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Friday, August 12, 2022
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Not to scare readers (well, maybe a little scare is okay), but according to the American Academy of Dermatology skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with an estimated one in five Americans diagnosed over the course of their lifetime. The Fashion Link spoke with Dr. Michael Wiederkehr, MD, FAAD, owner and medical director of the Center for Dermatology and Skin Surgery in Paramus (https://centerfordermatologynj.com/), to discuss the importance of sun protection as part of a summer beauty and fashion routine.

Many people, especially those who follow the fashion and beauty circuit, are familiar with the fact that a daily skin-care regimen that includes sunblock of SPF 30 or higher prevents signs of premature aging, or “photoaging.”

“Sunburns and chronic sun damage increase wrinkles and lead to a loss of elasticity in the skin,” explained Dr. Wiederkehr, in addition to the cumulative damage caused by the sun that can lead to skin cancer. “I am diagnosing forms of skin cancer in my office multiple times a day,” he said.

Obviously, sunscreen is a necessity in routines for all ages, and while anything is better than nothing, Dr. Wiederkehr recommends lotions over sprays. For starters, lotions are easier to see, making it a cinch to spot an area that was missed, as anyone who has ever missed smearing a spot of lotion and walked around with a white glob on their cheek already knows. In addition, many sunscreens now incorporate physical blockers such as zinc and titanium into their products, ingredients that are more likely to be found in lotions than sprays.

Being vigilant about sunscreen means applying not just in the morning, but throughout the day as the sun protection wears off every couple of hours, as well as after being in the water or sweating.

Speaking of physical blockers, nothing blocks the sun like a hat, and this is where the fashion-conscious summer fans can really let their sense of style shine without compromising functionality. Sunscreen should still be applied, but the hat in combination with sunscreen is a winning blend of sun protection and trendy fashion.

“You don’t even need to find a hat that is UPF rated,” said Wiederkehr. “Just find one with a tight weave and it will be very protective already.”

Caps

Baseball caps, and caps in general, have a nice brim that covers the forehead, nose and most of the face. These hats appeal to men, women and children of all ages. They can have a personal or political message, show a love of a sports team or even include an artistic design that adds a feminine touch to the hat.

Brim Hats

The downside to the cap style of hat, however, is the way the ears and back of the neck are still exposed. Fedoras and Panama-style hats have a brim that goes around the whole diameter of the hat, covering the ears and more of the neck, especially in the back. These hat styles are especially popular and can be found at boutique stores such as Teaneck’s Solene. Fast-fashion stores like Target and Old Navy even have sizes for young children, if you can get kids to keep it on their heads, of course. This is a popular choice for sun protection that adds a touch of an “island vibe” to the summer wardrobe.

Oversized Hats

If dermatologists read the VOGUE Magazines in their waiting rooms, they probably jumped for joy when Spring 2018 fashion boasted the current hat trend of “more is more.” Indeed, the words “extra” and “oversized” could be seen in conjunction with hat styles coming off the runway. While these styles were not terribly practical in real life—they were oversized to the degree that doorways would have to be widened, and the price tags made it unlikely anyone would wear one to a beach, park or any place it could be damaged—the style for larger brims carried over into everyday fashion, making large-brim sun hats a chic addition to the beach. A wide-brim straw hat, sunglasses and a bottle of sunscreen are the perfect combination for a fun and sun-safe day outdoors.

Men’s Hats

Men are more hesitant to branch out beyond the cap style, so it can be more difficult to find hats with extra coverage for them, but the Fashion Link does have some suggestions for anyone willing to step outside of his comfort zone, beyond the black hat some may don for Shabbat and other formal occasions. For the dapper gentleman with an old-school sense of style, a fedora can work for you. Just think of Neil Caffrey in the USA channel’s now-defunct White Collar and how he made it part of his look.

Looking again to iconic chapeau-sporting television personalities, we would be remiss not to mention Gilligan and the bucket hat he made into his own fashion symbol. Of course, Mr. Howell also had his own collection of hats, many of which had a brim that went all the way around, his boater hat and safari hat just to name two, so it’s possible Gilligan’s Island should be our starting point for sun protection and fashion.

According to men’s fashion website “D’Marge,” men can wear a bucket hat and enjoy the look, but “shouldn’t take themselves too seriously” when wearing it. A bucket hat, sometimes referred to as a fisherman’s hat, can work well for men who are having a busy day outdoors and in the sun. It has a sporty look that goes well with casual clothing such as cargo pants or shorts, and can be part of an entire look if someone is comfortable changing things up. Prada (yes, that Prada) is bringing the bucket hat back into style for fashion-forward men and unveiled the look in Milan this past year.

Making a hat part of outdoor wardrobes, even if it means spending some extra time shopping for a hat about which your child is extra excited (and maybe even buying a spare once the magic hat is found), will set the stage for a lifetime of safe sun habits, as well as empowering children to take an active role in both their fashion and their sun safety.

Have a safe and fun summer.

By Jenny Gans

 

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