How to Know if Sunscreen Has Expired
Sunscreen can be the difference between warm memories and the burning regret of sunburn. But after hanging around in a cabinet for a year or two, you might be suspicious as to whether it’s still good anymore. Check sunscreen by finding its expiration date or evaluating its smell or texture. Apply sunscreen that’s still good to prevent getting burned. If your sunscreen had to be thrown away, use alternative measures, like a parasol, a wide-brimmed hat, and shades with UV protection.
Checking Sunscreen for Expiration
Read the sunscreen label to find the expiration date.Some sunscreens indicate the expiration date somewhere on the label. Other sunscreens may have printed expiration information on the box. Generally, you can expect sunscreen to last for three years.
- The FDA requires that manufacturers include an expiration date, which indicates how long the manufacturer guarantees the SPF protection. That does not mean the sunscreen is ineffective after the expiration date. In general, they are effective for at least 3 years.
- Many brands of sunscreen include a customer service phone number you can call to learn expiration information about the product.
- If you can’t find the expiry information on the label and the box is missing or thrown away, look up the product information online with a keyword search.
Write the date you buy the sunscreen on the bottle when necessary.This can help you clearly see at a glance whether or not your sunscreen is still good. Use a permanent marker so the date doesn’t get rubbed off the bottle. Allow the marker ink to dry before handling it to prevent the date from getting smudged.
- If permanent marker doesn’t seem to work on your bottle, attach a small piece of masking tape to it. Write the date on the tape instead.
Inspect the odor of the sunscreen.Open the bottle and smell the lotion. If it lacks its usual scent, it's likely the sun-blocking chemicals have broken down and it should be thrown away. If the sunscreen smells sour, rancid, or otherwise unusual, throw it away.
Test the texture of the sunscreen.If the lotion smells normal, squirt a small amount in your hand. Rub the lotion between your hands. If you feel the lotion begin to separate or if it feels thin and watery, it’s likely no longer good and should be disposed of.
- Always throw away lotion that smells or feels unnatural. Using lotion with altered smell or texture could cause skin irritation.
Storing and Preserving Sunscreen
Refrain from storing sunscreen in your car.Extreme heat, cold, and exposure to sunlight can cause sunscreen to degrade. Because of this, you should refrain from leaving sunscreen in your car when spending time outdoors in the sun.
- When out in the sun for long periods of time, take your sunscreen along with you in a backpack or beach bag. You’ll need to apply sunscreen throughout the day to sustain its sun-blocking properties.
Avoid storing sunscreen near direct sunlight from windows.Window ledges and sills are often used as storage locations for personal care items, including sunscreen. However, even storage locations near windows will be exposed to greater amounts of heat and light, which will contribute to sunscreen expiration.
Store sunscreen in closets or cabinets away from heat.Although heat from shower steam should have only a moderate effect on sunscreen, over time this can contribute to quicker expiration. Store your sunscreen in cool, dark places, like hallways closets or cabinets.
Throw sunscreen out after three years.Even if the odor and texture of the sunscreen are normal, after three years have passed it should be thrown away. If you’re ever in doubt, throw away the old bottle and buy a new one, if possible, or make use of sunscreen alternatives.
Using Sunscreen Alternatives
Avoid going into the sun between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm.The sun is at its peak during this time. Alternatives to sunscreen cannot protect you as well as an appropriate SPF 30 sunscreen, so don't go outside during peak sunshine.
- If you choose to go without sunscreen, you should limit your overall sun exposure, as well.
Block the sun with a parasol.A parasol is a usually stylish summertime umbrella used to block the sun. Large beach umbrellas, which are available at many general retailers and home centers, are a great option for providing portable shade to a group.
- If you don’t have a parasol or a beach umbrella on hand, use a non-transparent rain umbrella as a substitute in a pinch.
Wear wide-brimmed hats.Your face and head are more sensitive to sunlight than most other parts of your body. Wide-brimmed hats also provide shade to your neck while shielding your eyes from the direct rays of the sun.
- To provide the best coverage for your head, choose a hat that has a brim that circles the entire hat and is at least 3 in (7.6 cm) wide.
Slip on sunglasses with UV protection.Too much sunlight can cause damage to your eyes. In severe cases, this can result in permanent vision loss, cataracts, or eye cancer. Sunglasses with UV protection should be clearly indicated by a label or sticker.
Stick to the shade at midday.The sun’s rays are most potent at the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky. Take a break from the sun and have a picnic lunch in the shade of some trees or under a pavilion.
Put on long sleeved shirts and pants.Clothing will provide you the best protection from the harmful effects of excess sun exposure. Some clothing is specially designed to block sunlight.
- In most cases, dark colors, like black, block sunlight better than light colors, like white. Loosely woven fabrics won’t protect you as well as fabric that is close-knit.
Video: 2 On Your Side: Expired Sunscreen
The real money is in leasing — if you have something to offer
3 Ways My Family Uses Exercise to Manage ADHD Symptoms
Meghan Markles Newest Outfit Will Give You Some Serious Déjà Vu
7 Things That Raise Risks of Blood Clots and DVT
The Best Manicures From London Fashion Week, Plus How to Get Them atHome
Happy Birthday, Rihanna Her 9 Best Beauty Looks
Misty Copeland Ties the Knot With Her Boyfriend of 10 Years
Getting To The Root Of AdultAcne
How to Make a Healthy Cake
The Surprising Costs of Institutional Care for MS
A Cancer Patient Was Beaten to Death Outside of a Hotel, and Nobody Knows Why
Quick Easy Dinner Shopping List
Do Hot Flashes Lead to Heart Attacks
Warehouse AW14: See The New Collection
Britney Spears issued restraining order