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Headwear Assn. hat handout aims to highlight protection from sun

The Headwear Association is planning to give away a whole lot of hats across the country this week as part of an awareness campaign about the damage the sun can cause to unprotected skin.

As part of its annual Hat Day in the Sun, the trade group is set to distribute, free of charge, thousands of wide-brimmed, sun-protection hats on Wednesday in cities including New York, Boston and Boulder, Colo. A SoCal hat handout is scheduled for Friday at the Eagle Rock Farmers Market. 

The free hats are being provided by Broner Hats, Dorfman-Pacific, Bollman Hat Co., Magid Hats, Wallaroo Hats, Korber Hats, F&M Hats and San Diego Hat Co.

The group has also shared the following tips as to what makes a good sun hat:

"Wide brims. Choose hats with at least a 2½-inch brim and always wear sunscreen and a hat when outside. Women's hats with brims larger than 5 inches also offer shoulder and décolletage protection from the sun.

"Curved shapes. Look for hats that follow the contour of the head and neck. These shapes offer the best protection against ultraviolet radiation. A baseball cap is not recommended as it leaves the cheeks, ears and back of the neck exposed.

"Opaque materials. The denser the fabric, the higher the ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF. Choose close-weave fabrics or tightly woven straw. Many hats have been tested for sun-protection qualities, and include a UPF number on the label. Fabrics are rated with a UPF rather than SPF, which only applies to sunscreens. UPF labels indicate how much of the sun's ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by the product's fabric. For instance, a hat with a UPF of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun's UVR to reach the skin."

The Headwear Assn.'s local Hat Day in the Sun giveaway is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday at the Eagle Rock Farmers Market, 2100 Merton Avenue, Eagle Rock.

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adam.tschorn@latimes.com

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