If you are a lover of the outdoors, whether playing sport, being at the beach, fishing or enjoying other outdoor activities, then to lower your risk of carcinomas of the face, ears, nose, chin or the back of the neck (cutaneous melanomas), be sure to always wear a hat with a brim wide enough for protection. A broad-spectrum sun block should also always be applied during any prolonged period of exposure to the sun and in conjunction with a hat the risk can be lowered quite dramatically. The number of cases of cutaneous melanoma is increasing worldwide and the death rate is second only to that of lung cancer.
The Risks of Damage
It’s not only the skin that can be damaged by exposure to UV light. Eyes can also be irreparably affected and in conjunction with a broad-brimmed hat, protective sunglasses with a good UV rating offer further protection. UV-B radiation reaching Earth’s surface has levelled out slightly after a previous 30-year increase that was due to depletion of the protective ozone layer but there should be no room for complacency, particularly if your skin type is susceptible to burning from exposure to the sun.
Hats for Protection
Baseball caps or straw hats are the least desirable styles of hats for protection, as also are dark-colored hats. Choose one with a brim size of at least 3”(7.5 cm), although 5”(12 cm) is more effective, a light color with tightly woven material and if possible, with a good UV rating. A suitable hat can be purchased from around $10 from a local store, market or online and is a very necessary investment if you are going to spend any time in the sun. Hats can be a nice fashion accessory and it’s easy to have a number to choose from to suit any occasion when you are likely to be exposed to sunlight. Educate children from an early age to wear a hat when in the sun and lead by example.