I’m an outdoor girlie through and through. Truly, some of my favorite activities are all outside. I love to hike, to surf, to walk my dog, to swim…just to name a few. Plus, I’m convinced we’re just human versions of house plants, needing fresh air, sunlight, and water. Which means I spend time outside every. single. day.
Going outside is incredibly healing for our physical and mental wellbeing. Don’t believe me? Check out my post on how to spend more time outside, to find out more on that. Or, better yet, visit my retreat center in Nicaragua to understand the beauty of living within nature.
How To Spend Time Outside And Protect Yourself From The Sun
Now, as much as I love being outside, I’m also- how do I say this? Vain. Yes, I care about how I look. That’s the straight up truth of it. And, I’m guessing that just about everyone in the world can relate to that to varying degrees.
Because I care about how I look, and because I’m a 35-year-old who wants to age gracefully, while also taking precautions and doing treatments to try to slow the process- I know that spending a lot of time outside can be really harsh on your skin. Sun damage is real, and it can cause sun spot, hyperpigmentation, deepen wrinkles, break down collagen, and- most importantly- can even cause cancer.
This is why we need to have a good balance of spending time outside, while also knowing how to properly protect ourselves from the sun. Whether you’re protecting yourself from the sun for beauty purposes, or for health purposes like avoiding skin cancer- this post has got you covered. This blog will cover the importance of protecting ourselves from the sun, how to get sunlight in moderation, and also share some of my favorite sun protection products I use daily.
Why is it important to protect ourselves from the sun?
Look, I get it, I love having a golden tan as much as the next person. And, I love the feeling of sunlight on my skin. It’s like a hug from nature. And, it can also wreak havoc on our skin and overall health when not done in moderation.
The leading reason to protect yourself from the sun is for safety purposes. Melanoma can be deadly, although it’s also quite easy to treat when caught early enough. Even if you don’t give a crap about the beauty side of sun protection, caring about your health when it comes to a fatal cancer like melanoma is a must.
Extended exposure to the sun can cause sunspots on any part of your body. We focus a lot on the face with most beauty treatments, but the truth is that sunspots can occur anywhere. They’re also quite common on the chest and hands, which is why full protection is suggested.
If you’ve had hyperpigmentation, then you know that it can be a real beyatch to get rid of- if you’re able to get rid of it at all. Check out my post on how I healed my skin to get a better understanding of what I did when my hyperpigmentation was at an all time high.
Extended sun exposure can speed up aging in the skin by breaking down collagen faster than someone who wasn’t baking in the sun. The breakdown of collagen leads to wrinkles, as we lose elasticity in the skin. It can also create a more crepey look to the skin, rather than that plump dewy goodness we’re striving for when collagen is high.
For more practical purposes, it’s also important to protect yourself from the sun because sunstroke is very real. And, it can make you feel really bad. Trust me, I’ve had it. I’m talking, like puking, passing out, and having a raging headache for two days after. No one wants to feel that way, right? Cover up!
How To Get Sunlight In Moderation
Like I said at the very beginning of this post, I’m an outdoor girlie! While my body has changed from golden tan to ghosty white in the last two years, I still spend just as much time outside as ever. I didn’t change my life in order to have less wrinkles, because- let’s face it- that’s not really a life worth living (in my opinion, at least).
Plus, I want you to spend more time outside! We already spend more than enough time in the comfort of our houses, offices, and gyms. We need more outdoor time to reconnect to our true nature. The trick is balancing time outside with proper sun protection so that we don’t have to sacrifice our mental health and well being to hide from the sun like a freaking vampire.
Morning light is a godsend. Truly. Don’t believe me, I challenge you to drink your morning drink outside this week. Or, at the minimum, in front of a window where you have access to that natural morning light.
Morning light is nice and soft, not too harsh, and also tells your eyes what time of day it is. In telling your eyes what time of day it is, a chemical and hormonal reaction kicks off in your body called your circadian rhythm. This will help your body regulate your digestion, mood, energy, and so much more.
