All The Rage

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Sun protection, from the top of your head

July 23, 2011 |  6:03 am

I almost never go outside without a hat. I do it to save my (expensive) blond hair color. I do it to guard my fair skin from sun damage. But I also have an even more important reason -- to protect my scalp. 

The scalp is the often-overlooked Achilles' heel of many a sun-protection regimen. How many of us slather on sunblock, slap on a pair of UV-protected sunglasses and think we're done?

A man of my acquaintance always wore a hat when his hair began to thin, as a matter of vanity. He didn't want the world to see what was happening. But when he decided to take the very stylish route of buzzing what remained of his hair, he cast the hat aside to proudly show off his smooth dome.

Wrong move.

A bare scalp can be toast. The sun's rays penetrate even thick hair and can cause skin cancers on the scalp just as they can anywhere else on the body. In some cases, the cancer can be deadly, and I know this from experience. Despite a full head of thick dark hair, my dad died at 40 from melanoma of the scalp, leaving behind a young widow and two little girls. And that's the most important reason I will keep wearing my hat.

The right hat can offer protection, but there are other steps you can take too, writer Alexandra Drosu explains elsewhere in Image.  Oh, and in case you're worried about hat hair, she has tips for getting around that too! 

--Susan Denley


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Photo: Coolibar men's crushable ventilated hat is $45 at Credit: