Cowboy Hats: Even Your Doctor Wants You to Wear Them

Celebrities are wearing them, professionals are picking up the trend, and even British royals have taken to using them. Hats are everywhere, and the reason why people are using them might not be just to look good.

Hats and the Sun

Straw cowboy hats have become extremely popular; you’ll even find them for sale in regular clothing shops in the mall. However, one of the reasons they’re so popular is that one group endorses their use: doctors, particularly dermatologists and oncologists. Doctors have been prescribing hats — especially wide-brimmed ones — as a form of protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Hugh Jackman, most famous for his role as Wolverine, said in an interview that he started wearing hats after multiple melanoma scares. Melanomas and other types of skin cancer are primarily caused by chronic exposure to UV radiation — mostly because of the sun. Hats are effective in preventing UV rays from directly hitting the face. This is especially important for celebrities and people who make use of their looks to make a living.

You’ll Need More than Just a Hat

A hat gives you adequate protection from UV radiation — but only for your face. You probably won’t go around wearing hats every time you go outside, especially when participating in any physical activity. Get the habit of wearing sunscreen. Even the lowest SPF 15 (sun protection factor) sunscreen can protect you from 93 percent of harmful UV rays while the higher SPF 50 can block 98 percent of UV radiation. If you drive to work every day, you might need to have your car windows treated with UV filtering film. The little bit of UV radiation you get from your daily trips accumulates, and you might be seeing melanomas on the left side of your body pretty soon. The large patio windows in your home can also be a source of harmful UV rays. You can have them treated with colorless UV filtering film and banish the fear of getting cancer right in your own home.

Are You at Risk?

Yes, everyone is at risk. However, certain factors can determine if you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. The amount of your daily exposure to the sun, your skin color, and the elevation of your locality are definite factors that affect your risk. Constantly being outside due to your work or whatever reasons exposes you to more UV radiation. You are also more vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV radiation if you have fair skin. Every 1,000 feet of elevation can increase the concentration of UV radiation, so if you live in Utah or Colorado, you’re more vulnerable. Of course, if you are a celebrity or just particular about your looks, you should be a little more careful since melanoma surgeries will leave marks on your skin.
Wear a pin to support cancer awareness, but wear a hat to prevent it. Don’t forget the sunscreen, and make sure that those sneaky UV rays don’t get into your car or home.

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