The Burmese have their thanaka which they apply to their face for sun protection. In Singapore (and many parts of Asia), the ladies have their umbrellas which they’d whip out the minute they step out into the sun. It’s great for sun protection but some of us would balk at the idea. The more fashion-forward would say that screams “aunty” while others feel it’s just too cumbersome.
While being Asian means that our skin burns less easily and is less prone to sun damage, premature aging, and wrinkling than Caucasian skin, it doesn’t make us immune to photoaging. Photoaging is skin damage and skin aging caused by intense and chronic exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Our skin is also vulnerable to pigmentation, age spots, melisma, and uneven skin tone.
Wearing a hat is a great alternative. It not only keeps your hands free, you are making a fashion statement too. A well-designed hat is alluring, sexy, stylish yet functional at the same time. For those who bemoan how that would give you the dreaded hat head—flattened, matted down hair, take heart. There are ways to circumvent that.
A Hat a Day: Wear it right, wear it with style
#1 Size matters According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, a hat must have at least a 3-inch brim all around to protect areas that are often exposed to intense sunlight. These areas include the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
#2 Design Hats with broad brims all around and those with brims angled downwards provide the greatest UV protection. Research has also shown that broad-brimmed hats provide protection equivalent to a sun protection factor (SPF) of approximately 5 for the nose, ears, and neck, says the foundation.
Baseball hats are a popular choice among the young. Such hats protect the front and top of the head but not the neck or the ears, where skin cancers commonly develop. Straw hats are not as protective as hats made of tightly woven fabric.
#3 What lies underneath matters A dark, non-reflective underside to the brim helps to lower the amount of UV rays reach the face from reflective surfaces such as water.
#4 Pair it with sunglasses A true fashionista would pair a hat with sunglasses for the complete uber-chic look. What’s more, UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the delicate skin around the eyes.
#5 Is UPF important for a hat? An Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) label helps us identify sun-protective garments; the number on the label indicates what fraction of the sun’s rays can penetrate the fabric. While UPF and the type of material plays an important role when selecting clothes to protect ourselves from UV rays, the Skin Cancer Foundation simply states that a minimum brim width of 3 inches is enough. So one doesn’t need to specially buy a UPF-labeled hat as long as it fulfills that minimum requirement.
#6 Sunblock and long-term maintenance Always apply sunblock on your face before stepping out of the house as part of your daily skincare regime. If you are plagued or bothered by pigments, there are a variety of doctor treatments that can help you lighten and remove the unwanted dark spots. Pair it with facial creams and serums to treat the problem too. Halley Medical Aesthetics (Halley), for instance, has a set of Brilliance skincare regime specifically targeted to treat pigmented skin. This includes its Depigmentation Formula, Renewal Essence, Diamond Serum, Star Bright Whitening Cream, and Airy Antioxidant Sunscreen.
We did promise to address the issue of hat heads. For one, make sure your hair is bone dry before wearing a hat. If your hair is wet, use some volumising products before your blow dry. When you get indoors, zip into the bathroom, turn your head upside down and use your fingertips to fluff your hair at the roots. Privacy is of utmost important during this time but hey, if you can do it with style, no one is going to bat an eyelid or look at you weird.
For more ideas on how to deal with a hat head, check out this blog.