Each year more Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases among American adults has tripled since the 1970s.

With these rising numbers, experts say it’s extremely important to wear sunscreen any time you go outside, but not everyone heeds the warning.

Here are three myths about sunscreen that could be putting you in danger:

1. Sunscreen is not needed on cloudy days

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through the clouds. “Many people think they don’t have to wear sunscreen if this sun isn’t out, but that isn’t the case,” says Dr. Abby Van Voorhees, Professor and Chair of EVMS Dermatology. “If you’re going to be outside, it’s best to be cautious and apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of skin.”

2. Applying sunscreen once before swimming is all you need

Pay close attention to the label on your sunscreen. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required companies to print exactly how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming. Only two times are permitted: 40 minutes or 80 minutes. After that, the FDA recommends reapplying.

3. Sunscreen accumulates over time on your body

Some people avoid using sunscreen due to their concern that it could be more dangerous than the sun. “Research shows this opinion isn’t correct,” says Dr. Van Voorhees. “Sunscreen doesn’t accumulate on the body and it’s a much bigger danger to put yourself at risk for skin cancer by avoiding it.”

Learn more about skin cancer risk by visiting EVMS Dermatology online or making an appointment by calling 757.446.5629.