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    Does Suncream "go off"?

    Going on holiday next week, so was getting things together. I found some sun cream that we had for our last holiday 18 months ago. They are still full, (it rained the whole time) but have been opened.
    Just wondering if they are still good to use now.

    10 Comments

    I guess they could, Do they have a use by date printed anywhere?

    Our suncream has a 12M printed near the barcode, Which means use with in 12 months of opening, However some sunscream is marked 24M.

    My guess is they'll be ok but won't offer full protection. Are you going anywhere nice?

    I found some old creams out once and found they had gone a weird consistency, a bit watery type thing. I'm not sure if protection reduces over time or not though. if the cream still seems ok, i'd guess it is as they dont have use by dates on them. Maybe someone else knows better.



    Edit, there you go, others knew better, had no idea those 12m or 24m were use by dates! lol

    Yes...active ingredients have a 'shelf life'. There is normally a use by date on most.

    They will, but not that quickly. The sell by dates are a little foolish (same with food). I have used sun lotion that went out of date 4 years ago.

    they do go off slowly and some can separate out over time (but you can normally remix with a rigourous shaking).

    the impact over 18 months should be minimal, especially if a decent factor to start with. We normally use ours over 2 years before throwing away.

    in General sun creams have a shelf life of 2-3 years as long as they are not kep in direct sunlight (which breaks down the screen) or high heat. if they have been kept in a cupboard and were bought new (not reduced as last years stock) to begin with, then you should be fine.

    Can I use sun lotion left over from last year?

    Not with safety. Sunscreens have a shelf-life of more than two and a half years. This means the manufacturer is not obliged by law to quote an expiry date.

    But both heat and bacteria damage sunscreens, so you should replace your lotion each year.

    If your sunscreen smells off or separates, it is either full of bacteria or has been destroyed in some other way and should be thrown out.

    Keep sun lotion in a shady and cool place when not in use, ideally in the refrigerator.

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    They will go off, just like anything. The result of going off is the strength of the factor will reduce. However, most shelf lives quoted are very conservative and the sun cream will actually last a lot longer.
    You could test it on yourself for the first day. It will definitely have some residual protection. If you are really concerned, just apply it more often - say every 2 hrs if it advises every 4 hours.
    A tip for the future is - keep them in the fridge. They last longer that way as the actives are temperature and light sensitive.

    Original Poster

    Thanks guys, will test them out. wouldn't have a problem with them if they weren't so expensive.

    yeah, i have photo's that could advise against using old sunscreen

    Buy some cheap new ones from Wilkinsons etc, also some places might have good brands for half price to shift summer stock for winter items. Look around. You don't want to mess about with possible skin cancer just for the sake of a few pence/quid.
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