Do you know which is more important, sunglasses or sun hat? To start with, most of us think that both of these items are accessories. Actually they are the important starting place for building a good sun blocking wardrobe.
As you are asking yourself which is more important, sunglasses or sun hats, are you overlooking easy-to-do sun protection? As easy as putting on your sunglasses and wide-brim sun hat!
While we are settling in to get the best of our sunblocking clothing, we now have available many options for protecting our skin. One of the more important options is for a healthier lifestyle. Everyday habits that will protect you when you need protection from the heat.
As stated earlier, sun hats and sunglasses are the basic building blocks of a good sun protection wardrobe. Even wearing that tiny bikini, remember your sun hat and sunglasses. After a few minutes, about 20, you will need to put on your sun blocking shirt.
So, first sunglasses and sun hats, then sunblocking shirts with pants and shoes.
Protecting your skin from the sun is simply a manner of covering your skin. People did it for years and suffered no ill effects, and you can too. My dad didn’t wear sunscreen. He wore a loose-fitting long sleeve shirt when he was out in the sun. His hat was always on his head.
He didn’t wear sunglasses in his younger years. As time went by and information was available, even to cotton farmers, he began to wear sunglasses. He had cataract surgery when he was in his early 70s.
He carefully pointed out that farmers he knew who didn’t wear sunglasses had to have cataract surgery at a much earlier age than he did.
More About Cataracts
According to Wikipedia, “A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to a decrease in vision. … Cataracts often develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes.”
Cataracts are caused by a lifetime of sun exposure. They are most often treated by surgery.
Some of the symptoms include faded colors and blurry vision. Often objects have halos around them. Nighttime vision is greatly affected and halos surround everything. (My experience!)
Do You Need Sunglasses If You Are Wearing A Hat?
Yes, you need sunglasses, even if you are wearing a sun hat. There are reflections and rays that bounce around and damage your vision. Doubling the protection by wearing your sun hat and sunglasses is a strong base to build your UPF wardrobe on.
Through the years, we have thought about sunglasses as an accessory. And they can be. However, just like we thought tans were healthy, sunglasses are actually a tool to help protect your eyes and the skin around your eyes from the dangers of too much sun!
The protection the sunglasses are giving your eyes is much more important and should be given careful consideration when you make your choices.
In my part of the Hill Country in Central Texas, we have been wearing sunglasses for a long time. We wear them to protect our eyes, and care not if they look like our Dads’ or Moms’! Here we have many hours of very bright sun. We drive long distances. Sunglasses are important.
All this being said, I have to come clean here, I thought about them as accessories! Selections happen according to appearance, and how they look on my face.
As I am learning about the importance of protecting my eyes and skin from the sun, I am looking for UV protection. With the sun’s ultraviolet rays cause several eye problems, with the damage being cumulative. Once damage happens, there is little to be done for correction.
Eye problems start out low-key and hardly noticeable. However, you are soon in the condition I described above with cataracts. Wearing sunglasses will help slow the damage and enable your vision to serve you well.
What To Look For When Choosing Sunglasses
Does it matter what kind of sunglasses you get? Yes, it does. You need to get sunglasses that block out 99 or 100% of the UV light. There should be labels on the sunglasses, don’t just take the sales clerk’s word. There may be some confusion. If you are purchasing your sunglasses from a retailer you trust, there should be no problems.
Too many people think that the darker lens blocks more UV rays. This is usually not true. This is just keeping more light from your eyes, which you may prefer. However, too dark of a lens can make objects more difficult to see and help cause eye strain.
So the level of protection is more important than the darkness of the lens.
Wrap-a-round styles that fit closer to your eyes will protect your eyes and the skin around them better.
So will larger, oversized lenses protect more of the skin around your eyes? Yes, and wide frames give more protection than wireframes.
For your kids, lightweight, frames that are bendable and have shatterproof lenses are better. Sunglasses for kids come in all price ranges. Getting the least expensive may not be a good buy if the fit is not comfortable for your child.
For playing on the playground, having a sports strap of some sort might be a good add-on to help keep up with them. Even very cheap sunglasses for kids should have the proper tags identifying the UV protection. 99-100% is what to get.
Here in the United States, all nonprescription sunglasses are regulated. The FDA says that Sunglasses are medical devices. Sunscreen also has specifications set by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information check here.
Let’s Have The Cost Discussion
I like prescription sunglasses. They fit well and feel good. However, there is a personality quirk. It is a quirk that has me being careless with my sunglasses.
So, I am very price conscious when shopping for sunglasses. Our Dollar store offers a fair selection, and as I don’t attempt to drive far with no sunglasses, they are often my first stop. For about $10 I can usually find a pair that I like and meets my needs.
