears is much thinner and sensitive to UV rays and yet it’s usually the most exposed to the sun.
While you might not consider yourself to be a sun bather, getting in and out of the car, standing at the school gates, walking the dog for example are all ways in which your skin is exposed to the sun and without the right protection, can be damaged.
Selecting appropriate head wear is a key part of protecting your skin. Choosing the right fabric and colour will determine just how much protection you’re getting.
According to Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, the rule of thumb is if you can see through the fabric, then the sun can get to you, causing sunburn and cell damage.
Darker colours tend to absorb heat so for safety and comfort choose a light coloured hat in a wide brim – ideally 7.5cm in wdith as a minimum and in a tight weave or thicker material.
When buying a new sun hat, choose 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.
Check the fabric’s UPF label. The UPF label or rating is much like suncrean factors , so he higher tthe UPF the better the protection.. Hats with UPF50 offer the best protection from UV rays.
If the sun hat has not been labelled adequately, you should hold it against a light to see how much sun can get through. Protective materials to look out for include cotton and straw as well as polyester and nylon.
Almost all skin cancers are caused by too much UV radiation from the sun.
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.
Choosing the right hat is one of the easiest ways to prevent skin damage and keep you feeling cool in the heat.
Ensuring your hat is part of your daily routine is the best way to keep your skin protected and the younger you start the better.
Australian Skin Cancer Clinics began in 1999 and has expanded to over 20 clinics across Australia, with locations in Mailtand, Broadmeadow and Charlestown.
The staff provide caring, accessible and efficient service for early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of skin cancer in the primary care setting and are active in promoting skin cancer awareness and prevention.