Question :

Can I use an Old Sunscreen, When does sunscreen expire?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I write a column for a beach magazine in New Jersey. The weather has been great this year. With the warm spring we are having, folks here might be exposed to the sun for seven months this year instead of the usual four. Locals can probably buy last year's sunscreen in the stores for half the price it will be in June. But does sunscreen expire or lose its SPF properties in a year? Three years? Thanks, jc


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
Some of the usual ingredients used in the manufacture of sunscreens eg. zinc oxide, titanium dioxide are stable for a period up to three years. I would recommend that you discard a sunscreen that has passed its expiration date, is more than three years old or has been exposed to high temperatures.


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