Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (2022)

Feeling distressed at my sun damaged face this summer, I desperately look for solutions and wonder: does wearing a hat protect you from the sun?

According to dermatologists and what my own research has made me learn, hats are not only stylish, but also provide crucial protection against the sun. Wearing one saves your hair, face, ears and neck against UV rays. The amount of protection offered by a hat depends on its type – the design, shape, size and material determine how well a hat blocks and reflects UV radiation. Let’s discover more about how hats serve as a viable solution for preventing sun damage.

Table of Contents

  • Why Hats Are Important in the Sun?
    • Blocks UV Light
    • Covers the Hair
    • Provides Shade for Your Face
    • Keeps You Cool
  • Do Bucket Hats Protect You From the Sun?
    • A Wide Brim
    • Comparison With a Sunscreen Lotion
    • Additional Neck Flap
  • Do Mesh Hats Protect From Sun?
    • Pair It With a Sunscreen Lotion
    • Buy the Right Material
    • Use Sunscreen Mesh Hats
  • How to Protect Yourself From the Sun?
    • Wear a Wide Brimmed Hat
    • Apply a Sunscreen Lotion
    • Wear the Right Clothing
    • Carry an Umbrella
    • Wear Sunglasses
  • Conclusion
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Why Hats Are Important in the Sun?

Exposing your head and face to the cruel sun creates a real nightmare by leading to wrinkles as well as premature graying of your beautiful tresses. Without any protection in the sun, you also make yourself vulnerable to skin cancer. Among other measures taken for sun protection, a hat serves as a great option.

Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (1)

Here is why a hat should be your companion when you are out in the sun.

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Blocks UV Light

A hat provides you shade from the sun. The wider the brim of the hat, the better coverage it provides against UV radiation. There are UPF hats available which are also known as sunscreen hats. These are touted as extremely effective at providing protection against the sun. It has been claimed that hats with a rating of UPF 50+ block almost 98% of the UV radiation that falls directly on you. I haven’t tried one yet but I definitely feel it’s an awesome invention.

Covers the Hair

UV radiation aims right at the protective layer of our hair strands known as the cuticle. Once this layer has been damaged, you go through all sorts of alarming hair issues including split ends, friziness and discoloration. The strands become dry, brittle and weak. As a result, you also start to experience hair breakage and hair fall. It’s an absolute horror story! I’ve already been through this extremely ugly situation. While I had to resort to a variety of expensive hair serums, masks and treatment sessions at the hair salon, you can avoid the entire situation by using a simple hat when you are out in the sun.

Provides Shade for Your Face

The sun is merciless. Here is another short horror story: constant exposure to the sun is disastrous for your face. Freckles, wrinkles, a damaged complexion and the appearance of moles with cancer tendencies are some of the most frightening effects of UV rays on the face. Most of this damage is irreversible. I had a narrow escape myself before I turned to the right solution on time. Therefore, my advice is to always wear a hat before stepping out on a sunny day. A hat shades your face from the sun. Although the protection may not be a hundred percent, it still considerably prevents UV rays from harming your face.

Keeps You Cool

While a hat performs the important job of blocking UV rays, it also keeps you cool on a scorching hot day. So, whether you are mowing the lawn at your house, coaching the football team at your kid’s school or doing some official fieldwork, don’t neglect wearing your hat. It will keep the heat away by maintaining shade on your head.

Do Bucket Hats Protect You From the Sun?

Originally created in the 1900s for Irish peasants as protective gear against rain, bucket hats have been turned into a fashion accessory over the years. Amazingly, these hats also offer great sun protection.

Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (2)

Let’s look at why doctors and experts recommend a bucket hat over other styles for the best protection against UV rays.

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A Wide Brim

This type of hat is effective at blocking UV rays owing to its design. As it consists of a wide brim, a bucket hat shields your face, ears as well as neck. While an ordinary cap only protects your hair and forehead, it leaves the rest of your face, neck and ears exposed. On the other hand, the brim of a bucket hat gives you extra protection.

