Does Sunscreen expire? How to tell if it's out of date and the best way to apply it.

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Article posted on: Independent.co.uk (https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/does-sunscreen-expire-go-out-of-date-work-how-store-apply-sun-cream-guide-a8307016.html)

By: Sarah Young


With the mercury finally starting to rise here in the UK, many of us will be planning to bare our shoulders or, if we’re lucky, head on a last-minute getaway to sunnier climes.

And so, the packing checklist commences. 

Sunglasses? Check. Swimsuit? Check. Sun cream? The half-full bottle at the back of your bathroom cabinet will do, right? Wrong.

While many of us are guilty of keeping last year’s stash it turns out that it’s not necessarily still safe to use, but what else are we getting wrong when it comes to sun protection?

Here, we take a look at everything you need to know about sun cream to keep yourself protected in the midday heat.

Does sun cream expire?

Just like any other beauty product, Dr Mervyn Patterson from Woodford Medical told Cosmopolitan that most sun creams do expire and, because of this, they should come with an expiry date.

However, if the date was stamped on the outer packaging then, as a rule of thumb, most lotions will last for around 12 months. 

How to tell if it’s out of date?

If you can’t remember exactly when you purchased the sun cream there are luckily some other ways to tell if it’s still in date.

Here, you should examine the formula to see if there has been a change in texture or smell. If it looks or smells different from when you first bought it then chances are it should be discarded.

What happens if you use expired sun cream?

If you have used a formula that is out of date then it is likely to be ineffective and, as a result, could lead to sunburn.

Similarly, there’s a greater risk that the product react with your skin and cause irritation.

How should you store it?

The longevity of a sun cream depends largely on how it is stored so if you want to get the most out of yours make sure it’s stored somewhere shaded, cool and dry.

You should avoid any contact with direct sunlight as this can change the formula of the product.

How often should you apply sun cream?

According to the NHS, sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears 30 minutes before you go out in the sun.

In this case, adults should apply two teaspoons of sunscreen. However, two tablespoons are required if you’re covering the entire body while wearing a swimsuit.

This is because applying it too thinly can cause a reduction in the amount of protection it gives.

It’s also important to reapply liberally and frequently after you’ve been in water, towel drying or sweating.

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