Sun hats where it's at


POSTED: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Designer Jeanie Chun has been known on the fashion-show circuit for her evening, bridal and mother-of-the-bride creations, but for the past few months she's been quietly working on something of an everyday nature.

Going back to her golf apparel roots, she's devised a series of hats addressing the double whammy of hot summers and an aging population starting to address, rather than accept, the dark spots that appear on cheeks and chins with prolonged sun exposure. Simply covering the top of one's head is not enough to keep the melanin at bay.

“;I noticed when I was golfing some women trying to cover their chin,”; she said.

The dilemma intrigued her and she put all her other design projects on hold, staying up all night to come up with the perfect sunny-day solution.

She had always made golf visors, but what she wanted was one that offered sun protection and enough versatility to take a woman from the green to an elegant lunch or afternoon shopping expedition. She came up with a soft visor that can be shaped several ways, with a versatile scarf attachment that can be stylishly wrapped and tied around its crown or dropped through slits at its sides to wrap around one's cheeks and chin when protection is needed. When out of the sun, the scarf can be dressed up with silk flower or jeweled accessories to match one's outfit.

Chun started with a visor because wearing a hat can be hot, and visors allow body heat to dissipate through the top of the head.

One of her first customers was Hyon Paek, who's been golfing for 25 years and has picked up Chun's hats and visors in multiple colors.

“;I was always concerned about sun,”; Paek said. “;I always wear long sleeves, long pants, but still, you're gonna get burned. I always wore a big hat, but my skin was turning brown on the side. Living in Hawaii, we definitely have to do something to protect ourselves, so Jeanie's hat is very clever.

“;I wear a lot of hats. I love Eric Javits, so there are already plenty of hats out there. Some people wear hats that make them look like they're going to the plantation to work, but (Chun's) are very stylish.”;

And practical. Keeping her globe-trotting clientele in mind, Chun also designed her hats to be as fuss-free as possible. She uses a polyester and microfiber blend fabric with a luxurious peach-skin finish that make them soft to the touch.

“;It's very easy care,”; she said. “;You can fold it to travel, and it's washable.”;

Always a fan of hats, she's happy to see a younger generation at ease with wearing hats for any occasion.

“;They're smart, learning earlier these days how to protect themselves. We started late, I think.”;

Jeanie Chun's hats are made to order and run about $95 to $249. She can be reached at 744-3247.


Walk softly and wear a big hat

Age spots are just one minor result of sun damage. Experts say that 90 to 98 percent of what we don't like about our skin is directly related to cumulative sun exposure. Other examples are enlarged pores, wrinkles, loss of firmness, sagging, and red capillaries on the nose and cheeks.

UV radiation affects numerous body functions, causing cell death, suppressing immune functions, altering cell DNA, breaking down collagen at a higher rate than with just chronologic aging, and causing skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation offers the following guidelines to help prevent the development of skin cancer and delay skin aging:

» Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

» Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.

» Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to all exposed areas 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

» Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. The three areas most overlooked for sun damage are the lips, neck and hands.

» Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies 6 months and older.

» Examine your skin from head to toe every month for suspicious moles, using the ABCD rule of asymmetry, undefined border, uneven color and changing diameter. See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.