If you are more careful by nature, good for you. But, please keep in mind, price is not always the mark of a good or best pair of sunglasses. Often price will give you a better fit, but I allow the lens to get scratched as quick on a pair of Oakleys as I do the ones from the local Dollar General.
For my grandkids, it is important for them to have sunglasses, but not so expensive that they can’t be kids. They soon grow into responsible enough kids that their parents are ready to buy a bit more pricy sunglasses than the Dollar store ones for the style factor.
My eye doctor tells me that a comfortable fit is important so that they are easier to wear, and the price is not the guiding factor for him. UV protection is what he says to look for.
Helping your kids protect their eyes is important. If you aren’t into sunglasses for younger kids, keep them out of the sun and in the house during the stronger UV rays of the year, and day. Young kids don’t need to be out anyway during these hours of the day, and probably you don’t either.
If they don’t have sunglasses, make sure they wear a wide-brim hat if they are to be in the sun.
Let’s Talk About Sun Hats
Right now you and I live in one of the few eras in human history where hats are not an obvious part of being well-dressed! I wore a hat a little when I was very young. That was so much fun, and I don’t know why we quit. We didn’t wear sun hats, but hats to church. Guess it was not practical!
The growing awareness of the dangers of UV exposure is having some effect and is putting more hat choices out there. If you have a day of running errands in the city, your bucket hat may not be your first choice.
In our little town, we are seeing townspeople wearing sun hats in the grocery store, or taking their walk in the mornings. A sun hat has at least a 3-inch brim and is made of tightly woven fiber or straw, Skin Cancer.org tells us.
You may not want a hat that makes you look like you should be on safari, trekking in the Himalayas, or heading for the rodeo!
Always remember that wide brims and tightly woven materials protect best.
Just because you found the perfect hat, it won’t help if you don’t actually wear it.
Unfortunately, there have been one or two hat purchases that mostly stayed unworn. There is also one I wear a lot, when outside in the yard. Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Remember, it is not all about fashion, it is about sun protection for you. Your head, face, nose, ears, and the back of your neck.
Then is it too loose a fit? Will it blow off in the wind? Is it too tight?
After being sure it will shade your face, and getting a fit, is it comfortable?Is the band part rubbing your head anywhere? Do your sunglasses slide on alright?
Now, lastly, consider the proportion of the hat. Is the crown too tall for you? Is the brim a bit too wide, more than 3-inches. And this time, more is not working for you?
To get some suggestions for color, check out this link.
Wear Your Hat With Confidence
Once you have found a good fit, and know you are protecting your skin, wear the hat. I’m sure you made certain it looks good on you!
It is usually easy to wear your sun hat at the beach or on vacation, many others are wearing their hats as well. However, when you are back at home, fewer people will be wearing hats. Wear your hat when it is practical to do so.
When you are out for in the sun a while? At a theme park with your family? When you will be shopping in an open-air market or craft fair. Gain your confidence in the small steps of being seen wearing a hat. Dollars to doughnuts, there will be others who are envying your good sense and determination to protect your skin.
Others will go home with too much sun on their faces, a guarantee of more wrinkles and lines on their skin before long. You’ll go home confident of your choices, and the new habits you are creating for yourself and your family to protect your skin from the sun.
Each time your wear your hat, you are building confidence. It gets easier to do something different. The example you are sitting for your family will help in the future when they are making their own decisions for skin safety.
Sami’s Take On Which Is More Important, Sunglasses or Sun Hat?
Working through the changing lifestyle habits, and putting healthier ones in place has not been a quick change for me. I have some habits that serve me well and a lot that don’t.
When thinking about sunglasses and sunhats, I already had the sunglasses. So adding the hat was the focus for me. Last summer was harder for me on remembering the hat as it was a wetter year, and we had more outside work.
Years we have more rain usually means more sunshine, as well as stormy weather with the wind. The wind brings falling limbs from our trees. This of course results in more clean-up in the yard.
This year we have a dry spring followed by a dryer hotter summer. No rains have meant no grass or weeds growing, so we have needed to mow only 2 times since last year. Doing a bit of yard cleaning every morning early means I am in the sun much less.
We haven’t traveled as Mr. Sami is still recovering from a serious health issue, and we are still being careful and safe. So, I can’t say that I am totally into a safer lifestyle yet. I am just out less, so there have been fewer times to forget the hat!
Awareness is the first step in changing our behavior according to the behavioral sciences. I have become much more aware of common sense ways to protect my skin. And as I have said before, in a different part of my life, I have fewer times I want to be out right now.
Awareness will help you to make a few changes. A few this year, and a few next years. Remember when you don’t have UPF clothing, wear something. The sun is so hard on your skin.
Time of Day
How long the sun has been on your skin today?
These are good places to start.