Does Sun Cream Go Out of Date? Staying Safe in The Sun

12th August, 2022, in Travel Advice & Guides

About now, you might be packing your stuff and getting ready to go on a well-deserved holiday. The past few years of on and off travel have meant that for many, this is the first getaway in a while.

You’ve got your passport and your tickets; you’ve booked your hire car and secured the car hire excess insurance. You have packed your hand luggage and you have stuffed your suitcase to within an ounce of the additional charges. It’s at this point you probably do a mental checklist of all the holiday essentials. Now you start to ask yourself if that sun cream you bought for a holiday 3 years ago is still going to do the job!

Well sun cream does have an expiry date and it’s important you know the risks behind using sun cream that has passed its use by date.

We all know that over exposure to the UV rays of the sun can lead to damaged skin and in the worse cases, cancer. Keep safe in the sun by following our sun cream tips below!

Does sun cream expire?

The simple answer is yes. From the moment you open it, the effectiveness starts to wain slightly and over time, that effectiveness can reduce severely. Especially if the periods between use span a long period.

Once it passes its expiry date, whilst still potentially a tool against the sun, it would have lost a lot of the protection it offers. The chemicals within a sunscreen that is chemical based will oxidise and make it no longer work. If you have a mineral-based product, rather than a full deterioration the product will degrade and become more ineffectual.

How long does sun cream last?

Once opened, the product becomes oxidized which begins the process of it degrading. It is a slow process meaning you can get around 6-12 months use. However, depending where and how you store it could speed up the process of the sun cream becoming ineffective. Keeping it away from sunlight (how ironic!) helps, as does keeping the product cool.

Where is the expiry date on sun cream?

When using your product, you may notice a few symbols on the bottle that could allude to expiry dates or best before dates. On many you will see four numbers. For example, 06 24. This would mean, if unopened, you have until this time before the product expires. Once opened you will have a timeline with which it can be used by. This will be shown by the PAO symbol. It looks like a jar being opened and will have for example, 12M, on it.

If instead, you see an hourglass symbol, this gives an indication of the time frame it needs to be used by whether opened or not.

Can you tell if sun cream has expired?

There are a few indicators that your sun cream has expired. If you cannot find any of the symbols indicating it, you can get a fair idea through the appearance of the product. If the colour has changed somewhat, if it smells or it doesn’t match the same level of consistency as before, chances are, your product is out of date. As a rule, many people say, if it is over a year old, bin it!

What are the risks of using expired sun cream?

With sun cream losing its capabilities over time, you open up the risk of things such as skin cancer, sun burn and more. If you cannot remember when the sun cream was opened. It would be best to play it safe and purchase a new product.

Should you be off on your holidays this year, stay safe from sun damage and wear the correct level of sun cream to keep you safe. Recommended amounts vary but some experts say, the equivalent of a shot glass worth, of at least factor 30, applied every 2 hours should be sufficient when you are outside. Ultimately it is better to be safe than sorry so if you feel better using more, then go for it.

At Direct Car Hire Excess, we not only want to protect you from the sun, or give you travel advice, we want to protect you from the costly excess fees that often come through hiring a car. Speak to our team about holiday car excess insurance so that you are never caught short. Get a free quote today!

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