Melanoma Awareness, Sun Safety
Searching for the perfect sun protection hat? Here’s a checklist of exactly what you should be looking for to ensure you stay sun safe, while still brimming with style. Check our top picks for the best type of hats for different sports and outdoor activities – and just as importantly, the best UV protection hats for babies, toddlers and children.
Thanks to our warm climate, high sunshine hours and amazing outdoor lifestyle – and being smack bang in the middle of an ozone hole - Australia and New Zealand have the highest rates of melanoma in the world1. That’s why wearing a hat for sun protection isn’t just optional in the summer months, it’s essential - not just to protect your skin from wrinkles and sunspots, but also from melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Especially if you have a higher risk of melanoma, wearing a hat is a no brainer.
Before you hit the hat shops, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of the eight most important things to look for in a hat to keep you and your family sun safer - and skin safer.
8 features to look for in a sun protection hat...
Image: while caps and sun visors are not as good as a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection, studies show they’re still more effective than wearing no hat at all.
A recent Swiss study looked at four different styles of hats (helmet, baseball cap, medium-brim and wide-brim) and how much protection against UV each style provided.
Not surprisingly, a wide-brimmed hat gave the best overall protection on a summer’s day, while baseball caps offer good protection for the nose, but zero for the ears. But ... wearing any hat is still better than wearing no hat at all!
With no hat, the entire face receives twice as much UV radiation in summer than in winter – and the nose receives almost six times as much sun – which means you’re increasing your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by up to six times.
What’s more, the the study showed that the effectiveness of all hats was significantly reduced where there was reflective glare from water, sand or surfaces. So make sure you accessoriese your hat with a protective pair of sunglasses and good quality, broad-spectrum with an SPF of at least 30+. Or even better, 50+ if you’re considered to have a higher melanoma risk.
Our top 3 unisex sun protective hats in Australia.
It’s not easy hunting for hats that meet the eight points above, so we’ve done it for you! Here are three of our favourite UV protection hats for 2021 by amazing hat designers that truly know their stuff. And the great thing about these styles is they work for men and women!
1. Hills Hats - Ecuadorian Panama Wide Brim
Grade 3 (tightly woven for excellent sun protection) Ecuadorian Panama wide brim with black grosgrain trim and genuine leather sweatband. This summer classic is a style that suits many face shapes, with a wide brim.
2. Solbari - Resort Bucket Hat UPF50+
In a range of colours for both men and women, Solbari’s Resort Bucket Hat is light, packable and super stylish, plus the fast-absorbing sweatband means its also super comfortable. The 6.5cm angled complies with Australian Cancer Council standards, and provides sun protection for the face, eyes, ears and neck.
3. Hills Hats - Coffee Works Mod Trilby
This hat is made from recyclable materials - a random assortment of coffee sacks ensuring a wide variety of colours and print. A soft sweatband and cotton lining keeps the hessian away from direct contact with your head.
Brimming with style - our top 3 sun protective hats for women.
With these styles, there’s never any excuse not to wear a hat! Here are our top three hats for women for every summer occasion, from weddings to parties to poolside.
1. Hills Hats - Hazel Linen Butterfly Hat
The Hazel Butterfly hat is an ever popular ladies style made in printed 100% linen, with a velcro size adjuster at the back. Lined in a light weight cotton making this a light breathable, easy travel hat for summer.
2. Solbari Reversible Wide Brim Sun Hat UPF50+
As its name suggests, this reversible sun hat from Aussie sun protective clothing specialists, Solbari, has a generous 9cm brim to keep you well shaded all day long. It’s also packable, lightweight and adjustable, and offers exceptional sun protection, in a range of stylish colours. We love the fact that it’s reversible and the optional opening at the back of the crown for those with a ponytail.
3. Coolibar - Perla Packable Wide Brim Hat UPF 50+
With a super-wide 10 centimetre brim, the Perla Packable Wide Brim Hat is made from a revolutionary polyester "straw" that offers the look of natural fiber and the durability of iron – and offers UPF 50+ sun protection. Which means you can pack it, roll it, fold it, crush it or stow it - this beach hat is virtually indestructible.
Hats off to you: our top sun proof hats for men
Only a few decades back, every stylish man donned a hat for pretty much every occasion. Luckily, hats for men seem to have come back in style, so blokes, you’re no longer limited to wearing a (not particularly sun protective) cap. Try some of these on for size instead...
1. Hills Hats - The Santiago Indiana Jones
New Zealand hat design company, Hills Hats, has many cool and equally stylishly-named hats on offer, but we particularly like the Santiago Indiana Jones. This dressy yet casual straw hat is a classic style finished with a black puggeree, a soft cotton sweatband for those melting hot days, and a pinched front and indented crown.
2. Solbari - Panama style hat SPF 50+
Perfect for a day in the sun, from the races to a resort, Solbari’s Panama style hat is made from the latest innovative polypropylene fibres, tightly woven together to block damaging UVA and UVB rays. It’s also crushable for travelling, and features a comfortable cotton sweatband to keep you looking cool in any weather.
3. Hills Hats - The MacKenzie
Hills Hats design a wide range of hats, including bucket hats, duckbill caps and wide-brimmed sports hats – but for year-round wear, we particularly like The MacKenzie. Made from Australian oilskin, this structured, wide curved (7.5cm) brim hat is perfect for hunting, horse-riding and the like – yet stylish enough for any post-sport activity too.
