This is Why SPF 100 Sunscreen Isn’t Worth It (and What to Buy Instead)

Wear. Sunscreen.

This sound advice is the one thing Australian director Baz Luhrmann may be better known for than his Leonardo DiCaprio-inclusive interpretation of of “Romeo and Juliet” …nevermind the fact it was actually penned by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich.

Alas, fame may be a fickle beast — but ultraviolet radiation isn’t.

And now that summer is finally here, many of us are beginning to bare our winter-pale skin to the sun’s powerful rays.

We won’t even acknowledge the possibility that you’re not wearing sunscreen; who doesn’t take a classic ‘90s earworm to heart?

But still, your wise dedication to sun protection will require some decision-making, and the sunscreen aisle will be stocked full of SPFs ranging from 15 to 100, with price tags ranging right along with them.

Is it worth it to buy upgraded, super-high-SPF sunscreen? Does it actually offer that much more protection?

Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Is SPF 100 Worth It? What Does SPF Even Mean?

The quick answer to the SPF-100 question is “no.”

What’s more, no sunscreen on the market offers total skin protection. But to see why, let’s dig into what that sunscreen label actually means.

SPF stands for “sun protection factor,” which “refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays,” according to WebMD. These rays — the UVBs — are the ones that cause sunburns, but their UVA cousins can also hurt you. In fact, although both types contribute to the risk of skin cancer, UVA rays are “more closely linked to deeper skin damage.”

Fortunately, you can buy sunscreen that protects you from both kinds of radiation; it’ll say “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” on the label.

But let’s go back to SPF itself for a moment, which refers only to UVB protection, even if your sunscreen offers both kinds. What does that number mean in the first place?

Although it seems as if SPF should align neatly with protection factor — (an SPF 30 sunscreen should offer double the protection than one labeled SPF 15, right?) — that’s apparently not the way it works. At all.

In fact, SPF 45 blocks only 1% more UV rays than SPF 30, which in turn only offers 3% more protection than bottom-of-the-barrel SPF 15. In other words, spending the extra cash on high-SPF sunscreen is a total waste of money.

Repeat: High-SPF sunscreen is not worth it.

Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

So, Which Sunscreen Should You Buy to Get the Best Deal?

Even one glance at the sunscreen end-caps popping up at Walmart and Target will tell you there’s more to this decision than SPF.

From facial lotions promising to ward off breakouts to sporty, spray-on versions that allegedly render their wearers sand-resistant beach ninjas, there are all sorts of sun protection options out there — and they come at every price point on the spectrum. (No pun intended.)

As with any other personal care product decision, your mileage may vary; maybe you decide the clear-face lotion is worth the upgrade.

But the one attribute you definitely want to look for — and pay extra for, if it comes to it — is full-spectrum protection. Water resistance is a pretty good feature, too. Whether you’re planning to swim or not, that hot sun can make you sweat, as well as burn.

As far as SPF, a fairly low figure will do it. Florida dermatologist James M. Spencer, M.D., recommends SPF 30 to his patients… with the caveat that they apply early (half an hour before you hit the beach), liberally and often.

“You just can’t put it on in the morning and forget about it,” he told WebMD. “I don’t care if it’s SPF 800,” he says: “after a few hours, it’s gone.”

That’s especially true if you’re getting wet, active, or both while you’re enjoying your day in the sunshine. Even water-resistant sunscreens should be re-applied every two hours.

If your skin and summer schedule are anything like mine, you’re probably going to be purchasing several bottles. Good thing we’ve already covered some easy sunscreen savings tips to keep both your skin and savings account safe from the sun.

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a Russian-Scottish Floridian whose skin is essentially fluorescent. She buys a lot of sunscreen.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

5 Summer Movie Deals for Bored Kids and Parents Longing for Labor Day

It’s that time of year again: The kids are out of school, and parents are trying to figure out how to get them out of the house, because apparently summer camp costs $11,000.

Well, frugal parents who are sick of hearing “I’m bored” 19,009 times a day can rejoice!

Movie theaters around the country are offering free and discounted kids movies all summer long.

5 Theaters With Sweet Summer Movie Ticket Deals

Here are five theater chains offering movie ticket deals this summer. Remember, individual theater schedules vary, so check the website of the location nearest you for the latest details.

$1 Movies at Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express

You can see a different movie every Tuesday and Wednesday through Aug. 15 at participating Regal Cinemas on the Summer Movie Express. All movies are $1 and typically start at 10 a.m. Check the Regal website for details.

10 Films for $5 at the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse

Through Aug. 23, you can see a different PG-rated movie each week for $1 per movie or pay $5 to see all 10. Showtimes are at 10 a.m., and days vary by location at participating Cinemark Theatres.

