Hats & clothing for sun protection

To prevent skin damage, dress carefully before going out in the summer sun.

The parts of the body that people often leave exposed to the full force of the sun's rays are the face, neck, arms and legs. Research shows the face is burned more often than any other part of the body. People also commonly suffer sunburn on their legs, arms and shoulders.  These are the places where people most commonly develop melanoma and other skin cancers.

Before going out in the sun, make sure you have clothing and a hat to protect your face, ears, nose, shoulders, trunk, arms and legs. Put sunscreen on any exposed areas of skin.

Hats                

The best way to avoid a sunburned face if you are outdoors in summer is to wear a wide-brimmed hat. You also need sunscreen for your face and neck, applied thickly, before you go out in the sun. Sunscreen will wear off and sweat off.

Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun can cause damage to the eyes and the sensitive skin around them. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UVR reaching the eyes by around
50%.

Choosing good hats

  • Make sure the hat is made of a tightly woven fabric which doesn't let the sun's rays through.
  • Choose a hat which shades your face, nose, neck and ears. A brimmed hat or cap with flaps offers the best protection.
  • Look for a deep crown broad-brim hat, with a minimum brim of 6cm.
  • Make sure it feels comfortable – cool, but firm around the headband.
  • A darker colour will keep out the sun's rays better.
  • You'll need a hat that stays on in the wind.
  • If you wear a cap, protect the ears and neck – with hair, collar, bandana or sunscreen.


Make your hat a fun part of summer, and choose something which you like and feel good wearing!

 

Clothing

Most fabrics will give some protection from the sun, but there are basic guidelines for choosing the best type of fabric.

  • Weave: The weave is most important. Tightly woven fabrics are better than loosely woven ones.
  • Colour: Darker fabrics give better protection than light-coloured ones.
  • Weight: A less important factor, though heavier fabrics let less UV radiation (UVR) through. But lightweight, tightly woven fabrics can provide good protection.
  • Stretch: Most woven fabrics don't stretch much, but ones which do stretch will offer less sun protection.
  • UPF Rated Fabric: There is a sun protective clothing standard known as AS/NZS4399:1996, which has voluntary compliance in this country. Clothing that has met this standard will carry a label which will indicate its Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). UPF15 to 24 is rated as good protection, UPF25 to 39 is rated as very good protection and UPF40 to 50+ is rated as excellent protection.
  • Wetness: Wet fabrics may only give half as much sun protection as when they are dry.