Comparison With a Sunscreen Lotion

Some might argue that a baseball cap plus a good sunscreen lotion are sufficient while heading out in the sun. However, you must be aware of the limitations of a sunscreen. It needs to be reapplied after a few hours. Moreover, if you are sweating due to your hot surroundings, the sunscreen lotion is wiped off. This is when a bucket hat comes to the rescue. Even after the effect of your sun protecting lotion has worn off, a bucket hat continues to shade your entire face. Your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin all remain protected against UV rays as long as you keep your hat on. I wouldn’t say that a bucket hat alone can give you a hundred percent protection against the sun. But this hat combined with a decent sunscreen lotion can certainly make a good team.

Additional Neck Flap

Some manufactures add a special neck flap to the bucket cap. This increases the shade coverage of the hat for your neck region. Other than making the hat look more chic, the neck flap protects the sensitive skin on your nape from getting sun burnt. So, you can comfortably carry out your outdoor activities in the sun while wearing a simple, round neck T-shirt. Your bucket hat with its additional neck flap has got you covered!

Do Mesh Hats Protect From Sun?

A mesh hat is a type of baseball cap. When it comes to wearing a hat, a cap is what most people prefer owing to its comfort, easy availability and reasonable price. It is also stylish and almost never goes out of trend. However, I don’t feel happy to reveal your chic cap offers the least amount of sun protection among all other styles of hats. Still, when you have no other option, a mesh hat is better than no protection at all. It does cover your head and keeps UV rays away from your hair, scalp and forehead. It also somewhat shades your nose and eyes. Moreover, a cap keeps the heat away by blocking direct sunlight falling on your head.

Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (3)

When you don’t want to opt for any other style, you can still turn to your mesh hat to shield you against the sun. Here is how you can get the most out of it.

Pair It With a Sunscreen Lotion

Since a mesh hat only shades your scalp and forehead, protect the rest of your face by applying a potent sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply the lotion after every couple of hours for the maximum effectiveness.

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Buy the Right Material

While purchasing your mesh hat, look for materials that are best at reflecting the heat away and blocking UV radiation. I would personally recommend buying a cotton cap as it is considerably comfortable and keeps the scorching heat away.

Use Sunscreen Mesh Hats

Look for mesh hats offering sunscreen protection. As I already discussed above, these hats are made from a special material that blocks UV radiation. Hats rated above SPF offer the best sun protection. So, if you can get your hands on a mesh hat with this rating, you will be giving yourself a decent amount of protection on a sunny day.

How to Protect Yourself From the Sun?

You might be thinking why a hat isn’t good enough for protection against the harmful effects of the sun. Well, it is kind of frightening to know that the sun leaves no stone unturned to attack us! Other than the rays falling directly on us, there are reflected sunrays as well as scattered radiation all around us. Therefore, we need to be fully prepared in more than one way to shield ourselves from this radiation.

If you are thinking what can protect you from the sun, I have listed some of the most effective preventive measures you can take.

Wear a Wide Brimmed Hat

Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (4)

As we have already established above, a wide brimmed hat is your best shield against the sun. It provides significant coverage and shades your head, face, neck, ears as well as back.

Apply a Sunscreen Lotion

A dermatologist would literally freak out if you tell him/her that you don’t use a sunscreen regularly! This is the first thing doctors recommend as protection for your skin. With so much awareness and repeated reminders given by skin experts, no wonder doctors get agitated when their patients show negligence. If you love your skin, don’t ever neglect your sunscreen lotion. Wear it every day of the week. Choose one with an appropriate SPF rating for the maximum protection.

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Wear the Right Clothing

Protecting yourself against the sun requires you to minimize your exposure. This means you need to wear appropriate clothing when you are outdoors. Wear full sleeves and avoid wearing shorts or a mini skirt. In other words, try to keep all your body parts covered.

