Skincare expert warns against expired sunscreen dangers

Skincare expert warns against expired sunscreen dangers
Expert tips for applying sunscreen
Fox - 26 Houston / VideoElephant

Skincare experts have urged Brits to check their sunscreen expiry date to avoid little-known dangers.

With around 56 per cent of people having experienced sunburn during the last UK heatwave, Brits have been urged to ditch expired SPF products to ensure full protection of the skin.

"When buying SPF, look for products that print expiry dates in full view so you can make full use of their lifespan," skincare expert and founder of Tropic Skincare Susie Ma, said.

Despite not being a legal requirement, the brand opted to include a best-before date on all of their products to make things simpler for their customers.

Sunscreens often contain an hourglass or jar symbol on the back, which shows how long the product lasts before expiration.

The hourglass symbol indicates that the product must be used within 30 months of manufacturing, whether it has been opened or not. The jar symbol (shown as a wide makeup jar with the lid coming off) indicates how long the product can be open before it expires.

What are the dangers of expired sun cream?

If your sunscreen has expired then it is likely that it will not give you the same level of SPF protection that is advertised on the bottle.

This can lead to a higher chance of uncomfortable sunburn, and in the long run, expired sun cream can lead to higher chances of skin cancer due to lowered protection, according to Tropic.

In some circumstances, expired sun cream can even cause allergic reactions. Like with many skincare products, letting your sun cream expire can result in redness and irritation on the skin as its ingredients are no longer stable.

Ma added: "Using expired sunscreen can cause both irritation and an increased risk of sunburn to your skin. So keeping an eye on your product's expiration dates is incredibly important."

How to spot expired sun cream


Ma shared four invaluable tips to ensure products are safe to use:

Check the markings on the back: The best way to make sure your sun cream is not expired is to check the jar and hourglass symbol on the back label of your product. These will give you a guide on how long before the ingredients will start to decompose. As this relies on you remembering when you first opened a product, we make it even easier by printing a use-by date instead.

Check its consistency: If you find that the consistency of your sun cream has changed, particularly if it has separated or gone lumpy, then it’s probably time for a replacement!

Smell it: Expired sun cream will often change in smell, especially if it is made from active ingredients. Checking for new or weird smells can give you a good idea of where your sunscreen is in its lifespan.

Look for products with clear expiration dates: if your sunscreen is made with active, organic ingredients then you need to ensure that the expiration date is clearly marked on the main packaging and not just the box (which will often end up in the bin after its first use). This way you can easily see how long before its protection starts to reduce.

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