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Top 6 Reasons to Use Sunscreen

By now you’ve probably seen that the Birchbox editors are über vigilant about sun protection. Since you’ve been following along closely, we’re sure that you’re now wearing SPF everyday, right?

All joking aside, we know that despite the best of intentions, sometimes we’re all a little guilty of skimping on the sunscreen—especially if we don’t know how much formula to use or how often to reapply. (Hint: you need more for your entire body than you’d think).

We quizzed our Birchbox staffers to test their sunscreen IQs, and realized that we could all use a quick refresher; thus the handy tips in the video above!  I know I’ll be applying it more liberally and more often. Since I worry about clogged pores, I always look for an oil-free formula made especially for the face. I love using COOLA Classic SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer for Face because it’s super lightweight and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. Now go have some fun in the sun (but remember that sunscreen!)

—Katrina

Looking for more sunscreen tips? Read 9 Sun Protection Tips You Need to Know Now from Jill Scalisi, the founder of Scalisi skincare.

9 Sun Protection Tips You Need to Know Right Now

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(Photo: © Bettmann/CORBIS)

We love al fresco summer fun as much as the next girl (it’s so nice to get some Vitamin D!). But as much as we love frolicking outside, we also know it’s important to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays.

For the latest information, we turned to one of the best-informed skincare experts around: Jill Scalisi, founder of Scalisi Skincare. In 2008, Jill learned that a dry patch of itchy skin on her chest—which she initially thought was a form of eczema caused by a severe sunburn—was actually melanoma. After surgery and laser treatments, she survived her battle with skin cancer, but through her journey realized that there was a need for antiaging skincare products with protective SPF. And thus she started her eponymous line.

Here are Jill’s top tips for staying protected, plus some must-know facts about skin cancer and UV damage:

  1. I apply sunscreen every day after the shower and before I get dressed—this makes sure I haven’t missed a spot and it won’t get on my clothes. I make sure to put it on any area that will be exposed to the sun.
  2. Reapplication is always tough, so I keep a minibottle of SPF 30 in my makeup bag. Instead of touching up during the day, I use a towelette to wash my face and reapply my SPF 30 moisturizer and makeup. I also reapply it to areas that are exposed to the sun.
  3. I love the beach, but will always make sure sit under an umbrella.
  4. When I go swimming, I wear an SPF 30 rash shirt and a hat to protect my scalp.
  5. If I need to be at my children’s soccer or lacrosse tournaments for a couple of hours, I’ll bring a beach umbrella to sit under, too.
  6. When you’re looking at moles on your skin, watch out for the ABCDE’s of skin cancer: Asymmetrical moles; Borders on the mole that are uneven; Color—if there are suddenly multiple colors in one mole; Diameter—if it’s larger than 1/4-inch; Evolving—any change to the shape or color.
  7. You should do monthly self checks on your skin, and also schedule an annual checkup with a dermatologist.
  8. Did you know that 90% of wrinkles come from the sun? Since UVA rays go through glass (car windows, etc.), even if you’re not outside for extended periods of time, you should be using SPF 30 daily—this helps prevent wrinkles in the long run.
  9. Always look for sunscreens that use the words broad spectrum. This means the formula protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

If you’re a big believer in sun protection but hate sloppy formulas, here are 5 nongoopy alternatives.

How I Learned to Love (and Protect!) My Sunburn-Prone Complexion

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Like most women, I’ve spent maybe a few too many hours obsessing over my skin—from a microscopic broken capillary to a misplaced freckle, even the tiniest flaw seems worthy of my criticism. But the one characteristic that irked me the most? My alabaster skin tone

During my awkward teen years, I lived in sunny and tropical Venezuela. Thanks to an endless supply of pink sand beaches and 365 days of perfect weather, tanning is practically a Venezuelan national pastime. While that might sound lovely, bikini season all-day, everyday is pretty much a 13-year-old girl’s worst nightmare. 

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Packing List: Heading to Guatemala with Pencils of Promise!

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Earlier this year, we gave you an update on the Pencils of Promise school that we built in Pasebeyena, Guatemala. The three-classroom school has been open since December 13th, and this weekend Katia, Hayley, and I are getting the (amazing) opportunity to visit it. The phenomenal PoP team has put together a jam-packed itinerary for us, including community visits, cultural activities (Lema weaving classes!), and of course plenty of time with the school staff and students. (We’ll also be zip-lining—eek!)

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The Birchbox school in Pasebeyena, Guatemala, right after completion!

We’ve already been studying our pre-departure packets, which has handy information on the local currency and slang, and grabbing SPF samples off Birchbox staffers’ desks. In addition to snacks and bathing suits, here are some of the items the three of us will be packing:

Yes To Grapefruit Brightening Facial TowelettesSingle-use wipes are to travel what sprinkles are to ice cream—that is, non-negotiable. We’re fans of Yes To’s oil-free wipes for their citrusy scent and gentle, but satisfying exfoliating effect.

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An Unstoppable Fan Favorite: Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle

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From cropped Amélie-style bangs to Mad Men-inspired red, my hair is always a work in progress. But as a result of my locks’ chameleon-like nature, I’m constantly battling split ends, tricky knots, and dryness. Thankfully, I’ve got a top-notch product in my corner that tackles it all: Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle.

Developed by a seasoned stylist, this paraben- and sulfate-free detangler seals in moisture, safeguards color, and adds major shine. Plus, the lightweight mist also provides protection against UV rays and heat.

Like most beauty editors, when I discover a product I love, I like to think it’s my little secret. But it turns out that I’m not the only one who’s fallen for Beauty Protector’s charms.

Since launching exclusively in the Birchbox Shop, beauty bloggers, YouTube gurus, and subscribers have been buzzing about the heavenly scented elixir’s hair-transforming powers. Take a look at these rave reviews from our customers:

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Skin Cancer 101: Melanoma Screening Tips from ZocDoc’s Dr. Arthur Colsky


There are only a few weeks of bona fide summer left, but just because beach days are coming to an end, that doesn’t mean you should be any less vigilant about your sun protection. Now is the time to keep an eye out for early warning signs of skin cancer like melanoma—which is why we enlisted ZocDoc dermatologist Dr. Arthur Colsky to tell us his best tips for monitoring and preventing a sun damage skin disaster. 

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Get the Scoop Behind the FDA’s New SPF Regulations

Every summer, the prospect of choosing a sunscreen inspires the same set of questions: How high should I go SPF-wise? Which ingredients are safe? What does “broad spectrum” really mean? This year, we have a little help from the experts themselves: the FDA just released a new set of SPF regulations designed to help consumers choose wisely. The agency has been monitoring sunscreen labels since 1978, but this marks the first time they’ve stepped in to overhaul the way the industry labels its products. Although the changes technically went into effect this past Monday, don’t expect to see them kick in immediately—in order to prevent a sunscreen shortage, the FDA is allowing stores to continue selling existing bottles of SPF. Large companies will have a year to update their labels, while smaller companies will have two years. 

Click through for a brief rundown of the new guidelines:

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