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Is Your Sunscreen Causing You More Harm Than Good? Here’s How You Can Tell If It Is Safe to Use With Tips From Dermatologists

The sunny season is finally here!

Deposit Photos | Woman enjoying a serene sunny day at the beach

And, as such, once Mr. Sunshine swings into full action, you’ll most likely turn towards your trusted companion for the summers: sunscreen.

Want to know what the issue is in this scenario? Most of us don’t use SPF generously during the colder months- despite the fact that we should- which means the tube of sunscreen you’re reaching for has presumably been sitting atop your dressing table since summer ended the previous year.

The question now arises, is your sunscreen still safe to use? It depends. We’ve asked dermatologists to interpret the expiration dates on your tube of SPF. Read on to discover whether or not last year’s sunscreen is still safe to use.

Can sunscreen expire?

Much the same as the things you keep in your medicine cabinet, even sunscreen has an expiration date. So, as much as you might want it to last, your year-old sunscreen must be doing you more harm than good. If you’re one of those people who believe that the “best-by” label on your products is merely a suggestion, you need to step back, re-evaluate your life, and take our word when we say that that is simply not the case.

Deposit Photos  |  Be sure to check the expiration date before applying sunscreen

A board-affirmed dermatologist in Chicago at Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, Lauren Fine, M.D, says that sunscreen does, without a doubt, expire, and it is rare for any container of sunscreen to not have an expiration date printed on it.

She adds that expired sunscreen loses its ability to work and might make you more prone to getting sunburns. The worse thing, though, is that along with those sunburns, you might be making yourself more prone to skin cancer, which is basically the most common type. So, to take away, the rule of thumb should be to simply throw away any sunscreen that has crossed its expiration date.

How can you tell if your sunscreen has expired

Here’s the issue: while it is rare for sunscreens not to have an expiration date printed on the container, there still are some that don’t. However, the Food and Drug Administration requires all products to be effective until three years after its production.

So, in the event that you purchase sunscreen and don’t see an expiration date printed on its container, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you write the date of purchase on the container yourself so that you know when it’s time to throw it out.

One more thing you need to be aware of is that if you bring your sunscreen with you to the beach, and it is exposed to the direct UV light and heat, it is bound to go bad before its expiration date.

To ensure your sunscreen is still useful, watch out for any irregularities in its formula like a change in look, smell, or feel- in which case, you should throw it out immediately.

Deposit Photos  |  Being exposed to excessive sunlight can cause your sunscreen to go bad quicker

Just remember- be generous with the amount of sunscreen you apply because otherwise, it won’t be effective. And, if your sunscreen has changed with regards to its smell, feel, or look, be sure to chuck it out the window and get yourself a brand new bottle. Your skin will bless you.

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