That last summer beach trip sounded like a great idea until you and your entire family are fried by the sun. You made sure everyone applied their sunscreen every few hours but that didn’t stop those harmful UV rays.
It may not have been the best idea to save money by using the same bottle of sunscreen that you did last year. Does sunscreen expire? The answer is yes.
Not every brand has an expiration date printed on the bottle but they do all expire. Some factors make them expire faster than intended. Check out this guide to learn everything there is to know about sunscreen.
Sunscreen Expiration Date
Yes, that bottle of baby sunscreen that you have sitting in your bathroom cabinet can expire. Just like that two-year-old bottle of dressing in your fridge, toss out the sunscreen if it’s exceeded the expiration date printed on the bottle
What if the sunscreen doesn’t have a date printed on the bottle? Think about how many years ago you opened it. The FDA requires sunscreen to last for at least three years before it can’t be used anymore.
Using the three-year mark isn’t the only way to tell if your product is expired though. Sometimes it can go bad a year after opening. That’s why you also have to use your instincts.
How Can You Tell It’s Expired?
If there is no expiration date printed on your bottle of sunscreen and you don’t remember when you bought it, don’t worry. There are other ways to tell if it needs to be tossed in the garbage.
The Consistency and Smell Has Changed
Sunscreen should have the same consistency as any other lotion you put on. If it’s become gross and clumpy, that’s not a good sign.
If you squeeze some of the lotion in your hand and it’s not the same white color it once was, you should toss it out. If your nose wrinkles when you take a whiff, there are multiple reasons why you wouldn’t want to put it on your body. The main one being that it’s probably expired.
The Expiration Label Has Worn Off
If you’re not sure how old your sunscreen is, take a look at the label. If the picture on the front has faded and you can no longer read the expiration date, it’s better to throw it away and buy a new bottle.
For one, a faded picture means that it’s pretty old. For two, if you don’t know the expiration date, you shouldn’t take the gamble.
You Opened it a Year Ago
Again, the FDA requires sunscreen to last for at least three years. That doesn’t mean that it will last that long.
Certain environmental factors can make a bottle expire faster than three years. If it shows any of the signs that we’ve listed above, throw it away. It doesn’t matter if it’s past its expiration date or not.
What Makes It Expire Faster?
The main thing that makes sunscreen expire faster than normal is heat. If it’s left in your hot car for a few days, don’t take it out and use it.
If you let it sit in direct sunlight while you were enjoying the ocean waves last year, it’s probably not good anymore.
Reasons to Not Wear Expired Sunscreen
There are two reasons why you shouldn’t wear expired sunscreen. The first one is that it won’t protect you. The chemical composition of the lotion has changed which means the SPF rating has changed as well.
The second reason is that expired sunscreen is horrible for your skin. If it has a funny odor this means that bacteria are present.
Even if it can achieve the same SPF rating, you shouldn’t wear it. You have no idea what the change in the chemical composition will do to your skin.
Using Your Sunscreen Properly
So, the expiration date checked out, the lotion didn’t smell funky, and the consistency was fine but you were still burned. If this is the case, you may not have been wearing it properly.
Put on Enough
Every time you apply sunscreen it needs to be about a shot glass worth. To tell the truth, you shouldn’t have enough sunscreen to bring home after a long day at the beach.
This is especially true if you’re using a 6 oz bottle to protect your entire family.
Reapply it Often
Put on a fresh coat of sunscreen every two hours. We understand if you lose track of time while you’re having fun on the beach.
That’s why you should set an alarm on your phone. Just, don’t take your phone into the ocean with you.
Don’t Rely on Sunscreen Alone
There are times when sunscreen isn’t enough. Even you apply it the right way, you could still get burned.
You can invest in a large sunhat to protect your face. If you must layout on the beach, do so under an umbrella. You can also buy UV resistant clothing.
Does Sunscreen Expire? The Truth About Sunscreen
Does sunscreen expire? It can if it’s left out in the heat too long or has gone past its expiration date. At that point, if you put it on you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to the sun’s harsh UV rays.
Always open the bottle and check the consistency and smell of the lotion before you trust it to protect your skin.
Wearing sunscreen isn’t the only thing that will protect your skin from the sun. Check out the health section of our blog daily for more articles like this one.