5 ways to better protect your skin this summer

Noelle Ike, CNN Underscored
Thu July 26, 2018

Story highlights

  • From premature aging to health problems, the sun can take a real toll on your skin
  • Luckily it's not so hard to protect yourself, and we have some tips on how to do so.

While we're always down for a beach day or a walk in the park during the summer, we're also aware that too much sun can severely damage our skin. The World Health Organization reports that up to 90% of visible changes attributed to aging may be caused by sun exposure. WHO also reports that broader health can be negatively impacted by excessive time in the sun. Without protection, the risk for serious conditions like skin cancer and cataracts can go up. So it's important to understand the best ways to take precautions -- and to remember that it's pretty easy to do. We've laid out some important but simple steps you can take to incorporate sun-safe practices into your everyday summer routine.

1. Wear accessories and clothing that double as sun protection

While we're all in favor of short shorts and tank tops for summer, there are simple steps you can take to incorporate sun protection into your wardrobe. A wide-brimmed hat like this Floppy Straw Hat ($25; nordstrom.com) will protect sensitive areas that are prone to skin cancer, like your neck and your ears. Sunglasses are another must-have to protect your eyes from the sun's UV rays. When purchasing sunglasses, make sure they block out 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB radiation. A great and inexpensive option is these Metal Tip Round Sunglasses ($14, nordstrom.com). Lastly, opt for clothing with coverage -- there are plenty of lightweight options like this La Blanca Tunic ($75, nordstrom.com) and this Stone Row Maxi Dress ($98; nordstrom.com) that will protect your skin without weighing you down.

2. Refine your everyday regimen -- opt for products that protect against UV exposure

There's a ton of products that you can switch out in your makeup or skin care routine that will give your skin a boost when it comes to protection against the sun. I always opt for a base like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer ($45; sephora.com) and lip balm like the AcaiFusion Lip Balm ($9.50, sephora.com) with SPF 30. It's the easiest way to make sure you never forget sun protection. Some other great products that offer protection include Coola Setting Spray ($36, sephora.com) and Tarte Mineral Powder ($28, sephora.com).

3. Load up on the sunscreen

We all know we should be wearing sunscreen. But it's important to remember that to best protect your skin, it's not enough to just use it -- you have to be using it the right way. A daily moisturizer with a high sun protection factor like Glossier's Invisible Shield ($25; glossier.com) -- read our review here -- is a great way to ensure you're protecting your skin on a daily basis. Because even if it's a cloudier day, UV rays have no trouble damaging your skin. For when you're spending time outside in the sun, opt for sunscreen with a higher SPF, like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk ($26.99; amazon.com) -- and you can read our review on that here. If you're going to be swimming, make sure to use water-resistant sunscreen and reapply often; most formulas wash off in around 40 minutes. The Neutrogena Beach Defense Body Spray Sunscreen ($8.97, amazon.com) is one of Amazon's most highly rated options.

4. Drink lots of water

Spending time in the sun can cause you to become dehydrated, which will inevitably take a toll on your skin and your health. Drinking a lot of water is one of the best ways to avoid dry, damaged skin and is just an overall best practice during the summer months. I opt for insulated metal water bottles, since they keep water cold for hours. The Simple Modern Wave Water Bottle ($14.99; amazon.com) is a reliable and relatively inexpensive option, and it comes in lots of different colors and patterns.

5. Limit hot showers and stay moisturized

Hot showers are another way you may unknowingly be drying out your skin. When you've spent ample time outdoors, make sure to take shorter showers and avoid hot water. A post-shower tip is to exfoliate with a product like Argan Sugar Balm Body Scrub ($38, sephora.com), which will help get rid of any dry or dead skin. Just make sure you follow it with a good lotion or oil to lock in hydration. Two options are the Sugar Lemon Body Lotion from Fresh ($23, sephora.com) or the Creme de Corps Body Oil from Kiehl's ($17.50; sephora.com).

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.