Spring and summer are coming and with these seasons comes more time outdoors. What most people don’t consider is that this additional sun exposure can lead to premature aging, burns, and more if you aren’t careful. Some sun is important, but you’ll want to think about the activities you’ll be doing outside so you can avoid getting uncomfortable burns that may leave lasting effects. These essentials will help you protect your skin whether you’re going on a cruise, heading to the mountains, or just walking around outside.

Long-Sleeved Shirts

This may seem counterintuitive, especially during the hot summer months. Shirts made of light, breathable material, however, provide the perfect protection for your skin while still keeping you cool. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt will keep the skin on your neck, shoulders, and arms more protected without putting on sunscreen. So, whether you’re spending time at the lake or pool, going for a hike in the woods, or exploring urban areas, a long-sleeved shirt can keep your skin healthier.

Avoid the Strongest Sun Hours

In North America, the times between around 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are the strongest sun hours. This means that when you spend time outdoors during that time, the sun’s rays are harsher and can lead to burning your skin more quickly. Those with fair skin or on medications should avoid direct exposure during these hours. If you plan to be outside midday, there are plenty of ways to keep your skin protected.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a great accessory. Women’s sunglasses protect your eyes and the thin skin around them from the sun. While you may be able to tolerate more sunshine, burning your eyelids is a whole other matter. Sunglasses will protect the skin around your eyes and using them can also help slow the signs of aging around your eyes. Sunlight is important for vitamin D production, but some parts of your skin aren’t able to handle the rays as well as others.

Get a Wide-Brimmed Hat

People on certain medications are much more sensitive to the sun. This means they are more at risk of burning and getting sun damage. A wide-brimmed hat is a perfect accessory that not only looks good, but also protects your face, neck, and ears from harsh sun rays. If you prefer not to wear sunscreen on your face, or you forget to put it on, a hat can go a long way to providing the extra barrier you need. It will filter the sun without totally blocking it. It helps you get the benefits without the potential risks.

Use Toxin-Free Sunscreen

According to the Environmental Working Group, most regular sunscreens contain ingredients that are toxic and harmful for health. These ingredients can be disguised in fragrances and preservatives that make sunscreen more shelf-stable, but increasingly harmful for human health. The biggest distinctions in sunscreens are whether they provide chemical protection from too much sun, or if they provide barrier protection using something like zinc oxide.

Non-nano particle zinc is the best option, but it will leave a white film on you when you’re enjoying some fun in the sun. Another important consideration to protect your skin is to use sunscreens with less ingredients to ensure you aren’t being bombarded with chemicals that can cause cancer, infertility, and other hormone dysfunction while sunbathing at the beach.

Drink Water

Hydrated skin isn’t as easily damaged. When you’re heading outside in the heat, even if you’re not sweating too much, drink more water and you’ll better withstand the sun and recover more quickly. Water also helps your skin retain its tone and ultimately helps it look and feel more healthy in and out of the sun.

Get More Collagen in Your Diet

Collagen is trending right now because people are waking up to its incredible benefits. While many people simply want to look younger and have softer skin, others are looking for ways to improve skin health from the inside out. Eating collagen in meat or taking a supplement can give your skin what it needs to recover from being out in the sun more quickly and with less cellular damage. Take it alongside a quality vitamin C supplement for maximum absorption and to remove free radicals from your body that continue to damage your skin.