The ESK blog
Expired Sunscreens - Can you use them?
12 January 2022
Do sunscreens expire?
Yes. As a rule of thumb they last 3 years after you buy them or by the expiry date. After that they may be less protective against harmful, cancer-causing UV rays from the sun.
While the active ingredients in mineral sunscreens (like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) don’t degrade the way the UV-absorbing molecules in chemical sunscreens do, they still have a shelf life. And if you’ve stored your sunscreen in poor conditions (a hot car is a disaster!) the use-by date gets brought forward!
How can you work out if your sunscreens are expired?
- Check for a use by date. None on the bottle? Grab a permanent marker and write the date on the bottle. Hit the 3 year mark? In the bin!
- If a product does not look, smell or feel the way it did when you originally purchased it, bin it.
- Any doubt? Err on the side of caution, especially for a day at the beach.
If you get caught short and you have a choice between expired sunscreen and nothing, go for the expired stuff until you can get a replacement. There will be some sun protection there, which is better than nothing. There is nothing inherently dangerous in expired sunscreen ingredients, other than reduced efficacy.
In terms of your day cream, hopefully you’re wearing it daily and you’ll never have a problem with expiry dates!
Shop ESK Zinc Shade to start protecting your skin:
Zinc Shade – UV Protection Skincare Product
Zinc Shade based daily moisturiser providing you with the protection you need from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays.
- Protects from UVA and UVB protection
- Can be used under make-up
- Rated SPF15