Swimsuit, check. Sunglasses, check. Towel, check. So what's missing from this list? A sun protective hat, of course! Any hat that has a wide brim does offer a certain level of protection from the sun, but it should be made of special sun protective material in order to do you any real good. Here are some tips to help you pick out the right hat:
Make sure the brim extends far enough out from your head to provide
ample shade for both of your shoulders, especially if you're keeping
them bare. The back of the neck and the shoulders receive the brunt of
the sun's radiation because they are at the top of your body where the
sun is beating down the hardest. Consequently, these are also the most
sensitive parts of your body. The best way to keep them protected is to
have some "natural" shade that follows you everywhere.
• Look for a hat with a UPF of 50+. This is the highest rating of
ultraviolet protection in clothing. It allows less than two percent of
the sun's radiation through, so you know that it offers very strong
protection. Aside from being the clothing version of SPF, UPF is also
important because it measures protection against both UVA and UVB rays,
unlike SPF's measurement of UVA only. Hats with a high level of UPF
offer better protection against sunscreen of any kind.
• If you're
spending time in a windy area, make sure the hat sits snuggly on your
head. There is nothing worse than trying to run along the seashore to
catch a runaway sun hat, so make sure it fits snugly! Use a chin strap
to help keep looser hats on your head.
• Consider different hats for
different activities. In you're playing sand volleyball, you might be
worried about peripheral vision, so consider swapping out your hat when
you hit the sand. Just be sure to slather sunscreen on any exposed areas
and switch back to the wider hat after the game is over.
the other glaring error in the list at the beginning of this article is
not making sure that these items have some level of sun protection on
them. Australia is located right near the equator, and they have the
highest skin cancer rate in the world! If the rise in skin cancer in
Australia is any indication of what the rest of the world can expect in
coming years, then you can't start protecting yourself too soon.