As a beach lifeguard, I've spent a good amount of time in the sun. While I can't think of a better job than sitting on a beach all day, there are definitely some drawbacks; one of them being the toll the sun can take on your skin. After suffering from numerous sunburns after making the rookie mistake of not reapplying my lotion and breaking out from using the wrong products, I have finally got summer skin care down to an exact science. Despite the misconception that skin care routines have to be complicated, keeping your skin healthy can be quite simple with these tips.

1. Change up your skin care routine for the summer months.

Especially in a heat wave, your pores can easily become clogged. A moisturizer you typically use in the winter may be too thick for your skin in the summer. Consider switching over to a lighter, water-based moisturizer that will allow your pores to be hydrated but still keep your complexion clear. You can even keep your moisturizer, alone with other products such as toner, in the refrigerator. Cool products feel great when applied to the skin in the midst of a heat wave.

2. Always apply sunscreen before leaving the house.

Even if you are not going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, sunscreen is a must. Any amount of time in the sun can do damage; applying a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against harmful UV rays will benefit your skin in the long run. If you are worried about the sunscreen causing you to break out on your face, there are many companies (e.g. Neutrogena) that make sunscreen designed specifically for the face. These will still protect your skin, but are often oil-free and do not cause breakouts.

3. Cool off in the shade.

Obviously the sun cannot be avoided at all times; who doesn't love a nice day at the beach? But, you can help your skin by taking breaks in the shade or indoors. This will allow your body to cool down a bit and give your skin a break from the sun for awhile. This would be a good time to reapply sunscreen as well.

4. Do NOT use tanning beds.

As appealing as it may be to walk into a salon pale and walk back out bronze thirty minutes later, it can be dangerous. Tanning beds expose you to UV rays at a high power and in a small time interval. This winds up doing considerable damage to your skin and is more harmful than tanning naturally. If you have awkward tan lines you want to fix or don't like hanging in the sun, try using a self tanner. This alternative is much safer and can be quite effective.

5. Reapply your sunscreen!

I cannot stress enough how important reapplying your sunscreen is. If you are out in the sun for an extended period of time, make sure you apply every two hours to ensure that you are fully protected. If you happen to go in the water, apply every hour or after you exit the water and dry off. Sunscreen is your best friend during the summer.

6. Sunburn after care is a must.

Despite doing everything you can to prevent getting burned, it still happens sometimes. Make sure that you take care of the affected skin by doing things such as taking cool showers and applying aloe vera. A few other things that have been proven to help are applying cool milk to the area, soaking in an oatmeal bath, and applying witch hazel. These should all reduce inflammation and prevent peeling from occurring. Most importantly, protect the affected skin from the sun if you are out in it again.

7. Wash your face.

Amidst summer activities, it can be easy to forget to do simple things such as washing ones face. However, this is one of the most important things you can do. The constant application of sunscreen to your face as well as potential exposure to ocean or pool water can cause acne flare-ups. To prevent this, wash your skin every morning and night. This will remove all the product placed on the face during the day and keep your pores clean.

8. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Drinking water will keep both you and your skin hydrated. Being out in the sun all day makes it easy to become dehydrated. Do what you can to make sure you get enough water; carry around a pretty water bottle, infuse your water with fruit, or eat your water. There are plenty of fruits and veggies that contain high water content (e.g. cucumbers, celery, watermelon, strawberries). Hydration is key to maintaining healthy skin.