Does Sunscreen Expire? Things to Consider Before Getting

Raymond Neiderman

Raymond Neiderman

Applying sunscreens to protect yourself from harmful UV rays can be very beneficial. Professionals at Healthytu do not only offer productive health & wellness tips but also skin care tips. So people often question them, does sunscreen expire? Yes, they do not have an unlimited shelf life. Almost everything has an expiration date, and sunscreens are no exception.

According to Food and Drug Administration, the sunscreens must be highly effective after three months of manufacturing. The leftover sunscreen will still be effective to some extent after a year. Some companies write the expiration date of their sunscreens. But if an expiration date is not mentioned on the product, you can use it until three years of the purchase.

Does Sunscreen Expire?

All the products have their expiry date mentioned. Sunscreens do have an expiry date and should not be used after it. Mostly the expiration date lasts a year. But if the sunscreen expiry date is not mentioned, do not use it after three years of purchase. It will not be practical or might even cause harm to your skin.

The best use of the sunscreens is until three months after manufacturing. After that, the product slowly starts to lose its effectiveness. No expiry date means the product is approved to be stable for three years through testing.

How Do Sunscreens Work?

Sunscreens seep into your skin, settling in between the layers. It contains various essential chemicals that protect and nourish your skin cells. Avobenzone and octinoxate are the active ingredients of chemical sunscreens that convert harmful rays. Best in use for active swimmers. In contrast, physical sunscreens are applied over your skin and deflect all the harmful UV rays.

It acts as a protective barrier against both UV A and B-type rays. Zinc oxide and titanium are essential chemical ingredients of physical sunscreens. These not only protect your skin against harm but also nourish and moisturize it. If you have sensitive skin, then physical sunscreen would be a better option for you.

How Much Sunscreen Should I Apply?

Sunscreens can be highly beneficial in protecting from the sun. But it will only be effective if applied correctly. It is advised that you should use one ounce of sunscreen for around 15 minutes before going out. It gives the product enough time to settle in the skin layers and provides maximum protection.

Make sure you apply enough sunscreen to cover your whole face, neck, and other exposed body parts. Excluding the eyes and mouth, you should evenly apply the product on your skin. Hands, the back of the neck, and other exposed body parts should be covered with an even layer so they may not stand out and blend with your skin.

How to Apply Sunscreen on the Face?

Applying sunscreen on your face is easy. Take a little sunscreen in your hands and evenly distribute it on your face. Keep in mind that the layer should not be thin, which would come off easily, and also not too thick, which would cause irritation and sweating. Use it 15 mins before stepping out in the sun for best results.

Also, make sure to reapply after every two hours if you are continuously working in the sun. The sweating and swimming can wash off your sunscreen, leaving you unprotected from the UV rays. Your lips are most vulnerable and delicate. You need to apply a lip balm with SPF. It will protect the collagen of your lips from breakdown and prevent skin cancer.

Can Sunscreen cause Cancer?

Sunscreens are your protective barrier against harmful radiation. This product ensures your skin is healthy, supple, and protected from damage. Applying sunscreen daily before going out reduces the chance of skin cancer.

However, if you keep your sunscreen on the shelf for more than three years, it expires. Using expired sunscreen can cause harm to your skin. Apart from not being effective against radiation, it can enhance cell aging and reduce moisture in the skin.

Also, the expired sunscreen would not be effective and will let the UV rays damage the cells. Excessive damage can lead to skin cancer. To prevent it, ensure the sunscreen you are using is highly effective and is not expired.

What's the Right Way to Store it?

Leaving the bottle of your sunscreen under direct sunlight can make it lose effectiveness. You should store the product in a cool and dry place. Wet places may become a source of molds and fungus. As the sunscreen is directly applied to your skin, that fungus or mold can cause infection.

Does Sunscreen Expire

Also, the warm or places with excessive heat makes the ingredients denature. That, in turn, makes the sunscreen ineffective. You can store it in your bathroom cabinets or on your dressing table, so applying it on your skin would be easy before going out.

What is Natural Sunscreen?

Although sunscreens are available in all supermarkets and any pharmacy, sometimes the chemicals in these products can harm sensitive skin. If your skin is not able to tolerate these chemicals, worry not!

You can use natural sunscreens as an alternative. Natural sunscreens are natural ingredients that protect your skin from harmful UV rays. The most popular is Coconut Oil. It is highly effective in deflecting UV rays.

Apply a little amount evenly on your skin. Aloe Vera gel is widely used to treat sunburns. You can also use it as a sunscreen to moisturize and nourish your skin while protecting it from the sun. Almond oil and Olive oil can also act as sunscreens.

Can I Use an Expiry Sunscreen?

If you are using an expired sunscreen, its chemicals and ingredients are no more effective. They won’t give you any protection against the harm of the sun. Physical sunscreens with active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium can last longer. But it does not make the sunscreen expiry-free. These components also decay over time.

In contrast, the chemical sunscreens that convert harmful rays into heat have a low shelf life. The expired sunscreen will not be as high as mentioned on the label. No protection against harmful rays can lead to cell aging and skin cancer.

How Long Does the Sunscreen Last?

The sunscreens have the expiry date mentioned on them. If not, it has a shelf life of almost three years. After that, it is ineffective. You must replace the expired bottle with the new one. Also, the applied sunscreen should be reapplied after every 2 hours. The heat and sweat wash off the cream.

Also, if you are an active swimmer, chemical sunscreen is advised. It gives protection against both UV A and B rays. The physical sunscreen should be applied evenly on the whole face and other exposed body parts for optimal results.

How to Know If my Sunscreen is Expired?

There are various ways to determine if your sunscreen is expired. First, check if there is an expiry date mentioned on the product. If not, remember the date of purchase of this product. If you purchased it around a year or three years ago, it will most likely expire.

If you want to be sure, check the color and texture of the sunscreen. If you feel that the cream’s color, consistency, smell, and texture have changed, throw off the bottle. It is expired.

Also, if you have put sunscreen on your car’s dashboard or anywhere in direct sunlight, the heat will cause the components to decay quickly. Another way to identify expired physical sunscreen is that it will become hard to apply on your skin and lead to uneven layers and partially covered areas.


Sunscreens are great products to keep your skin hydrated and protected from the sun. Physical sunscreens deflect harmful radiation while the chemical converts them into harmless heat. But sunscreens also expire.

The ingredients decay, making them ineffective. Healthytu can help you with the best skincare tips and nutritious foods to keep your skin hydrated and supple. So make sure to replace your sunscreen with a fresh one if expired and keep your skin healthy.

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