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Sunscreen vs Sunhats: Which is better for sun protection?

  • 4 min read

Sunscreen vs Sun protection hat

If you’re wondering which is better for sun protection - sun hat or sunscreen - this article will try to answer just that! We’ll talk about the benefit each sun protection tool brings and some of the downsides of using each one.

Table of Contents

  • Should you wear sunscreen while wearing a hat?
  • Is a sunhat better than sunscreen?
  • Can you get sunburned through a hat?
  • What are the top tips to remember about sun protection?
  • Get the highest level of sun protection from sun hats!
  • Conclusion

Should you wear sunscreen while wearing a hat?

The short answer to this is yes. When you’re wearing a hat, UV rays can still bounce off different surfaces. Rather than just counting on one or the other, wearing sunscreen alongside a sun hat should give you better protection. 

Having several layers of sun protection is the best approach to protecting your face and skin - especially for those highly exposed areas (ears, back of the neck, etc.)

With that said, here are some things to remember when using these sun protection tools to get the most out of each one: 

Firstly, the sun hat’s construction matters. Having a sun hat that provides UPF protection is ideal to block harmful sun rays from reaching your face. A wide-brimmed hat also ensures that you’ll get better coverage and shade. Get more tips to choose the best sun hat for you using this guide

For sunscreen, it is crucial to reapply it every two hours as its effects tend to fade by that time. 

Is a sunhat better than sunscreen?

Each brings a perk that is unique to each one. But, it’s NOT to say that one is better than the other. Rather, these tools complement one another.

While wide-brimmed sun hats bring permanent sun protection, you may find that they may not be able to cover all of the areas that need protection - this is where sunscreen comes in handy.

You can apply sunscreen to highly exposed areas that cannot be covered by sun hats. However, you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours.

Can you get sunburned while wearing a hat?

Yes, it can still happen. UV rays can bounce off other surfaces, effectively reaching your face and other areas. So, we highly recommend approaching sun protection on several levels. 

You can do this by wearing sunscreen and wearing a sun hat on top of wearing sun-protective clothing. To take sun protection up a notch, you can sport sunglasses to protect your eyes. 

What are the top tips to remember about sun protection? 

Here are some top tips to remember to get the best sun protection for your face and skin: 

Pick a wide-brim sun hat with a UPF 50+ rating

A sun hat with a wide brim (around 3 inches) should be able to give you better coverage and shade for your face effectively. A UPF 50+ rating ensures that the sun hat fabric blocks harmful sun rays before reaching your skin. Here’s a guide that you can check out on what sun hat features to look for to get the highest level of sun protection. 

Reapply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 (or more) every two hours

People tend to forget that you need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. This is why we want to reiterate the fact that the effects of sunblock tend to fade after a couple of hours - reapplying is crucial.

Opting for a broad-spectrum UPF 50+ sunscreen means that you'll be protected from UVA and UVB rays. And remember, the higher the UPF rating, the better the sun protection. 

Cover up by wearing sun-protective clothing 

Aside from wearing sun hats alongside sunscreen application, wearing sun-protective shirts and trousers adds another layer of protection. It’s ideal to choose dark or bright colored clothes, long-sleeved shirts, and tightly-woven fabric. 

Stay in the shade

When outside, it’s best to move under the shade, especially during the peak hours of sun intensity - 10 AM to 4 PM. 

Get the highest level of sun protection from sun hats! 

Here are some of the best sun hats that deliver optimal sun protection for outdoor adventures:  

  • Wanderer Series. Protect your skin as you go off into your adventures when you wear GearTop’s Wanderer Series Hat! This breathable wide-brimmed hat effectively shades your face from harmful UV rays while keeping you cool and fresh.
  • Floater Series. Featuring a wide brim GearTop’s Floater Series Hat, have the ultimate outdoor sun protection while staying comfortable and cool. Adjustable and waterproof, you’ll want for nothing when you sport this bucket hat.
  • Navigator Series. Get the highest level of sun protection as you spend time outdoors when you wear the Navigator Series Fishing Hat with UPF 50+ Sun Protection! Breathable and lightweight, this versatile sun hat is perfect for hiking, gardening, spending time at the beach, or any other outdoor activity!
  • Discoverer Series. Stay fully protected as you step into every adventure with the Discoverer Series’ 360-degree protection, With removable flaps, protect not just your face but also your neck and ears from harmful UV rays. 
  • Discoverer Air. Not a fan of flaps? The Discoverer Air brings just as much protection from harmful UV rays to your face, neck, ad ears. Featuring a wide brim, breathable mesh panels, ad adjustable drawcord, stay protected and comfortable for any sunny escapade. 
  • Explorer Series. Steer clear of annoying bugs and stay protected from the elements when you wear GearTop’s Explorer Series sun hat! Featuring a removable mosquito net, get full protection from the sun, wind, dust, and insects as you spend time outdoors!
  • Jasmine Sun Visor.  Looking for a sun visor hat that delivers style, comfort, and protection? The Jasmine sun visor ticks all of these boxes – and MORE! With a ponytail hole, this chic headwear allows you to wear your hair any way you want. Whether you’re feeling a messy bun or want to let your hair down, it will look cute either way! 


We hope that you now have a clearer idea of what the pros and cons are when using sun hats and sunscreen for sun protection.

We also hope that you’ve found the value of using these sun protection tools together. This is to make sure that all your bases are covered. You'll also have several layers of protection to count on.

If you want to learn more about sun protection and sun protection tips, visit the GearTOP blog.

Thank you for reading! 

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