How Long Does Sunscreen Last?
It is officially sunblock season, and your skin will definitely need protection. With the hot weather and sunny skies comes potential burns and an increased chance of sun damage, and if you’re one to spend the majority of your summer outdoors, it is beyond essential to keep a bottle of sunscreen within arms reach.
If you’ve just rustled a bottle of SPF from last year’s beach bag, you’re probably wondering if the product is still usable for the next three months. For sunscreen facts and storage tips, look no further. We’ve compiled all the information you need to stay safe and sunburn-free until fall.
What Ingredients Are in Sunscreen?
There are two different types of sunscreen: chemical and physical. While they are both effective at protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays, they do have some key differences.
- Chemical sunscreen contains ingredients such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, and avobenzone. These ingredients absorb UV rays and turn them into heat.
- Physical sunscreens are generally a thicker, whiter consistency, and contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These formulas reflect UV rays as a means of sun protection.
Our SPF products are physical sunscreens backed by the power of zinc oxide and other natural ingredients. Our two sunscreens, the Daily Defense Face Moisturizer and the Element Defense Moisturizer both have a broad spectrum SPF level ranging from 20-45, making them the best mineral sunscreen for men of varying skin types and concerns.
We carefully formulated each of these products with the following soothing and hydrating ingredients so you can show off your healthiest skin yet:
- Aloe Vera – Keeps your skin moisturized and alleviates irritation
- Zinc Oxide - Helps repair tissues, fights inflammation, and protects against harsh UV rays
- Vitamin E - An emollient and antioxidant that shields against free radicals and softens the skin
- Green Tea - A great anti-aging component full of antioxidants
- Sunflower Oil - Helps strengthen skin and doesn’t clog pores
Does Sunscreen Expire?
The general shelf life of sunscreen is around three years. However, physical sunscreens tend to hold up better over time as opposed to chemical sunscreens.
Though expired sunscreen isn’t necessarily toxic, that doesn’t mean you should avoid replacing it once the three-year mark comes around. After sunblock expires, its UV protection becomes far less effective. The last thing you want is to feel confident in your SPF application, only to spend the day using a product that isn’t doing much good for you. Your best option is to keep your sunscreen stored in a proper climate and to replace it every couple of years just to be safe.
How to Tell When Sunscreen Has Expired
There are a few telltale signs of sunscreen gone sour. First is the expiration date, of course. Avoid using any sunscreen past the three-year mark (but if it is all you have handy, using the product is a little better than just going without).
Another sign is the consistency and the smell. If the color has changed, or if the texture is super runny, you’re better off tossing it.
One helpful tip is to look on the back of the bottle where the ingredients and directions are. In one of the bottom corners, there should be a symbol that says something like “12M” (for 12 months) or “24M” (for 24 months). That is the shelf life of your product. Since every product can be different, use this for an extra reference just to be sure.
Tips for Proper Sunscreen Storage
Keep your sunscreen covered when at the beach.
Piping hot sunlight will render your sunblock ineffective. Cover your bottle with a towel or keep it in a shady area.
Do not store sunscreen in the bathroom.
Steamy showers are not the best for sunscreen storage. Fluctuating temperatures and humidity can create mold, which is the last thing you’d want near your face or body.
Avoid keeping sunscreen next to windows or in a hot car.
Again, heat is your sunscreen’s worst enemy. Keeping it in direct sunlight or packed in a stuffy vehicle can reduce its effectiveness. Opt for storing it in a cool drawer in your home.
With adequate sunscreen storage tactics and routine application, you’ll be sure to have a safe summer full of lengthy hikes and never-ending beach trips. Never forget, sunblock is supposed to be used all year round, not just in the summer months.
Keep your skin free from damage and premature signs of aging by covering it in a layer of SPF each day before you leave home - even if the sky is looking a bit cloudy. This will not only give you healthier skin, but the daily habit will make regular sunscreen use feel less like a burden when the sunnier days come around.