Don’t Get Burned – Check The Expiration Date On Your Sunscreen
Before you slather on the sunscreen, check the expiration date. Yes, sunscreen can expire.
The FDA recommends that you do not use sunscreen that has passed its expiration date, or that was not purchased within the last three years. Sunscreens become unstable over time, so using one that's expired, even if it has never been opened, increases your risk of sunburns and skin damage.
How To Properly Apply:
- Apply 15 minutes before you go outside. This allows the sunscreen (of SPF 15 or higher) to have enough time to provide the maximum benefit.
- Use enough to cover your entire face and body (avoiding the eyes and mouth). An average-sized adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen (about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass) to cover the body from head to toe evenly.
There's No Such Thing As Waterproof Sunscreen:
According to the FDA, no sunscreens are "waterproof." All sunscreens eventually wash off. Sunscreens labeled "water-resistant" are required to be tested according to the required SPF test procedure. The labels are required to state whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes when swimming or sweating, and all sunscreens must provide directions on when to reapply.
What To Look for When You Buy Sunscreen:
- A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect against UV-A and UV-B rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
- If you are sweating or swimming, look for "water-resistant."
- Buy a non-stinging product or one specially formulated for your face.
- Buy a brand that does not contain para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) if you are sensitive to that ingredient.
- Try a sunscreen with different chemicals if your skin reacts badly. Not all sunscreens have the same ingredients.
- Use a water-based sunscreen if you have oily skin or are prone to acne.
- Be aware that more expensive does not mean better. Although an expensive brand might feel or smell better, it is not necessarily more effective than a cheaper product.
A sunburn can hurt for days and contributes to skin cancer. Don't give yourself a false sense of security that you're protected. Check your sunscreens expiration date!