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The risks are real
With summer fast approaching, the need to reach out after sunscreen is becoming increasingly important. Whether it’s the best face sunscreens or your favorite SPF moisturizer, one thing you need to be careful about is the shelf life of the sunscreen.
At the back of the bathroom cabinet is likely to be the sunscreen you bought last year for your vacation. But is it safe to use this sunscreen?
Does the sunscreen run out?
“All skin care products have an expiration date, and SPF is no exception,” says Kimberley Hulme, head of the clinic. Look back.
A survey by Face the Future found that 83% of us disregarded the expiration date for beauty products. It’s not suitable for skin care, but using sunscreen can be dangerous.
How long does the sunscreen last?
According to Nivea sun sunscreen lasts about 30 months. However, this is from the point of manufacture to the end of use, not from when you purchase it. Hulme says “sunscreen is usually only valid for three months after opening.” However, most bottles of sunscreen will have a small cup symbol with a number followed by M. This shows how many months it will last after opening.
Of course, if stored in a cool, dark place when not in use.
How do you know if your sunscreen has stopped?
You can usually find out if your SPF has expired by looking at the consistency. “An outdated SPF will have a much more watery consistency,” explains Hulme. “So if you’ve noticed that the sunscreen is getting more liquid, it’s time to buy a new one.
An expired sunscreen will also smell bad, so be sure to breathe.
What happens if you use an expired SPF?
In principle, all expired products are less effective over time because the ingredients in the formula decompose and oxidize. This means that you will simply not benefit from using skin care products – they will not help your skin at all, but using SPF is really risky.
“Continuing to use expired sunscreen can seriously damage your skin,” says Hulme. “Especially when you’re actively using certain ingredients in your skin care routine, such as retinol, which makes your skin more sensitive to sunburn. In the long run, the continued use of outdated sunscreen can increase the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you replace the SPF if it has expired or you notice a change in the texture or odor of the product.
Be sure to see your doctor if you think you have used an outdated sunscreen and notice changes in your skin, such as changes in existing moles. If in doubt, read our guide on how to check for moles.
When it comes to sun care, it is very important to follow the instructions and not forget about any sun care myth.
“Interestingly, our storage habits for skin care products can also affect the shelf life of a product. I always recommend storing skin care products away from the eyes and in a cool, dark place in the house, as changes in temperature and exposure to light can destabilize the ingredients, which means your SPF will last for less than three months. If you hold the new SPF properly, it should be visible throughout the spring.