When the weather is warm and sunny you’re set to spend the day having fun at the beach, a park, a hiking route, etc. You grab a bottle of sunscreen from last summer to throw in your luggage before leaving, but you quickly discover the expiration date has gone. Or perhaps the container has no mention of an expiration date at all. Is it okay to use the sunscreen? Do sunscreens expire? How long does sunscreen last? Will it still safeguard you against a painful sunburn? Or would it be better dump it and get a fresh bottle? All year long, it’s crucial to use sunscreen and adhere to other sun-smart practices, but until spring or summer, many of us don’t give it much thought. But does the partially used tube at the base of your beach bag still do a good job of shielding your skin from UV rays? Or does sunscreen lose its effectiveness over time? In this post, we will discover do sunscreens expire or not, also you will learn how to use sunscreen in the right way and some interesting facts about sunscreen.
Do sunscreens expire?
According to director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology, sunscreens have an expiration date individually and may lose some of its effectiveness beyond that. The bottle’s level of protection can only be guaranteed up until the specified expiration date. After that, the sunscreen will probably provide some measure of protection, but not as much as it did initially. Sunscreen is governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter product and is required to have an expiration date on its label or demonstrate that its shelf life is three years after the date of production. For whatever reason, if your sunscreen bottle doesn’t have an expiration date stamped on it, it should still be effective for up to three years from the date of manufacture. Beyond that, it probably won’t be as effective at blocking harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Even if your sunscreen hasn’t run out, you should check to make sure the formulation hasn’t changed noticeably since you last used it.
According to skin experts, you should throw away anything that doesn’t appear, feel, or smell the same as it did when you originally bought it. Chemical and physical sunscreens both oxidize and degrade with time, which can cause expired sunscreen to feel or appear different from new. If the consistency differs, it cannot feel the same on the skin and cause irritation or increased sensitivity. The likelihood of germs growing in the bottle can also rise if any preservatives have degraded due to the product’s expiration, which theoretically increases the risk of diseases.
Can I use expired sunscreen?
Well, it is not advised. According to Skin Cancer Committee, after expiry of sunscreen, chemicals within the sunscreen may separate, impacting the distribution of active compounds throughout the skin and overall protection from UV radiation. This indicates that it won’t achieve its claimed SPF and you won’t be protected. So you cannot get benefits of sunscreen if it has outdated. If a sunscreen has beyond its expiration date, dispose of it properly and replace it. If the sunscreen no longer has the same appearance, scent, or texture as when you first bought it, you should probably throw it out. Its chemicals may no longer be active if their consistency changes, providing you with reduced or no protection from the sun.
How long does sunscreen last?
Do sunscreens expire? All sunscreens sold in Australia are subject to regulation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and typically have a shelf life of two to three years. On the box, they must also bear a “expiry” or “use-by” date so you won’t have to keep track of when you purchased them. However, you might need to look a little more because the expiration dates aren’t always obvious. According to TGA, all sunscreens have an expiration date printed on the bottle to show how long the product will be effective. It is also necessary to identify the storage instructions because products that are out-of-date or improperly stored won’t function as well. The Cancer Council advises against leaving sunscreen in your car while you go swimming since it should be kept out of the sun and at temperatures below 30°C.
How to store sunscreen?
Regardless of the expiration date, sunscreen must be stored below 30°C and out of direct sunlight or other heat sources to be effective. You might find it useful to store sunscreen in the shade or covered in a towel when you’re outside in the sweltering summer. The ingredients will start to separate if sunscreens are exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time, for example, in the hot glove box of a car, leaving a gritty, lumpy, or watery consistency that may affect how it is applied to skin and the efficacy of its UV protection. However, it doesn’t follow that you should keep sunscreen in the refrigerator. Refrigeration may set some chemicals in the sunscreen, thickening it and making application more challenging.
Do sunscreens expire? You should ensure the right consistency of sunscreen. If you haven’t used your sunscreen in a while, even if it has been stored properly, it’s crucial to check the consistency because that could indicate whether or not it has already gone bad. It can be a sign that a sunscreen shouldn’t be used if it looks or feels different from how it did when you initially bought it.
How much sunscreen do I need?
Of course, you cannot neglect the importance of sunscreen. But using it in right way and suitable amount are a few necessary points, you must be aware of before using it on your skin. Sunscreen loses a lot of its effectiveness because many people don’t use it frequently enough. Apply seven tablespoons to ensure you’re completely covered:
- 1 teaspoon for face, neck, and ears
- 2 for the front and back of the body
- 1 for each arm
- 2 for the legs
Its effectiveness can be lowered by not applying it frequently enough (every two hours), not reapplying after swimming or exercising, and unintentionally rubbing it off on clothing, towels, and other surfaces.
Facts about sunscreen
- Broad Spectrum Sunscreens are the best sunscreen for all skin types. You can get best defense against UV radiation from the sun by using these sunscreens. As UVA rays are the most prevalent and leading cause of early skin ageing (e.g., wrinkles) while UVB Rays are considered as most harmful rays and they can result in sunburns even. Both types of sun rays in excess might result in skin cancer. Broad spectrum sunscreens aid in preventing the negative effects of both UVA and UVB rays.
- Aim for sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. The sun protection factor (SPF) of a sunscreen indicates how much UV radiation protection the product delivers. 97 percent of the sun’s rays are blocked by sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- No sunscreen is sweat- or water-resistant. Manufacturers can no longer claim that their sunscreen products are sweat- or waterproof. Every two hours, after getting out of the water, or after perspiring, the AAD advises applying sunscreen again.
- Usually, children under six months shouldn’t use sunscreen. Compared to adult skin, infant skin is more delicate. Infants under six months should be protected by staying as much as possible in the shade, wearing protective clothes, such as long sleeve shirts, slacks, and a wide-brimmed hat, and maintaining hydration.
So, the only way to guard your skin from sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is sunscreen. Experts advise to slip (on clothing), slop (on sunscreen at least 30+), slap (on hat), seek (some shade), and slide for the best protection (on some sunglasses).