Save Your Skin: Common Sunscreen Myths, Debunked

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 20% of Americans will get skin cancer before age 70. Sunscreen is key to protecting your skin. If you receive just five sunburns, your risk of melanoma doubles. If you apply sunscreen correctly, you should be safe.

But common sunscreen myths can harm your skin in the long run. Have you ever heard that higher SPF lasts longer? Or have you paid more for “waterproof” sunscreen? These are some of the many sunscreen myths that experts have debunked. If you want to protect your skin, keep reading.

Higher SPF Won’t Protect You Longer

Various sunscreen bottles with an SPF of 50 or above sit on a shelf.
Antony Dickson/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Antony Dickson/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

It seems logical: a higher SPF provides more protection. In reality, SPF 100 is hardly different from SPF 50. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF 30 stops 97% of UV rays, SPF 50 halts 98%, and SPF 100 blocks 99%.

The FDA claims that SPF numbers above 50 are “inherently misleading” because they only make a 1% difference. If that 1% means a lot to you, spend more money on that sunscreen. But remember that you only need SPF 30 to protect your skin.