People have always been told that we need daily sun exposure. Sunlight helps our body make Vitamin D, which in turn helps us make calcium to get stronger and healthier bones. But too much sun exposure can bring us harm, especially with its UV rays. In this article, you will learn about UV rays and how you can be protected by sunscreen and sun hats.
Ultraviolet Radiation in A Nutshell
Ultraviolet radiation, most commonly known as UV rays, is a kind of energy that you can from the sun and other light sources. This form of electromagnetic radiation is so powerful that it can bring harm to people as they can remove an electron from one atom. It is said that UV rays are at their most extreme from 10 AM to 4 PM, especially every spring and summer. It has three main kinds: UVA, UVB, and UVC, which are just different levels of worsening effects.
Harmful Health Effects of UV
Here are some known adverse effects of UV radiation.
- Melanoma – This is the worst form of skin cancer and is very common among young adults aged 15 to 29 years old.
- Cataracts and other eye diseases – UV rays can cause clouding of the vision, also known as a cataract. It can also cause pterygium, which is tissue growth in the eye, macular degeneration, or eye cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma – This type of skin cancer tumor can be first detected by bumps on the neck and parts of the head. It can be as intense as penetrating to the bone and cause considerable damage.
- Immune Problems – Because the skin is a primary defender of the body against diseases, it can become significantly weaker when it becomes compromised due to UV exposure, therefore, weakening the immune system.
- Premature skin aging – Chronic exposure to UV light can make the skin leathery, wrinkled, and thick.
Sun Hats VS. Sunscreen: The Basics
Because of the dangers brought by UV rays, you should find ways to lessen your exposure, especially when the sun is at its hottest. But where can you start? You can begin by using sun hats or sunscreens.
- Sun hats – A sun hat is made as a covering for the head that is specifically designed to allow shade against the sun. It covers the shoulders and the face, not just the head. It can also be made from straw, pith, and fiber. It can be purchased from various colors, shapes, and sizes for different ages and price points.
- Sunscreen – Also known as sunblock, can be a form of a foam, lotion, spray, or gel that is made to reflect the ultraviolet rays and protect the body. It can be applied to the face and to various parts of the body. Some are specifically designed for children, while others are for adults.
Sun Hats VS. Sunscreen: Some Common Types
Both sun hats and sunscreens do not come with a one-type cure-all, so here are the usual types that you could go for, depending on your preferences.
- Sun hats
- Bucket hat – Once famous as the fisherman’s hat, this is used for its softness and exceptional comfort.
- Panama hat – Usually made from straw, comes in a wide brim, and an ultimate summer favorite.
- Fedora – Usually available in felt and velvet and is a little tall with a medium brim.
- Floppy hat – A favorite among women, these come with extremely wide brims that offer the most sun protection, among other sun hats.
- Organic – These absorb UV rays and convert it to a small amount of heat.
- Inorganic – These reflect the UV rays and scatter the radiation elsewhere.
- Water-resistant – This can be used when swimming and can stay in your skin up to 40 minutes when soaking in water.
- Cream – The best type to use for people with dry skin.
- Lotion – These are less greasy and can be used on larger areas of the body.
- Gels – These are best for the hairy areas of the body like the chest and the scalp.
- Spray – These are the easiest to use on children, but they can be questionable on use.
Sun Hats VS. Sunscreen: Key Features
To make sure that you actually get the sun protection that you seek, these are the product features that you should look out for.
- Sun hats
- Fit – Great sun hats come with customizable fits like straps and sweatbands to make sure that everything will stay in place no matter what.
- Comfort – When buying sun hats, look out for those which are lightweight with quick-drying material and breathable fabric.
- UPF – A sun hat must come with Ultraviolet Protection Factor to help you stay safe against the sun’s harmful rays.
- Sun Protection – Make sure that the brim is long enough and at least 3 inches on the sides. Neck flaps are a great bonus, too.
- Mosquito Protection – Perfect for exploring the outdoors, the sun hat design will protect you against insects, too.
- Portability – An excellent sun hat can be easily folded and kept inside your bag.
- Broad-spectrum – This means that the sunscreen can protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
- SPF – The Sun Protection Factor must at least be at 30, but higher is encouraged.
- Ingredients that block UVA – When buying sunscreen, look for these ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, titanium, and zinc oxide.
- Sweat and water resistance – If you are going for intense activities like exercise or swimming, get a water-resistant sunscreen.
- Kid-friendly sunscreen – These use fewer chemicals that will likely irritate the skin, especially on young ones.
- Hypo-allergenic – If you have sensitive skin or specific conditions, look for sunscreens that are catered to your particular needs.
What Is The Better One?
Both sun hats and sunscreen offer excellent benefits that can protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. The decision on which one to choose will always be up to your preferences and which one you will be more comfortable to use. Just remember that no matter how much you slather on sunscreen or even if you wear sun hats, spending too much time under the blasting heat of the sun can still raise the chances of acquiring skin cancer or other adverse effects of UV rays.