Protecting our skin from the harmful effects of the sun is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Sunscreen is a crucial tool in our sun protection arsenal, shielding us from the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, like many other products, sunscreens do have a shelf life. If you're looking to find out how long a bottle of sunscreen is good for, hang tight. We're talking all about sunscreen expiration dates and the factors that affect its longevity.
Does Sunscreen Have an Expiration Date?
Yes, sunscreen does have an expiration date. Most sunscreens come with an expiration date printed on the packaging or bottle. This date indicates the period within which the product is guaranteed to be effective and stable when stored properly. It is important to note that the expiration date refers to the unopened product. Once the sunscreen is opened, it can deteriorate more quickly due to exposure to air, light, and contaminants. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), sunscreens are required to remain shelf-stable for at least three years regardless of being opened or not.
If a sunscreen product does not have an expiry date, it is safe to assume that it will be effective for three years from the date of purchase. So, it's a good idea to write the purchase date on the bottle in permanent marker so you don't forget.
Now that we've got that out of the way, there's something we need to talk about. Why your sunscreen is expired in the first place! Unless there is an usual circumstance, a bottle of sunscreen doesn't last long. You should be using about a shot glass amount for your entire body. For the face, use the nickel rule or the two to three finger lengths rule. Additionally, sunscreen should be reapplied to exposed areas every two hours as recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen setting sprays like ZINC IT OVER, make it easy to reapply SPF over makeup or without. There are also products such as sunscreen sticks, powders, and creams that are made for reapplication purposes!
Signs Your Sunscreen Has Expired
There are different ways to determine if your sunscreen has expired. By examining various factors, you can assess its effectiveness and decide whether it's time to chuck it. Here are some key indicators to consider:
Expiration Date: Check the expiration date printed on the sunscreen packaging.
Color Changes: Examine the color of the sunscreen. If you notice any significant changes, such as a darker or discolored appearance, it may indicate that the product has expired or degraded.
Smell: Take a sniff of the sunscreen. If it has developed an unusual or rancid odor, it is likely past its prime and should not be used.
Texture Changes: If you notice any significant changes in consistency or texture, it's a sign that the product has degraded and is no longer reliable.
Opened and Unopened Sunscreen Facts
Once a sunscreen bottle is opened, it becomes exposed to air, light, heat, and potential contaminants. This can potentially accelerate the degradation process. Also, it is important to remember that expired sunscreen that hasn't been opened is still expired. That means, the effectiveness of the formula is likely significantly reduced or completely gone. While it is always recommended to use sunscreen within its expiration date, some doctors suggest that using slightly expired sunscreen is better than not using any sun protection at all. Although the efficacy of expired sunscreen may be diminished, it can still provide some level of sun protection if you're in a pinch. However, this also comes with the risk of not only sunburn, but skin irritation as well.
Best Way to Store Your Sunscreen
To properly store your sunscreen, keep it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat. Make sure to tightly seal the container after each use to prevent air and moisture from entering. Avoid exposing sunscreen to freezing temperatures as well. Regularly check for any changes in color, smell, or texture, and replace sunscreen that has expired or shows signs of deterioration. By following these simple storage tips, you can ensure that your sunscreen remains effective and provides the necessary protection for your skin.
Speaking of skin, you may be wondering how long sunscreen lasts once you apply it, read on!
How Long Does Sunscreen Last on Skin?
Sunscreen typically lasts on the skin for about two hours, although this duration can vary. It's dependent on factors such as sweat, water exposure, and friction from activities like towel-drying. Reapplication is vital because regardless of SPF level, sunscreen gradually breaks down and becomes less effective over time. By reapplying sunscreen at least every two hours, you ensure that your skin remains adequately protected throughout the day, especially during prolonged sun exposure or outdoor activities. Moreover, it helps maintain the sunscreen's intended SPF level, defending against harmful UV rays.
That was a lot, we know, but not to worry! ZINC IT OVER, makes reapplication fun, easy, and convenient. Packed with yummy skin-healthy ingredients, you can nourish your skin while protecting against sun damage...even over makeup!