With warm weather on the horizon, it’s almost time to head outside and soak up the rays. As great as that hot sun can feel, it’s important to make sure you’re covered from the harmful effects of too much sun exposure. Choosing a hat with UPF sun protection is one of the best ways to protect your face when you’re spending time outside. Here’s why you should use UPF hats:
The Original Sunscreen
Back before sunscreen, brimmed hats were the first line of defense from the sun. And they’re still one of the easiest. You’re more likely to put on sunscreen when you’re spending the whole day outside. But it’s easily forgotten if you’re only heading outside for an hour or so. And then there’s the whole part about remembering to reapply your sunscreen at the right time. It’s easy to forget, and having a UPF hat is the best way to ensure you’re protected at all times. While we always recommend using a reef-safe sunscreen when you’re outside, tossing on a hat before heading out takes only a second, and it can save your skin from lots of trouble in the future.
UV rays, UPF, and SPF: What’s it all mean?
The reason sun protection is so important for your health is due to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation rays. UV rays are naturally emitted by the sun as well as by some non-natural sources such as tanning beds. While short exposure to UV rays (5-15 minutes a few times a week) can help produce vitamin D, overexposure to UV rays can have deadly effects. Painful sunburns are a mild effect of too much sun, while skin cancer is the worst.
To protect yourself from the harm caused by too much sun, use products with UPF and SPF ratings. SPF (sun protection factor), is used to rate the protectiveness of sunscreens. UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is the rating system for sun protective fabrics, such as hats. When you’re looking for a hat to protect you from the sun, you’ll want to check the UPF rating. The number on the UPF rating indicates how much UV radiation is absorbed by the fabric. For example, UPF 50 means that only 1/50th of the sun’s rays will pass through the fabric. In general, a UPF rating of 15-20 is good, a rating of 25-35 is very good, and a rating of 40-50+ is excellent.
Are all hats UPF?
Not all hats are the same, and not all are UPF sun protection hats. There are several factors that determine how much sun protection a hat offers, or if a hat will block UV rays.
First, the size of the hat brim. A brim smaller than 2” isn’t large enough to adequately protect your face. While some companies will tout small brim hats with a UPF rating, the protection level of the fabric can’t make up for how little of your face is actually being covered throughout the day.
The next factor that determines if a sun hat has UPF protection is the fabric itself. If a fabric has a loose weave, it will generally have a lower UPF rating. If a hat has areas of mesh or see-through fabrics on it, the sun can easily pass through. While some companies may offer a UPF rating for hats that contain mesh areas, this can be misleading. A simple way to judge if a hat has the protection you need? Hold the hat up to the sun. If you see a lot of holes or sunlight coming through the hat, it’s unlikely to provide the quality protection you need. The best hats for the health and safety of your skin will have a larger brim and tight weave. This provides maximum skin coverage and protection.
Picking a UPF hat
When you’re shopping for a sun protection hat, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing from the best UPF hats out there. The best UPF hats are tested and rated, so you know you’re getting a quality, proven method of skin protection. At Conner Hats, all of our UPF hats are tested by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). If you see a hat without a UPF rating, it’s because it hasn’t been tested, and we won’t guarantee any of our hats for UPF without testing. Next, look for UPF sun protection hats with the level of protection you need. If you’re prone to sunburning, choose a hat with the highest rating possible, 50+. Spending time in very hot temperatures or exercising in the sun? Look for a hat that’s more breathable, such as a one that’s made with cotton or raffia.
Best UPF hats for Women
There’s no need to sacrifice style for sun protection! These UPF sun protection hats have it all. One of our favorite UPF hats for women is the Arizona Ladies Summer Raffia hat. Not only is it UPF 50+, but it’s hand-braided and made with a soft and stretchable terry band. Plus, you can feel good about what you’re putting on your head because this style is sustainably crafted with Organic raffia. Headed on an adventure? Don’t be afraid to pack this in your luggage- Just put a few t-shirts in the brim and lay it flat on the bottom of your suitcase. Then pack your clothes around it to maintain your hat’s perfect shape. A few dents won’t be the end of the world either- this durable hat is great at maintaining its shape after it’s packed.
Best UPF hats for Men
The classic Bac Pac Oily Australian Leather hat is a favorite for many reasons. Handmade in Australia by the one who started it all, Bill Conner, this timeless style features waterproof, heavy-duty material that stands the test of time. With a UPF 50+ rating and a crushable design, this men’s hat is the perfect match for the always-on-the-go traveler.
Best UPF Sun Protection Hats for Maximum Coverage
Need the most UV protection possible? If you have very fair skin, burn easily, or have any health factors that leave you at higher risk for skin cancer, make sure you’re choosing something with a 50+ UPF rating. For extra skin protection, use a reef-safe sunscreen along with your hat. Searching for styles that sport maximum coverage and still look great? Look no further than the Legionnaire Recycled Waterproof Sun Cap and the Mccloud Sun Protection Ladies Gardening Hat.
Made from 5 recycled water bottles, the lightweight Legionnaire Recycled Waterproof Sun Cap features a back sun shield to keep your neck protected all day long. The Legionnaire is rated 50+ for maximum protection.
The Mccloud Sun Protection Ladies Gardening Hat features a 50+ UPF rating and an extra-large brim for full face protection throughout the day.
With so many quality styles to choose from, there’s no reason not to choose a hat with UPF sun protection. UPF hats are one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from harmful rays while still enjoying the sun. Your skin will thank you (and your style won’t know the difference)!