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How To Tell If Your Sunscreen Has Expired

May 15, 2020

With temperatures rising and summer right around the corner, you may start noticing drugstores stocking up their shelves with SPF products. However, sunscreen should not only come into play when it’s warmer out, it should be used year-round to protect your skin from the sun. And if you’ve been using the same tube of sunscreen for quite some time, you may be wondering if it expires. Not sure how to tell? We can help with that. So before slathering your face and body in last summer’s SPF, read on to learn more about how to tell when your sunscreen has expired.  

Does Sunscreen Expire?

Simply put, yes. Sunscreen is a drug—a substance intended for the diagnosis, cure, or prevention of disease. And just as your prescriptions come with expiration dates, your SPF typically should too. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that all sunscreens are required to remain at their original strength for at least three years (if no expiration date is included), meaning you can use it one year to the next. 

The best way to find out if your sunscreen is expired is by checking for an expiration date. If there’s no date, the Mayo Clinic recommends writing the date of purchase on the bottle so that you know to throw it out after three years have passed. And if you’re thinking about using expired sunscreen—thing again. Sun safety isn’t something you want to play around with and the FDA recommends discarding expired sunscreens since there is no guarantee they will remain safe and effective. 

If you’re currently finding yourself in need of a new sunscreen, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Rosy Tone Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen. This ultra-hydrating cream is infused with imperial peony extract and LHA to instantly revive the skin’s rosy tone while protecting it from the sun’s rays with SPF 30. Massage a generous amount of product into the skin at least 15 minutes before heading outside to allow the ingredients to absorb into the skin. 

How Long Does Sunscreen Last?

The Mayo Clinic states that if you’re applying sunscreen generously and frequently (as you should be), a bottle likely won’t last too long. A liberal application of sunscreen should generally be about one ounce to cover each exposed area of your body. In addition, many sunscreens require application every two hours and you should be applying sunscreen again after swimming and sweating, so you may not have to worry about your sunscreen expiring after all! You should be using up bottles of SPF throughout the year—and not using the same one for years on end. 

Add the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 to your skin care lineup. This product works as an anti-aging moisturizer formulated with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to help soften and soothe skin while offering a layer of sun protection through SPF 30.

Tips To Ensure Your Sunscreen Works

While following an expiration date is important, the Mayo Clinic also offers tips you should keep in mind to ensure your SPF is in good condition.

Tip #1. Shield It From The Sun 

Don’t expose your sunscreen bottle to excessive heat and direct sunlight. Place it in the shade or wrap it in a cool towel when out and about. This will help prevent ingredients in the formula from breaking down. 

Tip #2. Pay Attention To The Formula

If you notice any apparent changes in the color or consistency of your sunscreen, throw it out. This is a significant red flag that shows something has changed within the formula. If you smell a funky odor or see that it has a more watery consistency—get rid of it.  The same rule also applies to different formulas and types of sunscreens, like mineral and chemical-based. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a mineral-based sunscreen has expired if you notice grittiness or feel little pebbles in the formula. With chemical-based sunscreens, you may notice separation within the formula due to the active ingredients going bad. Avoid these things so you can avoid the burn and ensure a summer filled with fun and UV protection. 

Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

Next: 4 Must-Have Anti-Aging Creams and Moisturizers

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