11 Ways You're Using Sunscreen Wrong

    No, you can't just spray and go.

    So maybe you heard that sunscreen is basically useless and lying to us all.

    Those headlines came after a recent Consumer Reports study tested more than 60 sunscreens labeled SPF 30 or higher and found that 43% failed to live up to their label. So does that mean we should all just give up and not even bother?

    Of course not. BuzzFeed Health talked to several dermatologists who were skeptical of the Consumer Reports results, including sun exposure researcher Brian Diffey, PhD, emeritus professor of photobiology at Newcastle University.

    "Measuring the SPF of a product is incredibly variable," he told BuzzFeed Health. And there are several factors that influence that variability, including the lab you're testing in, how the sunscreen is applied, the training and expertise of the researchers, and so on. When a product is tested before it hits stores, the SPF is tested multiple times at multiple labs. According to Diffey, there's no reason to think that this one study is more reliable than all of the testing a product undergoes before it's put on the market.

    But, okay, if you're not using sunscreen properly, it won't do a whole lot of good.

    1. That SPF number probably doesn't mean what you think it means.

    2. You're not getting the SPF on the label if you don't use enough sunscreen.

    3. Using a higher SPF doesn't mean you can stay out longer without reapplying.

    4. You shouldn't use the same sunscreen in Miami that you would use in New York.

    5. If you're just spraying on your sunscreen, you're doing it wrong.

    6. Yes, there is a difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100.

    7. You can rack up skin damage even without a sunburn.

    8. You should always reapply after swimming — regardless of how "water-resistant" your sunscreen claims to be.

    9. Yes, people of color need to use sunscreen, too.

    10. Sunscreen won't give you a vitamin D deficiency.

    11. Sunscreen isn't the only way to prevent skin cancer.