How do I avoid sweating so much under my hats?
August 22, 2010 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Doctors advise me to avoid much sunlight, but I'm bald. I need some protection, and sunscreen is such a bother. I have hats, but in my Florida humidity, I sweat bucketloads up there. Was there a trick before hats became unpopular? Cowboys didn't have to mop their brows every 5 minutes, right?
posted by cmiller to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bandanna under the hat, I believe.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:12 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Is sunscreen really a bother? What if it's basically chapstick for your head?
posted by phunniemee at 9:17 AM on August 22, 2010

This sunscreen is made by bald dudes who cater to other bald dudes. Might be worth a try, as opposed to traditional greasy, oily sunscreens.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2010

I've always hated wearing hats (because my head is a heat exhaust and I end up with sweaty hair in minutes) until I found this hat. Stylewise, it's a little on the outback side for me but I love it anyway because I can wear it all day and never get a sweaty head. Various makers have similar hats, search for "mesh safari hat."
posted by jamaro at 9:21 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Baby powder in the hat can help. Just a sprinkle will keep things cool - just make sure to do a quick brush-off whenever you take off the hat.
posted by pecanpies at 9:28 AM on August 22, 2010

You might try a Kangol Tropic Ventqor. It's a soft nylon mesh like jamaro's hat and it's hell's stylish. Kangol has an entire Tropic line made with that material.
posted by chrchr at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2010

Go to a sportswear store and get a wicking (runner's) hat.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:48 AM on August 22, 2010

If you can swing the price, I recommend a Tilley hat. Why? Because I have the same problem (though, in my case, partly my fault for wearing a dark brown hat in summer).

I bought their standard Airflo hat which has a band of mesh around the crown. This coupled with the light weight really helps keep me from sweating while in the sun. If that isn't airy enough for you, they have a full mesh hat like jamaro's example.

But beyond their various styles, one big reason to like Tilley hats is their great guarantee. Yeah, they're pricey, but their quality is top-rate and their customer service doubly so.
posted by Fortran at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I feel your pain on this. Tilley hat or mesh is good - but they're a tiny bit too old looking for me yet. Powder or alcohol based sunscreens work well for my head - I know Coppertone and Clinique have them in the US, although my trusty SP50 transparent alcohol one came from South Africa.

If your doctors want you to shade your head not screen it, then a bandana under a wide brim might be your only way.
posted by cromagnon at 10:29 AM on August 22, 2010

Seconding the bandana under the hat. I wear one under my helmet - also in the scorching Florida heat & humidity - and it does a fairly good job of keeping sweat out of my eyes. Secondary bonus: your hat/helmet doesn't get as stinky.
posted by squorch at 10:47 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tilley hat ftw
posted by crocomancer at 11:22 AM on August 22, 2010

I have a Tilley hat and I absolutely love it.
posted by jockc at 11:35 AM on August 22, 2010

Mr Corpse, who shaves his head, wears a hat like this when he runs (and sweats). It wouldn't work at the office, of course, but for around town...
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2010

The Bandoo Bucket Hat has water-retaining polymer crystals sewn into the inside brim and works really well. The crystals get very cool and stay plumped up for a couple of days. It's also pretty fun to watch! I use ice-cold water for maximum effect. It's convenient, too, because you can just fold it up if you need to take it off for a while. It also provides 50+ UPF sun protection.

(I'm a girl, so the small size is a little big, but it fits fine when the crystals are expanded.)
posted by Room 641-A at 2:44 PM on August 22, 2010

WARNING for the mesh hats: you can (and probably will!) get a lovely speckled mesh-pattern sunburn on your scalp. I've always found I needed to put sunscreen on as well, which rather defeats the purpose for you....
posted by coriolisdave at 3:38 PM on August 22, 2010

I've never tried this myself, but apparently a wet handkerchief underneath a loose, high-crowned hat (e.g., a campaign hat or panama hat, not a baseball cap) works wonders. The hat provides shade to reduce radiative heating, and the handkerchief evaporatively cools the air space directly over your head. Note that you should soak the handkerchief and then wring the excess out, or you'll have water trickling down your face.

This is similar to dunking a conical straw hat in water or sleeping under a soaked sheet, so I believe it works.
posted by d. z. wang at 4:51 PM on August 22, 2010

The pith helmet has been used in the tropics for at least 150 years. (I believe Stanley wore one when he uttered his famous "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?") It's a good hat because it reflects sunlight (if you buy a white one), the hat material (pith, cork, or a modern equivalent) is an insulator, and the helmet is suspended above the head by a head band and webbing, thus providing air circulation between head and helmet to evaporate sweat and cool the head. Of course, there's nothing to prevent you from adding a wet handkerchief as well.
posted by exphysicist345 at 10:45 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

"the handkerchief evaporatively cools the air space directly over your head."

Evaporative cooling only works in low humidity areas, not Florida. That is why swamp coolers, while cheaper than air conditioners, are only found in certain parts of the US. as I once had to explain to a guy who was in the process of defeating the air conditioning conspiracy by buying from the internet
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:07 AM on August 23, 2010

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