Carry an Umbrella

Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? (5)

I remember how I used to carry an umbrella around during my university days. I needed effective sun protection while walking from my classes to the parking area on the huge campus. An umbrella is quite handy and can be used anywhere. Simply put it in your bag and open it whenever needed. It provides a pleasant shade. Depending upon its size, an umbrella can shield your entire body from sunrays.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses are the trendiest piece of protective equipment against the sun. Use polarized glasses for protection against UV radiation. These glasses may be expensive. However, investing in a good pair can prevent irreversible sun damage.


Sun damage is inevitable if you expose yourself without any protection. Remember, this damage is irreversible and may even lead to deadly cancer. Therefore, turning to preventive measures is of the utmost importance. You may protect yourself in a number of ways. Wearing a hat is one of the most effective shields against UV radiation. Enhance your fashion style and use a trendy hat whenever you step out in the sun. Whether you are working, enjoying on the beach, out for a vacation or simply playing with your little ones in your backyard, you can always wear a hat to keep the sun away.

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Does Wearing a Hat Protect You From the Sun? ›

Hats can be a useful addition for sun protection of your head, ears, face and neck, but they will rarely provide sufficient protection on their own to anyone outside during times where sun protection is advised (when the UV level is 3 or higher).

Does wearing a hat protect your hair from the sun? ›

One of the simplest and most effective ways of protecting your head from sun damage is by wearing a hat. This protective layer helps combat direct sunlight and keeps you cool. Not only does it help protect your hair strands, but your scalp will be protected as well.

How much sun protection does a hat provide? ›

"Wearing a hat provides instant shade, which increases your cumulative total sun protection factor by at least 10,” says Ava Shamban, M.D., a dermatologist in Beverly Hills.

Why is it important to wear a hat in the sun? ›

Hats Help Regulate Your Body Temperature

Your head is the most important part of the body when it comes to regulating your body's temperature. In hot weather, wearing a hat can block the sun's UV rays, which helps to keep your body temperature lower. Adversely, in cold weather, a hat can help your body preserve heat.

Is wearing a hat better than sunscreen? ›

Our findings suggest that shade and protective clothing may be more effective than sunscreen, as typically used by Americans.

Is it good to wear a hat? ›

Benefits Of Wearing Hats For Everyone

Protect your face and head from sunburn. Protect your eyes from the brightness of the sun, which can cause sun damage as you age. Help to prevent skin cancers and skin damage. Protect your head, face and ears from the cold and weather conditions.

Is it good to wear hats all the time? ›

Wearing hats every day doesn't pose significant problems on the body, especially the hair. In fact, caps can be beneficial to the wearer, as they can protect the face and give shade to the eyes on sunny days.

Do sun hats actually work? ›

In addition to being super stylish, protection sun hats help offer an extra layer against the sun's skin-damaging UV rays. It's a good idea to wear a hat and sunscreen in the sun, says board-certified dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, M.D., founder of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics in New York.

What color hat is best for sun protection? ›

The Cancer Council in Australia suggests that darker colors absorb UV rays, which helps block them from your skin. That's why dark blue, black, and dark red are the best colors for sun protection compared to white or pastel colors of the same fabric.

Do I need hat and sunscreen? ›

Yes, you need sunscreen on your face and ears even when you wear a hat.

Why students should wear hats? ›

Hats are fashion statements and can be used to make an outfit. It allows students to feel comfortable in school and not always judged. Students can use them to cover up a bad hair day or simply keep their heads warm in the winter.

Why do people wear hats? ›

A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory.

Do hats help with heat? ›

All types of headgear studied reduced forced convective heat loss (heat dissipation due to forced air, such as an outdoor breeze or a fan), but baseball caps impeded this heat loss the most, by 60%. However the same baseball caps were also effective in reducing radiant heat flow by approximately 80%.

