When Does Sunscreen Expire?

As the weather is getting warmer and our quarantining restrictions are slowly getting lifted, we’ll all hopefully be able to get outdoors more soon.  That means more beach days, picnics in the park, and hiking in the mountains.  With the warmer temperatures and the sun shining brighter, that also means that you need to start applying sunscreen again!  I’ve been doing some spring cleaning at home and I have found about five bottles of sunscreen from ones that are almost full to ones that are almost empty.  I’m fairly sure one of the bottles was one I bought in Italy about four years ago.  So that got me thinking, do I need to throw all of these out?  When does sunscreen actually expire?  And if it’s past the expiry date, does that mean it’s useless in protecting me against the sun?   

3 Years is the Golden Rule

Most sunscreen bottles come marked with an expiration date, but sometimes after purchasing, it wears off.  According to the FDA, sunscreen is usually still effective up to three years after you purchased it.  I would recommend putting a label on it or marking the date on it with a permanent marker.  I absolutely hate to throw something out if it’s still good, and having the date on yours ensures you don’t throw it out too early.

Use More Sunscreen

According to some dermatologists, most people don’t actually wear enough sunscreen in the summer and that’s why they are stuck at the end of the summer season with leftover.  Each time you put on sunscreen, you should be using approximately 1 ounce all over your body.  Then of course, after two hours, you should be reapplying another ounce.

Store Your Sunscreen Properly

When you are out on the beach or by the pool, try to store your sunscreen in a shaded, cooler place.  If you have a cooler, that is the best place.  When your sunscreen bottle is exposed to the sun for a few hours, it can actually alter the chemicals in your sunscreen which can make them less effective.