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Wearing Sun Hats For Cancer Protection Especially In The Desert

Updated on August 25, 2013
Some good examples of sun hats.
Some good examples of sun hats. | Source
More great, stylish options in sun hats!
More great, stylish options in sun hats! | Source

Never Really Needed To Wear A Hat Before

I have to admit, I have never been much of a hat person. Living in the Midwest and East coast for most of my life, I guess I never had much of a need for a hat. Hat wearers were thought to be a little bit eccentric. It seemed to be mostly older women who loved gardening that would wear them. Otherwise, most folks would go without.

I guess when you are about 1,000 miles or more from the nearest beach living in the Midwest, you don't think much about wearing a hat! There are beaches on some of the lakes in the Midwest. And you can even go swimming in some of those lakes ~ IF you enjoy 45 degree water (ok, so it warms up to 50 in the summertime). There's da*n cold water and then there's HOLY CRAP... those were your two choices.

Once I moved to Nevada, things changed for me! I found for the first time in my life that I actually NEEDED a sun hat for protection! You find out once you are here that the sun is a LOT more intense than it is in the Midwest, or even on the East coast where we lived for a long time (in Maryland). It does get hot in Maryland, but it seems that the sun is not quite as intense as it is here in the desert Southwest.

The sun is hot here in Nevada beginning at around 8 or 9 a.m., and it keeps beating down pretty much all day, making a good sun hat a necessity if you are going to be spending any amount of time in the outdoors. If you are going to be near water, it becomes even more important.

Dangerous Forms Of Skin Cancer That Are Crucial To Avoid ~

I read recently about the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma, and that if a melanoma develops on either the scalp or on the neck, there is a much higher fatality rate than if melanoma occurs on any of the extremities or even on the face. It was once thought that melanoma on the scalp or on the neck would often be there for a long time before being found, causing it to be more deadly. But later after more research was done, it was found that wasn't always true. It seemed that the types of melanoma that occurred on either the scalp or neck were more deadly.

People are always cautioned about the necessity of applying a good sunscreen to the skin, and a lot of people have become more aware and are more careful to apply sunscreen when they are going to be outdoors. The thing is, there are often areas on the body that are forgotten when sunscreen is used, such as the tops of the ears, the top of the head for men that are going bald there, and the neck. People generally apply sunscreen to the face, trunk of the body, arms and legs. Sometimes they even remember to apply it on the tops of the feet. But the neck and tops of ears as well as the scalp are often forgotten.

Besides, people that do have a lot of hair may think they are automatically protected from sun, not so. I have actually had sunburn on the top of my head, especially in any place that my hair was parted, and usually it would occur when I was swimming for extended periods. If I know I'm going to be out in the water for a long time, I try to remember a little dab of sunscreen on top of my head. Most people including myself don't wear a sun hat while they are in the water. I DO try to always remember to wear a sun hat when I'm sitting out by the pool relaxing, though.

Wearing a hat is a fairly new thing for me, but I've come to realize the importance of wearing one. Any time you see anyone working outdoors here in Nevada or in any part of the Southwest or Southern U.S., chances are they will be wearing a sun hat.

The CDC recommends that anyone who is going to be outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. wear a sun hat for protection from the harmful UV rays. Wearing a good sun hat protects your face, neck, ears and areas that otherwise might go unprotected. An additional benefit of wearing a great sun hat is that you just might prevent premature aging! That's always a plus!

The Best Types Of Sun Hats

There are basically at least six types of good sun hats:

Straw Hats

Straw hats are very popular due to the fact that they "breathe" and let some air pass through them to keep one cooler. You have to remember though that if air can get through it, so can sun, so they don't always offer total protection. The best straw sun hat for protection will have a material liner on the inside of it to protect the head from the suns rays.

Baseball Caps

Baseball caps remain popular in the summer, announcing ones favorite team or featuring a great variety of messages on them. With baseball caps, however, you don't get protection from the sun's UV rays on the tops of the ears or the neck. The brim effectively keeps most of the suns rays off of the face, but other areas are left unprotected. For men that have thin hair or are balding on top of the head, wearing a baseball cap is certainly better than going unprotected.

Flap Hats

Styled similarly to a baseball cap, flap hats have protective flaps that go down over the side of the face, protecting ears, cheeks and the neck. The thing with flap hats is, they are generally considered to be hopelessly out of style, and are generally worn by those that don't care a bit about what anyone thinks, they are going to wear it anyway. And they are sometimes worn by those in the Midwest in the Winter... don't ask me how I know.

