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Will Last Year's Sunscreen Still Protect Me?

Will Last Year's Sunscreen Still Protect Me?

Now that you know how important it is to wear sunscreen when you go outside (even on cloudy days), you may be thinking about the bottles you have from last year. Are they still good or do you have to shell out more money and buy new ones?

Here's the deal. Sunscreen supposedly can last up to 3 years, but if it wasn't stored in a cool, dry place with the cap tightly closed, it should be tossed out. The active ingredients in sunscreen can deteriorate and lose effectiveness if exposed to high temperatures, so if you're not sure, I'd spring for some new bottles. How many times have you left the bottle to bake in the car while you were out hiking?

Your old sunscreen bottles should have expiration dates. If they haven't expired yet, you should check out the consistency. If it has changed or looks discolored, is lumpy, or smells funky - ditch it and buy some new sunscreen. I'd opt for skin safety over saving a few bucks. It is probably more economical in the long run.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
AucuneRancune AucuneRancune 10 years
Good to know. My whole life I've been using old sunblocks - at the beach, with my family, we'd just have bottles circulating around the house for years, and would use which ever one randomly surfaced.
redsugar redsugar 10 years
Wow. I never have leftover sunblock.
Calimie Calimie 10 years
I use the bottle as a body mousturizer once the season is over. That way I'm sure I won't use it next year.
krisua krisua 10 years
Probably the safest way is to buy a new one anyway. Just in case.
sweetheart_450 sweetheart_450 10 years
$4 a bottle! Whoa, where are you buying your sunscreen? I usually end up paying around $30. Thanks for the expiration tips Fit! I was wondering about this the other day.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I never use last years. It's not worth the sunburn for a $4 bottle of sunscreen.
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