And make sure to print the schedule for your location to get a $2-off coupon for any large popcorn or fountain drink.

Free Summer Movies at Bow Tie Cinemas

Bow Tie Cinemas is showing free movies during its Summer Kids Series. Get in on the fun at participating locations every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. from June 19 to Aug. 15.

$4 Movies and a KidsPack at AMC Theaters’ Summer Movie Camp

AMC knows kids can only sit so long without fiddling, so it’s offering a combo. Every Wednesday — excluding July 4 — at 10 a.m. through Aug. 1, your $4 ticket gets you a movie and a KidsPack, which includes a popcorn, drink and FrootiTooti fruit snacks.

The Summer Movie Camp is only at participating AMCs, so check the website before loading up the kids. And for big kids, don’t forget you can always snag $5 movies on Tuesdays with an AMC Stubs membership.

10 Films for $7 at Harkins Summer Movie Fun

For $7, you can buy a season pass to Harkins Theatres’ Summer Movie Fun series. Through Aug. 3, you can see a different movie every week at 9:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. If you don’t want to spring for the pass, single movie tickets are $2 each.

And sorry adults, there’s no admittance unless you bring a child with you. But Harkins also has a Summer Series for guests 14 and older at 10:15 a.m. every week. It’s limited to select locations and by request only, so call 480-627-7777 for more information.  

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money-saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Here’s a Big Win in the Fight Against Student Loan Forgiveness Scammers

Student loan borrowers in California may see some financial relief now that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled a complaint against a scammer.

Student Debt Relief Group, based in Los Angeles, convinced consumers to pay up to $1,000 to enroll in fake government programs, according to the FTC. Then, the company charged consumers monthly fees toward their student loans.

But the FTC claims none of those fees went toward actual student loan payments. And the government programs they were supposed to be enrolled in? Consumers could have signed up for those on their own for free.

The operation stole more than $7.3 million from consumers, the FTC says.

“To prevent customers from discovering the scam, the defendants cut consumers off from their loan servicers and the Department of Education by instructing customers to stop all communication with those entities,” the FTC alleged in a release. In many cases, borrowers’ Social Security numbers and Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID numbers were compromised.

The proposed settlement order bans Student Debt Relief Group from “engaging in any type of debt relief activities.” It has a pretty big bill to pay, too: More than $2.3 million will go back to affected consumers.

Don’t Miss This Season of Operation Game of Loans

This complaint was part of a recent FTC initiative called Operation Game of Loans. Working with 11 states and Washington, D.C., the FTC is going after illegal student loan repayment programs.

The FTC settled charges with another alleged student loan scammer in May.

Scams can be hard to spot, but the FTC has a few tips for avoiding them:

  • Never pay upfront fees.
  • Never share your FSA ID.
  • Don’t believe anyone who promises they can get your loans forgiven.

If you have federal student loans, “there’s nothing a company can do for you that you cannot do yourself for free,” the FTC warns.

Think you’ve been a victim of a scam? File a complaint with the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state’s attorney general.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Lyft and United Way Are Giving Free Rides to 2-1-1 Callers in 12 Cities

Not having access to a set of wheels is the worst — especially if you live in a transportation desert or when you don’t have the financial means to hail a ride from an app.

No one wants to cancel a doctor’s appointment or job interview due to lack of transportation.

To help solve the problem, Lyft has partnered with United Way to provide free rides to residents in need in 12 cities. Transportation seekers just need to contact 2-1-1, a free, confidential help line operated by United Way that gives referrals and information 24/7 to people needing essential services.

The free Lyft rides are now available to residents in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco.

The service is made possible through the ride-hailing company’s Lyft Relief Rides program, which provides free rides to people in crisis. Free transportation will be available on a one-time basis to get people to and from nonemergency medical appointments, veterans services, job interviews and other employment-related stops.

Mary Sellers, the U.S. president for United Way Worldwide, told The Penny Hoarder 2-1-1 would do its best to accommodate those who need transportation on repeated occasions. However, the free Lyft ride service is not designed for those who need transportation on a regular or everyday basis.

Sellers said transportation assistance is among the top unmet needs for the help line. Last year, 20% of the more than 250,000 transportation requests 2-1-1 received could not be met with existing resources.

“By partnering with Lyft, we’re better able to meet community needs by helping individuals get the services they require,” Sellers said in a news release.

Lyft recently committed $1.5 million to its Lyft Relief Rides program.

According to United Way, the partnership with Lyft may expand to additional cities if the program is successful in the 12 pilot cities.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.