We've all heard the spiel before: always wear sunscreen, don't use tanning beds, etcetera. But it's true! One of the best things you can do for your body is take care of your skin. With risks like premature aging and skin cancer, it's important to protect your body's biggest organ, especially in the summer when you are outdoors and exposed to the elements.

This is even more imperative when you have tattoos. Tattoos will naturally fade over time, but sun exposure and lax skincare can accelerate fading. As the owner of two tattoos, I want to protect my lifelong investment. Here are the best ways to keep your tattoos looking bold and bright.

1. Keep it covered

The best way to limit sun exposure is to wear clothing that covers your tattooed skin. This isn't an issue for tattoos on the torso and back, but arms and legs may be more tricky. Breathable leggings and loose shirts are good options when it's hot outside.

2. Moisturize me

beer, coffee, tea
Dene Dryden

The key to keeping your skin soft and supple is to moisturize regularly. With new, healing tattoos, a very gentle and unscented lotion is the way to go; I like Natural Body Care's Unscented Hemp Seed lotion and Johnson & Johnson baby lotion. For healed pieces, any lotion or body cream will do the trick.

3. Stay hydrated

water cup, glass, ice, iced water, beer, water
Jocelyn Hsu

Drinking lots of fluids—water in particular—is important for everyone during a hot summer, regardless of their body art status. Along with all its general health benefits, water keeps your skin clear and moisturized from the inside out. Combined with using lotion, your tattoos will look more vibrant.

4. Get familiar with SPF

cream, yogurt, milk
Dene Dryden

To keep your skin safe from UV rays, put on sunscreen before you go out into the sun for an extended amount of time. Virtually any kind will work, so choose what works best for you. I prefer sheer sunscreens with a high sun protection factor, but if you're going to be sweating or around water, a sport formula may be best.

5. Sunless tanning only

Obviously, since protecting your skin from the sun is key to keep your tattoos looking nice, tanning by the lake or hopping in a tanning bed won't do you any good. If you want to get your tan on this summer, opt for a sun-free option like tinted moisturizers or spray tanning.

6. Eat foods that fight UV damage

pepper, carrot, tomato, vegetable
Christin Urso

Yes, this is actually a thing. Certain foods like bell peppers, tomatoes, and carrots contain vitamins and organic compounds that help rebuild damaged skin and keep it healthier overall. Also, water-heavy foods like watermelon can help keep your skin (and your body) hydrated.

7. Let your tattoos heal properly

beer, sake, wine, alcohol, tea, coffee
Shannon Carney

If you're sporting new ink, be mindful of all the aftercare that needs to be done. This includes not submerging your ink for two to three weeks after you get it. The skin is still healing, so exposing it to chemicals and irritants in the water can lead to infection. Skipping the hot tub or a dip in the pool for now may be the best choice for your tattoo in the long run.

Ultimately, how you choose to care for your body and whatever's on it is your decision. Whether you're poolside or road tripping, these tips will help you protect your tattoos while you enjoy summer vacation.