The best sun proof hats for outdoor activities
Love fishing, hunting, golf, gardening, tramping or pretty much any activity that involves being out in New Zealand’s amazing environment? Check out these sun proof hats...
1. Hills Hats - Optimum Sports Hat
The Optimum is the ultimate outdoors hat. Water resistant Teflon coated poly/cotton wide brim hat with concealed legionnaires neck flap. The crown can be squashed flat and will bounce back in shape.
2. Solbari - The Ultimate Sun Hat UPF50+
This unisex, light and versatile sun hat from Solbari provides exceptional sun protection for the face, eyes, ears and neck, thanks to two lightweight rear drape panels, ears and neck from UV rays and and a detachable button-on face shield to protect chin and neck.
3. Solbari Expedition Sun Hat UPF50+
Solbari’s Expedition Sun Hat UPF50+ is designed for those looking for all-day comfort and durability whilst providing superior sun protection. Ideal for hiking and weekend walking, this stylish hat is lightweight, packable, adjustable and offers UPF 50+ protection. Thanks to 6cm of flexible brim at the front, and 9.5cm at the back, it also provides excellent coverage of the face, eyes, ears and back of the neck.
Staying on top: our top sun protection hats for water sports
Be it sailing, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking or fishing, we Kiwis love our water sports. However, watch out for the added glare of sea, sand and surf, which can further damage your skin and increase your skin cancer risk. We’ve rounded up our top three hats for water sports – but don’t forget to add wrap-around sunnies and a broad-spectrum SPF50+ sunscreen for the face, lips and nose.
1. Hills Hats - Ocean Breeze
Waterproof, windproof soft crushable hat with a wide flat brim, side mesh windows and chin cord with toggle & keeper. The ‘Sport-X-Dry’ lining and soft sweatband are designed to be breathable, wickable and antibacterial.
2. Solbari Water Sports Hat UPF 50+ Legionnaire Style
Perfect for those long afternoons out on the water, this lightweight, durable and practical sun-safe hat is packed with performance features. With a 7.5cm brim, it comes in 5 colour options, with UPF 50+ sun protection for maximum UV protection and confidence. An internal neoprene sweatband adds comfort, side mesh adds air circulation, and the chin strap and size fastener are adjustable.
3. Coolibar Men's Convertible Boating Hat UPF 50+
You don’t have to be a boatie to wear this hat (although boaties will love it!). Travel friendly, crushable and packable, it features an anti-glare lining under the brim, internal cooling mesh sweatband, and a covered mesh panel for ventilation. Best of all, the neck drape folds into back of the brim when you don’t need it. Plus it floats should it go overboard!
Our top 3 sun-safe hats for babies, toddlers, kids & teens
Getting sunburnt as a child is a known risk factor that can increase the risk of melanoma and other types of skin cancer in later life3. That’s why babies, toddlers and children need the ultimate sun protection for their delicate skins - and should wear hats that cover their heads, necks and noses.
They should also wear a high-quality, high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen, long-sleeved UV protective clothing and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s harsh rays. The best protection for babies, toddlers and children is shade, so keep them under a tree, awning or beach tent as much as possible – and reapply their sunscreen at least every two hours in the sun or if swimming.
Teens, on the other hand, can be notoriously difficult to persuade to wear a hat, so we’ve thrown in some cool hats for them too. Read on for our top hats to protect your precious little’uns (and big’uns) from the sun.
1. Hills Hats - Sphere Cheeky Brim Bucket
The Sphere Cheeky Brim Bucket hat is the perfect summer hat. This fresh look features a slightly narrower brim than the classic bucket. Easy to roll up for travel. The eyelets making this hat more breathable and lined in a light cotton.
2. Coolibar Surfs Up All Sport Hat UPF 50+
Available in a range of colours for both boys and girls, Coolibar’s Surfs Up All Sport Hat has an impressive 8cm brim, as well as attached side drapes to protect your child’s ears and neck. Made of soft, quick-drying and durable fabric that’s also chlorine and saltwater resistant – and an adjustable crown size – this is SPF 50+ protection for kids who love the water.
3. Solbari Kids Everyday Sun Hat UPF50+
Solbari’s comfortable and stylish Kids Everyday Sun Hat UPF 50+ features a downward sloping brim to provide excellent sun protection of the face, eyes, ears and back of the neck. Available for 18 month olds to 10 year olds, it can grow along with your child, thanks to the adjustable drawstring at the back. The side mesh keeps the head cool when playing outdoors in the heat, and there’s a detacable chin strap for those windier days.
Here at MoleMap, we recommend that everyone wears a wide-brimmed, sun-proof hat and takes other SunSmart measures when in the summer sun - especially between 10am and 4pm during daylight savings months.
This is even more crucial if you have a moderate to higher risk of skin cancer (check your risk level here) If you have fair or freckly skin, a personal or family history of melanoma, are older, have been sunburnt in the past, or have an outdoor lifestyle, you may have a higher risk – in which case, we also recommend having a Full Body MoleMap every year to detect any early signs of melanoma and other skin cancers.GET MY SKIN CHECKED
1. Melanoma NZ: https://www.melanoma.org.nz/facts-risk-factors 2. Backes C. et al: Facial exposure to UVR: predicted sun protection effectiveness of various hat styles. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2018 Sep;34(5):330-337. 3. Melanoma NZ: https://www.melanoma.org.nz/be-informed/understanding.
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