Has Your Sunscreen Gone Bad?

With all the recent buzz surrounding the efficacy of sunscreen, we had to ask: Is there anything you can do (you know, if you aren’t a cosmetic scientist with your own testing lab) to make it a little bit easier to make sure your skin is protected?

For starters, make sure your sunscreen isn’t past its prime. Because dermatologists recommend using sunscreen every day when you are outside (not just during the summer) and peg the recommended use as “one ounce = enough to fill a shot glass,” this is one skin care product that should not sit on your shelf for very long. But, if you do find a bottle of sunscreen that you have not used for some time, here is a quick checklist to keep in mind, according to the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • This may be a no-brainer, but a lot of sunscreens include an expiration date. If the expiration date has passed, throw it out.
  • The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least three years. So, if you buy a sunscreen that does not have an expiration date, write the date you bought the sunscreen on the bottle. That way you’ll know when to throw it out.
  • There are some telltale signs that signal that a sunscreen may no longer be good. Any obvious changes in the color or consistency of the product mean it’s time to purchase a new bottle.