A number of stores, catalogs and websites specialize in hats, caps and turbans for people experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment. But don’t limit yourself to these suppliers — any hat will do. Here, a few tips on buying and wearing hats:
- Look for deep hats that fit down over your head. 1920s-style cloche hats work well, as do many men’s-style hats. Avoid hats that you can see through, as they won’t protect you from the sun or mask your hair loss.
- Think about where you’ll be wearing the hat. Wide-brimmed hats are great for outdoors because they shade UV rays. They’re less ideal for indoors because they block overhead lighting and can be awkward in crowded spaces like elevators, trains and restaurants. A wide brim may also be difficult to wear while driving if it hits the back of your seat.
- Baseball caps are popular because they’re adjustable, casual and widely available. However, regular caps may expose part of your scalp, so be sure to apply sunscreen to the back or your head. You may want to buy a cap that is specifically designed to cover the lower part of your scalp.
- Turbans are usually made of soft, stretchy fabrics and therefore tend to be more comfortable to wear. If you want a little extra height to give the appearance of hair underneath, add a shoulder pad or two.
- All hats should fit snuggly but not be so restrictive that they give you a headache. Loose-fitting hats can easily be tightened by adding a layer of foam (about one-quarter-inch to one-half-inch thick) to the inside of the hat. The foam sold in hardware stores for insulation around windows and air conditioners works well. If there’s an inner hatband, you can slip the foam between the hat and the band. Otherwise, buy foam with an adhesive backing and attach it directly to the inside of the hat. Adjustable hat-sizers are available from online retailers and specialty shops. Camping and travel stores sometimes carry hats with elasticized inner bands that adjust to the size of your head.
Unless the hat is made of extremely soft materials, you’ll likely want to wear a wig cap, sleeping cap or scarf underneath, to protect your scalp from irritation. Sleep caps and wig caps can be purchased through a number of retailers and online. If you opt to wear a scarf under your hat, choose one that’s made of cotton; silks can be too slippery.
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“TLC,” Tender Loving Care (American Cancer Society catalog)
Just in Time Soft Hats
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