Does sunscreen expire?

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Does sunscreen expire?

Question

Is sunscreen from last year still good? When does sunscreen expire?

No name
No state given

Answer

Sunscreens are designed to remain stable and at original strength for up to three years. This means that you can use leftover sunscreen from one year to the next.

Some sunscreens include an expiration date, or an indication of when the sunscreen is no longer effective. Discard sunscreen that's past the expiration date, is more than three years old or has been exposed to high temperatures.

Keep in mind, however, that if you use sunscreen generously and frequently, a bottle of sunscreen shouldn't last from one year to the next. Generally, a liberal application is 1 ounce (30 milliliters) — the amount in a shot glass — to cover all exposed parts of the body. If you have a 4-ounce (118-milliliter) bottle, you'll use about one-fourth of it during one application.

To maximize protection, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply sunscreen generously 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply about every two hours — or more often if you're swimming or sweating. Be sure to rub the sunscreen in well.

Last Updated: 2011-04-02
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version