The neck is an often overlooked part of the body when it comes to sun protection.
You have most likely have heard of the term “red neck” which originates from 19th century America. Whilst the phrase has evolved to have a broader meaning today, at the time it referred to farmers having a red neck caused by too much exposure to the sun. These days we are much more knowledgeable about sun safety and are blessed with the means to protect ourselves from the sun more effectively.
Dermatologists agree that the most effective form of sun protection is UPF 50+ sun protective clothing. A neck covering like a UPF 50+ neck gaiter can be very effective, particularly when it is pulled up like a face mask so that the neck area is completely covered. Specialist sun protection UPF 50+ mock neck shirts have a mock neck with ear loops to make sure the neck covering is complete. A long sleeve UPF50+ polo shirt has a collar which can be turned up to provide additional protection for the neck but will not as effective as a neck gaiter or t-shirt with the mock neck.
In the absence of a specialist sun protective neck cover, a UPF50+ broad brim sun hat can also provide excellent sun protection for the neck, particularly if the sun hat has a legionnaire covering which specifically covers your neck. We have three different UPF 50+ sun hats excellent for neck protection specifically, our UPF 50+ ultimate sun hat, our UPF 50+ outback sun hat and our UPF 50+ adventure sun hat.
Sometimes it's not always possible to cover all areas of our body, including our neck in the sun. When areas of skin are exposed its best to wear SPF 50+ sunscreen. This should be applied 20 minutes before being exposed and then be reapplied every 2 hours. Sunscreen should be considered as a last line of defence from the sun, UPF 50+ sun protection clothing is far more effective because the fabric of the clothing provides consistent UPF 50+ protection, rather than relying on a cream being applied and reapplied to the skin.
Lastly, when you choose to be outside, having an awareness of the UV levels can also really help reducing sun exposure to your neck. UV levels tend to be at their highest between 11am and 3pm. We appreciate this is not possible for everyone to choose when they are outside, like the farmers in 19th century America.
This blog is for information purposes only, always consult your medical professional for expert advice.
Australian rules football coach and former player Jarryd Roughead took the time to answer our questions about his experience with skin cancer.