Summer is made for awesome laid-back, long, weekends and cookouts. You leave work at your desk, emails on your phone, and anything else in the back of your mind and head out with friends and family. However, something that’s easy to forget, that you shouldn’t, is to protect that skin of yours. There are a few steps you can take to make sure you are as protected from the sun as possible:

Sunglasses

Not only do sunglasses look good, they protect your eyes. The skin around your eyes is thin, delicate and sensitive – your sunglasses help to protect that. Check out a few shades to fit your budget here. Throwing on a hat when it’s sunny helps protect your eyes, face and scalp. Toss one in your bag too!

Sunscreen

Did you know that it’s recommended to wear sunscreen every day? The skin on your face is typically the most exposed to sun, rain, water and all of the elements that cause wrinkles and damage. So here’s what you should do: grab a face lotion that has SPF in it and put it on every morning, not only will it prevent you from getting wrinkles, it will prevent you from getting sun damage too. When you’re out at ball games or kayaking in the summer, double up your efforts – grab a small tube of 30+ SPF and put it on before you head out the door. Aside from the common knowledge (apply after you get out of the water, use SPF 15 and above, wait 30 minutes after you eat) be sure to apply to those areas that get direct exposure like the top of your feet and your scalp. They are easy to forget, but once they get burnt that will no longer be the case.

Foods

While putting on SPF and wearing protective gear is the best way to protect your face from the sun, there are some foods that will help fight sun damage as well. Sunflower seeds are packed with vitamin E which helps fight the good fight against sun damage. Also, green tea contains a high concentration of catechins which fight off free radicals from the sun. But the most important is water! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and your skin will thank you.

Lip Balm

We often forget that our lips are skin, and need protection just like the rest of our bodies. If you aren't comfortable putting sunscreen or zinc on your lips, using a lip balm with spf will do the trick. Aside from the obvious risks from too much sun on your lips, chapped, cracked lips aren't what you want to compliment your new tan, so keep those smackers safe.

Plan

Summer might require a little extra planning when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. Limiting sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is the best way to avoid the sun's harshest rays. When this isn't possible, just remember to be as safe as you can, and don't be afraid to cover up if you start to feel a little extra crispy. You'll tank me later.