Style meets safety: A look at sun protection hats for women

A woman sat on a beach reading underneath a yellow umbrella

As the warm weather beckons, we eagerly reach for our favourite sunglasses and cover-ups, but one essential accessory often gets overlooked: the sun hat. Traditionally viewed as either a stylish addition or a frumpy necessity, finding a sun hat that strikes the perfect balance between fashion and protection is actually easier than you might think.

What are the best hats for sun protection?

When selecting a sun-safe hat, Cancer Research UK recommends a wide-brimmed style that shades your face, ears and neck. The wider the brim, the better, making floppy, Panama and oversized bucket hats excellent choices, unlike baseball caps, which leave your ears and neck exposed.

A wide brimmed hat on a towel next to a pool

Fabric matters for UV protection

The material of your hat is just as crucial as the style. While straw hats offer a classic beach look, their gaps compromise protection. To test a hat’s UV-blocking ability, hold it up to the light; if you can see through it, UV rays can penetrate the fabric and reach your skin. 

For ultimate protection, look for hats with UV-blocking materials featuring a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating, which measures the amount of UV radiation that can pass through to the skin’s surface. A certified UPF50+ rating means only 1/50th of UV rays will reach your skin.
Solbari, Wallaroo and Tilley have a great collection of sun hats in various colours and styles, including many with UPF50+ protection.

A woman lying in a pool with a sun hat over her face wearing a yellow bikini

What colour hat is best for sun protection?

While hat colour may seem like a personal preference, certain shades offer better sun protection than others. Darker colours, like black or navy, are more effective at blocking UV rays than lighter hues. However, if you prefer lighter colours, opt for hats with darker linings to absorb UV rays before they reach your skin.

Is it better to wear a hat or sunscreen?

Yes, hats provide excellent sun protection; however, they must be used in conjunction with sunscreen, not as a replacement. For optimal protection, choose a broad-spectrum SPF50 sunscreen and apply it generously to all exposed areas of your skin. By combining a stylish sun hat with sunscreen, you can enjoy your time outdoors with peace of mind, knowing you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your skin from sun damage.

A woman in a sun hat and sunglasses with a pool in the background.

Final thoughts

Gone are the days of sacrificing style for sun protection. With the wide array of fashionable sun hats available today, you can stay safe under the sun without compromising your look. However, remember that sun hats should be combined with an SPF50 sunscreen for the best protection. Using both gives you the best possible chance of avoiding sunburn, premature skin ageing and possibly even skin cancer.

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