Bucket Hats

Bucket hats offer decent sun protection, without a very wide rim on them. For those that don't like wide rim hats, gardeners or hikers or others that are bothered by a wide rim, a bucket hat can be a good choice instead. When wearing a bucket hat for sun protection, it's important to remember to apply sunscreen on areas that the hat doesn't protect, especially if one is going to be out on the water for any length of time.

Cowboy Hats

NOW we're talkin'. Anyone that knows me knows that I have a thing or is that "thang" for cowboy hats. Often worn here in the Southwest, cowboy hats protect ranchers and others that work for extended periods of time outdoors from the harmful UV rays of the sun. And they are also worn by extremely good looking country singers. And lets face it, if you are able to wear a great cowboy hat, they just look NICE! They are a great part of a sun solution that protects the head, face, ears, forehead and neck. And did I mention they look NICE? Ok, moving on...

Wide Brimmed Hats

Wide brimmed hats are best when the brim measures at least 3 inches. But if a brim that wide is bothersome, one can go smaller. It's important to remember that the more skin that will be exposed to the sun, the wider the brim on the hat should ideally be. A great wide brimmed hat that truly offers good sun protection is made from a 30 SPF material.

Choosing A Sun Hat

There aren't a lot of rules for choosing a good sun hat. The best way to choose one is to try on several of them using a full length mirror. Pay attention to how the sun hat looks, whether or not it compliments face shape, and ideally how much coverage it will provide. The best looking hats will have a brim that roughly goes to the edges of the shoulders. Trying them on can be fun!

Working in retail, I had a good friend help me choose the best one. I knew she dressed really nicely and seemed to know a lot about fashion, so I asked her to help me pick one out. If you can find someone to go shopping with whose opinion you value, that's a great way to pick out a terrific hat! This hat is still my favorite one, I wear it all the time (thank you, Jerri!).

There are some wonderful brands of great wide brimmed hats, sun hats, and even packable hats for bringing along on vacations. Some of the most famous brands are Tilley, Coolibar and Sun Precautions. The most important thing is that whatever sun hat you choose, that you always remember to bring it along and wear it! The extra sun protection it provides can be priceless if it can help you in any way to prevent cancer, especially the most deadly melanomas that can occur on the scalp and neck. And a great sun hat can help you to look younger by protecting your face as well!

Will You Ever Wear A Sun Hat?

Especially After Reading This, What Are The Chances That You Will Buy And Wear A Sun Hat When You Have To Be In The Sun?

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    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thank you so much, Lady Wolfs! So glad you like this and found it helpful. So many times we look at just fashion and forget that hats really can be helpful in this hot sun! :) I appreciate you reading and commenting! :)

    • profile image

      Lady Wolfs 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub. I love hats and they are great for protection in the sun. They are so important especially in the states that are really hot. You did a nice job on all the different styles of hats. Skin cancer is reason enough to wear them, yet they are great for fashion as well. Thank you for sharing this important information.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting!

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      You're welcome ignugent17! I didn't know this either until I started to do some research for this hub. I wondered why SO many people in the Southwest wear hats! :) So glad you were able to learn something from this! :) Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting hub KathyH. I did not know that hats has specific role in protecting us from the sun. I just wear them and go. Thanks for the useful information.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      That is so true ICarrie! I never realized how much more intense the sun is here until we moved here. If I spend as little as 10 minutes in the sun here and forget to put sunscreen on I start to see red (pun intended). Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! :)

    • ICarrie profile image

      Carrie Jones 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Great hub. I lived in Phx, AZ for a while as well as the Midwest. There is a serious difference in the sun's intensity. I remember thinking that the sun was sneaky in the southwest. When you turn around it climbs out of the sky and sits directly on your shoulders, then when you turn around to see where the fire is, it jumps back into the sky.

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Bob! I have seen sombrero's here! :) I've found that hats really can be fun! :) Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! :)

    • BobMonger profile image


      7 years ago from Carlin, Nevada USA

      I think the Sombrero might be better for Southern Nevada because it gives more shade. Up here in the high country the Cowboy hat can multi-task as a sunshade, ear muffs when tied down with a bandanna (it gets cold up here!), a bucket, and the occasional flyswatter; all in all a very practical hat! Great hub! Who would have thought one could have so much fun with just hats?

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      You're welcome, always exploring! :) So glad you liked this, thank you for visiting and commenting! ;)

    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, teaches12345! I've grown to love hats as well, they are not only protective, but stylish and fun, too! Thanks for commenting and for your wonderful support! :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love hats. I think i have one of every color. I agree they protect the head and face from the sun. Skin cancer is a killer. Thank you for sharing...

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I love hats and wearing them whenever possible. I have some nice sun hats that help keep the sun from harming my skin (I need that help very much, thank you!). Love all the photos shown. I have never heard of a bucket hat and I will have to look that up on the net. Interesting hub.


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