Do an activity outside in the morning like a hot girl walk, or a dog walk, or a morning surf, or mountain hike. Truly, there’s no better start to the day.
Evening light is just as delicious as morning light, while having a more soothing feel to it. The colors of evening light (think sunset) are a bit deeper and robust than morning light. Morning light is golden, or even bright. While sunset hour is rich with reds and burnt oranges.
The sunlight in the middle of the day is going to be the most damaging, which isn’t surprising considering it’s the strongest. The hours in the middle of the day would be the time to avoid being outside, which also happens to line up perfectly with life just life-ing, because chances are you’ll be working during those peak sun hours anyways.
Try to get some evening sun time by catching sunset with your friends, or even getting a drink at a place with an epic view. It doesn’t have to be active, it can be a more passive activity if you’ve already spent your energy reserves for the day, but just know that this would be a great time to get some softer sunlight in your day.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I go out for an early morning surf, and by the time I get out the sun is glaring. Or, I go for a morning walk, and end up staying out way longer than I planned because the dog needed more activity, or I got caught up on a work call, or a podcast. Needless to say, morning activities can quickly turn from soft morning light, into harsh mid-morning, or even midday light very quickly.
This is why it’s important to cover up! I personally always wear a long sleeve shirt now when I’m outside, like one that covers my full chest and even my hands. You’ll also always find me in a hat or a big visor, large sunnies (KAYLA20 saves you 20% on Raen sunglasses), and of course slathered in sunscreen.
The best part about covering up, is that it actually keeps me cooler, which makes my energy and stamina last longer for those longer treks or surfs.
My Favorite Sun Protection Products
I share my favorite sun protection products all the time on my IG stories, but I figured why not streamline them here so they’re easy for you to find. These are affiliate links which means that not only do you get a discount (yay!), but I also receive a commission each time one of you buys from my link.
So, thank you in advance! I also have to say that I wouldn’t share a damn thing if it wasn’t something I didn’t genuinely use every single day. Which means I’m pretty dang confident you’re going to love this stuff too.
My new favorite outdoor gear is Free Fly Apparel. My wife was actually the one who turned me onto them, convincing me to order a few shirts to try out. I also ordered a few cheaper shirts from Amazon, and I have to say that after using both for two months now- the cheap ones are nasty. They stink, they fade, and the material doesn’t come close to that of Free Fly.
Free Fly is all eco-friendly, bamboo, and sooooooo soft. Plus, it does a damn good job of keeping the sun off. And, it’s really comfy to sweat, move, and get dirty. My favorites are the long sleeve shirts, because they have the thumb holes, which means no sunspots on the hands 🙂
If you follow me on IG, then you usually see me with a hat on my head. Whether it’s a Still Salty merch hat, or a big ass visor- I’m pretty much always covered up in some regard. I even keep a visor or hat in my car, so I can have one no matter what.
My favorite visor is the Eric Javits collection, because of the UV protection and wide range. Plus, the visors are super comfy, chic, and sturdy. They aren’t cheap, though. Which is why Poshmark might be your friend here. Check out my post of how to score on Poshmark when you’re shopping secondhand.
I never thought I’d be a skincare girlie, but now here I am with a dedicated skincare section on my Amazon storefront. If we’re talking SPF, then EltaMD remains my favorite . I like the tinted version, but the non-tinted version is just as good.
When it comes to general skincare needs, I love Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C serum, as well as high light mask. I’m also a huge fan of Sente, and use their cleanser, as well as their Daily Dermal Repair moisturizer. Whatever you decide to do with your skincare situation, just make sure you’re consistent day and night. This makes the biggest difference.
There you have it, my friends. You’re ready to get outside, and stay protected. Say goodbye to wrinkles and sunspots, and hello to a happy heart spending more time outside.