Summer Smarts: Shade Your Scalp, says Headwear Association

With the sun at its most intense this time of year, The Headwear Association kicks its skin cancer awareness campaign into full gear. First up: free hats.

Celebrating its fifth annual Hat Day in the Sun, The Headwear Association (THA) handed out thousands of free wide-brimmed hats yesterday as part of a campaign to educate adults and children about how the right hat can protect against skin cancer, sun damage, and premature aging.

“Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by sun overexposure,” THA said in a statement. “About 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed (in 2013 according to the American Cancer Society).”

The free hats were provided by several THA member companies, including Broner Hats, Dorfman-Pacific, Bollman Hat Company, Magid Hats, Wallaroo Hats, Korber Hats, F&M Hats, and San Diego Hat Company.

Hat Day in the Sun was an especially significant event for Bob Broner, owner of Broner Hats.

“I just turned 50 and I went for a routine checkup, and they found I had melanoma,” Broner said in a statement. “I am going to be fine, but it’s scary. People die from melanoma. People should start realizing that a wide-brimmed hat and 30+ SPF lotion are mandatory if you are going to be outside.”

As summer heats up, THA shared several tips on what makes the perfect sun hat:

Wide brims. Choose hats with at least a two-and-a-half-inch brim, and always wear sunscreen and a hat when outside. Women’s hats with brims larger than five inches also offer shoulder and décolletage protection from the sun.

Curved shapes. Look for hats that follow the contour of the head and neck. These shapes offer the best protection against ultraviolet radiation (UVR). A baseball cap is not recommended as it leaves the cheeks, ears, and back of the neck exposed.

Opaque materials. The denser the fabric, the higher the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Choose close-weave fabrics or tightly woven straw. Many hats have been tested for sun protection qualities and include a UPF number on the label, which indicates how much of the sun’s UVR is absorbed by the fabric. For instance, a hat with a UPF of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UVR to reach the skin.

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!