This is how to tell if your sun cream has expired

first_imgSun cream, as we know, is an essential when we are in the sun. But can we trust it to be as effective at protecting our skin as the day we bought it? Does sun cream expire?We asked Dr Mervyn Patterson from Woodford Medical to answer our sun cream questions. First of all, he reminded us of the basics…Firstly, does sun cream expire?‘Most sunscreens do expire and because of this a lot should come with an expiry date stamped on the box,’ explained Dr Patterson. ‘It is very important not to ignore this as the chemicals do degrade and may well lose their protective effect.’But what if you’ve thrown away the box – and with it – the expiration date? As a rule of thumb Dr Patterson says most sun tan lotions will last for ‘at least a year of use’.How to tell if it’s gone off…The warning signs to look for are smell and texture. If your sun protection has expired the formula will have ‘started to separate’.‘If it’s looking different in terms of texture or smell from when you first bought it, then things may not be well with the product. In this case, it’s best to simply discard.’What happens if you use expired sun cream by accident?It’s more likely you’ll burn and the formula itself could trigger a reaction from your skin. ‘If a sunscreen product has deteriorated, then in theory there is a risk of chemical alteration of the ingredients.’This means there is a greater likelihood of ‘contact reactions’ with the skin which means it could be irritating. There will also be a ‘fall in sun protection’, hence the burning.What causes it to expire? These are the triggers to avoid…Most sun creams have been designed to withstand a lot. ‘However if sunscreen containers are left in direct sunlight even the most stable of formulations can degrade,’ Dr Patterson continues.‘Storage is important. Leaving your sunscreen baking in the sun, whether it’s on the beach, or in the back window of your car, may trigger degradation of the formula, and that renders the product useless.’ Store it somewhere shaded, preferably cool and dry.So, now we know what to do (and what not to do) to give our SPF the longest life possible. Just remember that, if in doubt, throw away the old stuff and pick up a new bottle – it’s worth protecting your skin no matter what.Sourcelast_img read more

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