5 Ways to Make Sure Your Sunscreen Is Still Safe to Use

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Sunscreen Is Still Safe to Use

How To Tell if Your Sunscreen Has Gone Bad

(AscendHealthy.com) – Many of us use sunscreen every day as part of our healthy routine. In addition to spending time and money to find the right sun protection, experts say we also need to make sure that sunscreen is still safe to apply.

FDA Sunscreen Guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) creates regulations for non-prescription products made or sold in the United States that make certain health claims. The FDA categorizes sunscreen as one such nonprescription drug due to the health claims that it prevents sunburn and reduces the risk of early skin aging and skin cancer.

Sunscreen labels should contain expiration dates and undergo stability testing based on the FDA’s regulations for safety and effectiveness. Those tests must prove that the sunscreen will maintain the same quality for a minimum of three years.

In addition, the FDA requires manufacturers to provide information about storage on sunscreen labels. Every label is required to say: “Protect the product in this container from excessive heat and direct sun.”

5 Ways to Ensure Your Sunscreen is Still Safe to Use

Use this checklist to make sure your sunscreen is still safe to use before you head out for fun in the sun:

  • Storage: The FDA advises protecting sunscreen from direct sunlight. If you left your sunscreen in the sun on your last beach outing or in the car rather than wrapping in towels or using a cooler, throw it away.
  • Expiration date: Toss out any sunscreen that has passed its expiration date or has lasted more than three years from the purchase date.

(Tip: Bought sunscreen without an expiration date? Put on a label showing the date purchased).

  • Smell: Open your sunscreen and take a whiff. If the lotion smells weird, toss the container.
  • Consistency: If the sunscreen has separated or changed in consistency, toss the product.
  • Color: Throw away sunscreen that has changed color.

Should We Ever Use Expired Sunscreen?

We are already on the beach or walking into an outdoor event when we discover that our sunscreen has passed its expiration date or smells odd — should we use it? Experts say that rather than skip the sunscreen, we should go ahead and use expired lotion. The chance of it still being effective is better than no protection at all.

Sunscreen made from a heavy cream is more effective than a gel or spray after expiration but still may not provide the level of protection required to keep you safe from a burn. In addition, sunscreen with physical sunblocks, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, works better to protect skin even after expiration.

We know that sunscreen protects our skin from signs of early aging and skin cancer. Expiration dates can help ensure that our sunscreen still protects us. Checking sunscreen for signs of changes such as smell, consistency and color can help make sure that our sunscreen is still safe to use. Using expired sunscreen is one last resort if new sunscreen can’t be borrowed or bought.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension

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