how long does sun cream last and does it expire?

The first hot day of the year can often come unexpectedly, so you have to reach right back into the depths of your bathroom cupboard for an unfinished bottle of your favourite sun cream, excited to open the bottle and smell your favourite scent again. But how long does sun cream last? Will the bottle at the back of your cupboard still offer you optimum sun protection?

This is a question which is frequently asked by those who love the sun, but are also aware of the dangers of wearing no sun protection. Consumers want to know that the sunscreen they have spent money on is doing the job properly.

How long does sunscreen last?

The requirement for expiration dates on sun creams vary by region. For example, in the EU, if a sun cream does not have a “best by” date, it must be stable for at least 30 months. In Australia, expiration dates are required, and most are typically three years. In all cases, manufacturers must have data to support the stability and shelf life of their product.

All Hawaiian Tropic sun protection creams have data to support that they maintain their protective level for three years. In addition, the products are labelled with a lot code to indicate when the product was made. This means that when you buy a Hawaiian Tropic product and you want to find out when it was manufactured, you can contact Hawaiian Tropic to ask, quoting the code number printed on the label on the bottle.

How long does sunscreen last unopened?

Sunscreen, like many skincare products, typically comes with an expiration date. When unopened and stored properly, sunscreen can last for about three years. The rules for expiration dates on sunscreens vary by region, but most will last for about 30-36 months when unopened and stored properly.  But don't wait around for your next holiday to open up your sunscreen! Remember, sun protection is a year-round commitment, not exclusively reserved for summer. So grab your sunscreen, check the expiry date and go and enjoy the sun's alluring rays.

Where is the expiry date on sunscreen?

Some sunscreens will have a clear expiry date stamped right on the bottle or tube. If it does not, then the region likely does not require an expiry date. Many sunscreens will also have a period after opening symbol, which looks like an open jar with a number and the letter “M”. This symbol tells you how many months the sunscreen is good for after opening. Make sure to look out for these when using either your own or someone else's sunscreen products, as an out-of-date product could be responsible for a nasty sunburn.

Do sun creams have an expiration date?

Sun creams are not legally required to have an expiration date as long as the ‘products are proven stable for at least 3 years as supported by appropriate stability data.’

All Hawaiian Tropic sun protection creams have this data generated on the side of each product to ensure they maintain their protective level for 3 years or more. This means that when you buy a Hawaiian Tropic product and you want to find out when it was manufactured, you can contact Hawaiian Tropic to ask, quoting the code number printed on the label on the bottle.

If there is no expiry date on the bottle, how can I tell if my sunscreen has expired?

If you can’t remember when you first purchased the product, then take a look at the texture of the sun cream. If the formula has started to separate or the smell has changed, it is best to discard it.

These changes can happen when a product is not stored somewhere cool and dry. Applying sunscreen which has clearly expired can cause skin irritation and will result in a decrease in sun protection, potentially allowing your skin to burn.

Is it okay to use expired sunscreen?

While it's tempting to hold on to that bottle of expired sunscreen, it's best to play it safe and bid it farewell. Using expired sunscreen may not provide the level of protection you need against those UV rays. Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreen can degrade, making it less effective against the harmful effects of the sun's UV rays. Your skin deserves the best, so it's wise to invest in a fresh bottle of sunscreen that hasn't passed its expiration date.

‘When in doubt, throw it out’

As long as the sun cream has been stored in optimum conditions in a cool, dry place, sun cream should last up to 3 years.

Often, the sun cream will have been moved from bag to bag, kept in the hot sun on the beach, or left in a baking hot car − so if this case you might want to consider discarding the leftover sun cream sooner.

Others find they need the extra luggage space when they are leaving their holiday destination (to squeeze in all those bargain holiday purchases!) so they use up their sun cream on holiday and buy a new set each year.

How often should sunscreen be reapplied?

Sunscreen should be fully reapplied every two hours. It helps to know how often you will need to reapply the sunscreen if you want to estimate how much sun cream to take with you on holiday and avoid leftover bottles.

Make sure that you treat the reapplication of sunscreen as carefully as you did when you first applied it. Sun creams that are silky and light in texture, smell good and are easily absorbed, will be a pleasure to massage in − enjoy the ritual!

Sun protection, 365 days a year

Sun protection shouldn’t just be something that you only think about on holiday. Daily use of sun protection is advisable as UVA rays cause skin damage all year round.

With frequent use, bottles of sunscreen will be finished before they expire. If you lead an active lifestyle outdoors, such as running, rowing or horse-riding, you will need to make sure that you wear a high factor sunscreen on your face, even in the winter sun.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Face Sunscreen offers daily sun protection in the place of your usual moisturiser, hydrating your skin without clogging your pores. This cream is designed to pamper as well as protect, and is so lightweight that you can wear it under your daily make-up.

If you live in a city or like to take city breaks, the Hawaiian Tropic Duo Defense Mist Spray is an indulgent sun protection mist for your face and body. This sunscreen spray refreshes your skin with green tea extract and also adds an anti-pollution barrier. The handy spray means that you can spritz it on the go, with no mess.

Bring the sunscreen at the front of your cupboard as a reminder to protect your skin, whatever the season!

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