Do hats cause hair loss? ›

Hats do not necessarily cause baldness, but you might notice early signs of baldness if your hat causes tension on your hair and scalp. If you're experiencing early signs of balding, you might resort to wearing a hat to conceal the hair loss.

What happens if I wear a hat everyday? ›

If you wear your hat so tightly that circulation to the hair follicles was cut off. It could decrease blood flow to the hair follicles and scalp stressing them and causing them to fall out. If you consistently wear an extremely tight hat, you should experience traction alopecia or gradual hair loss.

Why did people stop wearing hats? ›

The most popular attributed cause is the rise of closed cars and other transportation. As covered cars became more popular, the necessity for a hat diminished.

Why should you wear a hat in summer? ›

A baseball cap not only protects you from the sun, but it also protects your scalp from the cold, rain, and wind. This benefit works by protecting your skin from scalp damage. It also protects your hair from breakage caused by exposure to harsh elements.

Why do people wear hats in the summer? ›

Therefore, wearing a hat reduces heat loss from your body to protect your ears from the cold in winter. Similarly, hats offer you cover in summer from the harsh sun rays. It deflects rays off your head to keep you cooler in warm weather.

Does a shirt protect you from the sun? ›

When you are out in the sun, wear clothing to cover your skin. Clothes provide different levels of UV protection. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or long skirts cover the most skin and are the most protective. Dark colors generally provide more protection than light colors.

Do t shirts protect you from the sun? ›

Not all clothing protects equally

A white T-shirt provides only moderate sun protection, with a UPF of about 7. When that T-shirt gets wet, it provides a UPF of only 3! A dark, long-sleeved denim shirt can provide a UPF of about 1,700; in essence, complete sun protection.

What's the worst color to wear in the sun? ›

Darker colors absorb more UV than lighter colors like whites and pastels. This means the UV rays are less likely to reach your skin. But bright colors such as red can also absorb UV rays. The more vivid the color, the greater the protection—a bright yellow shirt is more protective than a pale one.

Does black hat make you hotter? ›

It's pretty common to hear that "wearing black makes you hotter." While that can be true if you are completely stationery, it can make you cooler if there is even slight wind. Black does absorb heat from the sun at a faster pace than white, but black also absorbs the heat from your body as well.

What should I wear in the sun? ›

To help protect your skin from the sun, dermatologists recommend wearing the following items:
  • Lightweight and long-sleeved shirts and pants. It's important to cover up as much of your skin as possible when spending time outdoors. ...
  • Sunglasses with UV protection. ...
  • A wide-brimmed hat. ...
  • Shoes that cover your feet.

How can I protect my skin from the sun naturally? ›

How to protect your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen every day, even if it's cloudy. Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen (enough to fill a shot glass) at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Also use a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.

What colors block UV light? ›

Dark or bright colors, including red, black and navy blue, absorb more UV rays than lighter colors like whites and pastels.

Is wearing a hat good for your hair? ›

Hats don't usually pull the hair, but a very tight hat that puts pressure on the scalp or pulls the hair may. “Over time, this will cause scarring and miniaturization of the hair follicles. Hairs become super-fine or just stop growing,” says Shainhouse.

Does a wide brim hat protect from sun? ›

Wide-Brimmed Hat.

“And the wider the brim, the better.” The brim will shield your neck and ears, where skin cancers commonly develop. “A wide brimmed hat will protect you from direct UV rays, as well as reflected rays from the water and sand,” says Wu.

Do hats cause hair loss? ›

Well, dear wearers of ball caps and bowlers, rest assured: Wearing hats does not cause hair loss. Actually, let us caveat that. If you consistently wear an extremely tight hat, you could experience traction alopecia (gradual hair loss resulting from repetitive pulling or tension of hair).

Do hats help with heat? ›

All types of headgear studied reduced forced convective heat loss (heat dissipation due to forced air, such as an outdoor breeze or a fan), but baseball caps impeded this heat loss the most, by 60%. However the same baseball caps were also effective in reducing radiant heat flow by approximately 80%.


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