Mary Ann Steele
Somervell Master Gardener
Having fun in the sun is one of gardening’s major perks. However, while you may never tire of watching flowers bloom, trees leaf out, and birds returning to their nests, doing so requires protection from ultraviolet rays. Today’s gardening hats are up to the task. Some boast breathability and basic sun protection, some promise wide-reaching shade and a durable chin strap. Others combine all these features. Before heading out to the great outdoors, regardless of the season, assess these attributes to pick the headgear for you.
Wearing the right hat is a key line of defense against the sun’s damaging rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) an estimated 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed every day with skin cancer. Most cases of skin cancer can be prevented by actively protecting yourself from exposure to UV rays.
The AAD recommends when you are outside pick sunglasses with 100% U V protection, a light weight long-sleeve shirt, and long pants to compliment your wide-brimmed hat.
Although sun hats shield your head from powerful UV rays they cannot protect your face from reflective light. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions, and wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply every two hours.
Just like sunglasses, hats made from materials listed for sun protection have a label listing the UPF rating. The highest rating, UPF 50, transmits less than 2.5 percent of ultraviolet radiation. The lower the UPF rating the less protection.
Enjoy the outdoors, but protect yourself-skin cancer is no fun!