How to determine the effectiveness of sunscreens
The effectiveness of sunscreens are determined by it's age and where you stored it during the winter.
It’s finally summer and you've got the cooler's stocked, your favorite swimsuit still fits (phew)and you grabbed the suntan lotion from last summer and threw it in your beach bag.
You’re ready and heading out the door: STOP!!!
Ask yourself this question first: How old is my sunscreen?
If you don't know the answer - throw it away and buy a new bottle.
We often have several bottles of sunscreen laying around our house, car or boat and have no clue how old they are and if they're still any good.
It's a very common question – Does sunscreens expire?
YES – Just like any medication, the effectiveness of sunscreens will deteriorate over time.
Here are a few tips to make sure your sunscreen is still effective:
1. Look for an Expiration date.
- If you can’t find one – TOSS IT - a new one should cost less than $20
2. Sunscreens have a shelf life of 2-3 years from the date of manufacture.
- The FDA requires sunscreens to remain at their original strength for at least three years.
- However, the manufacture date and the date you bought it are two different things. Sometime sunscreen sits on the drug store shelf for 6 months to a year.
- I suggest buying sunscreen at the beginning of each season when the store shelves have just been re-stocked with new merchandise.
- Use a permanent marker to note your own “use by” date.
3. Sunscreen should be stored at a temperature of about 77º F.
- When stored at high temperature – the effectiveness of sunscreen decreases and become less stable and
- Replace your sunscreen if you kept it in your car, boat, garage, golf bag, or beach bag last year. It probably got very hot and has degraded.
- Keep your sunscreen in your cooler when you go to the beach, lake or any outdoor activity – It feels cool and refreshing when you re-apply.
4. Don’t buy sunscreen “on sale” at the end of the season. It’s a waste of money.
- Do not buy sunscreen in bulk unless you and your family go through a couple of bottles of sunscreen a season. That is the only time it’s a good deal – sorry, Costco and Sam’s Club shoppers.
The effectiveness of sunscreen is important – old and uncared for sunscreen can easily turn into glorified moisturizers with no sun protection at all.
Bottom line: To be on the safe side, buy new sunscreen every year.
Sunscreen should not be your only strategy for skin protection. Even with sunscreen, exposure from intense rays can still be
Use sun protective clothing for added protection.
LOVE the sun....Hate the burn.
Return from the effectiveness of sunscreens to facts about sunscreen:
Or sunscreen brands and sunscreen ratings:
Or learn all about the different types of sunscreens:
SPF - The sun protection factor rating system - Explained:
Tips on how to apply sunscreen.
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