Does Sunscreen Expire?

Author: Staff Writer
Answer: Sunscreen doesn't exactly expire like other products, but over time it may lose potency. Many sunscreen bottles have expiration dates, but the Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to keep sunscreen strength and viability around three years.

More Info: Despite this requirement, there is a very high possibility that last summer's bottle of sunscreen won't be as helpful to you as one from right off the shelf. No matter what the SPF level or other additives the sunscreen should be applied thoroughly even on cloudy days, so leftover sunscreen shouldn't be a problem in the first place.

If old or leftover sunscreen must be used, you should be sure to exercise caution in doing so. Any sun damage can be permanent to your skin, but experimenting with the use of older sunscreen is best on days of short sun exposure times just to minimize the chances. Opting to use older sunscreen on a day long beach trip or venture to an amusement park might end up badly for you, and not just in the realm of sunburns.

Sunscreen loses potency after the expiration date on the bottle and after the FDA preset of three years, but buying new sunscreen is the safest option for proper skin care.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"CDC - Skin Cancer Prevention."

Georgia Health Info
Does sunscreen expire?.

Department of Health and Welfare.
"Sunscreen and Skin Self Checks-Frequently Asked Questions."

purple arrowCite this Article

"Does Sunscreen Expire?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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