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09th May 2019

The important reason why you should never use sunscreen past its expiration date

Good to know.

Denise Curtin

Do you ever check the best before date on your suncream?

Yeah, we never really think of it either.

Due to the fact we only get sun a handful of times a year, suncream is never something we regularly buy. It is something we just keep stored in the cupboard until the weather actually picks up – then we pop it out and lash it on, trouble is, that suncream you are putting on is not only not protecting you anymore if its out-of-date but, it is also harmful for your skin.

Refinery 29 sat down with Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face who had this to say:

“Expired sunscreen may no longer protect you from UV rays, and it may also be less water-resistant than what it says on the label.

“Over time, ingredients can break down and cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Expired sunscreens can also start to grow mold or bacteria, leading to skin infections.”

Yuck. And if you can’t find the date on the bottle or it has faded off, Dr Wu said to pay close attention to the contents themselves looking at the colour and texture of the cream. She said:

“Mineral sunscreens that have been sitting in your bathroom for a long time can separate. If a runny liquid is dispersed from what was at one time a creamy formulation, then zinc oxide or titanium dioxide particles have likely sunken to the bottom of the tube — and it should be tossed. Meanwhile, chemical sunscreens that have gone bad are more likely to change color and turn yellow, or smell odd.”

Our advice, if in doubt chuck it out and get yourself a new bottle, suncream can vary in price but you can pick up a decent bottle for less than €15 and for the health and safety of your skin, it isn’t a big price to pay.

You can check out some of our recommended suncreams here.