What You Should Know about Your Sunscreen

Beautiful Young woman with sun cream on face.

We’re starting to get those hints that summer is right around the corner. In your life, that may mean an exciting vacation or just more walks in the park. While picking out your favorite warm-weather outfits, there is one more thing you want to do, check your sunscreen.

Did You Know Your Sunscreen can Go Bad?

You may not be a person who tosses old moisturizers or facial cleansers very often. Chances are you don’t even have to think about that because you’re using those products frequently. Sunscreen, though? Well, the vast majority of people who have sunscreen in their beach bag or medicine cabinet don’t use it as often as they should. That’s why it is important that you take a look at your sunscreen can or tube for an expiration date. According to FDA guidelines, sunscreen should maintain some degree of efficacy for three years. Pay close attention to the term “some degree.” Your sunscreen may only be two years old but that doesn’t mean it is still providing the same degree of SPF protection it did when you first purchased it.

If your sunscreen has expired, clearly, it should be thrown out. If your sunscreen does not have an expiration date printed on its label, consider whether or not you should keep it or start fresh. When you purchase new sunscreen, check to see if it has an expiration date printed on the tube. If it doesn’t, use a permanent marker and write your purchase date on the package so you won’t have to guess a year or two from now.

How To Know If Your Sunscreen is Still Good

Sunscreen should maintain its scent. A change in the smell of your sunscreen may not indicate that it has expired but it can be a sign of bacteria in the bottle. Bacteria may get into a tube or bottle of sunscreen because we touch the opening to our hands multiple times during a season. Bacteria doesn’t mean sunscreen won’t work. It does mean that the product could cause irritation or infection, though, if applied to a small cut or scrape on the skin. The best way to spot an expired sunscreen is to notice if the ingredients are separating. You may see a very clear separation of creamier ingredients and those that are oily. You may see a graininess to your sunscreen when it used to be smooth. These are signs that you’d benefit from a brand new product.

Does it Really Matter?

Sunscreen should maintain some efficacy for three years, and maybe even beyond. The thing is, it is your skin that is at risk here. Using an inefficient sunscreen puts you at risk of premature aging and skin cancer due to poor protection from harmful UV light. This is not a risk worth taking when it is so easy to find quality sunscreen products. Dr. Jennifer Walden has created her very own skincare line that includes sunscreen, moisturizers, and more. Beyond new sunscreen, you can schedule a skin-boosting treatment at Med Spa Austin by contacting us in Westlake or Northwest Hills.

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The Medspa Westlake

3918 Far West Blvd
Austin, TX 78731

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