The summer is well and truly over, and autumn has brought typically wet and windy weather. While you’re busy packing away your summer clothes for another year, you’re probably wondering what to do with your leftover bottles of sunscreen. If you want to ensure your sun protection stays effective for as long as possible, then you should follow our advice for checking and storing it correctly.
Check the expiry date
The first thing you need to do is make sure your sun protection products are in date. There isn’t a specific date on the packaging like there is with food, so you need to work out the expiry date a different way. If you look at the back of the sunscreen, you’ll find an open jar icon that has 12M, 18M or 24M on it. This is the PAO (Period After Opening) symbol, and it means that the sunscreen will expire 12, 18 or 24 months respectively after opening it. However, an unopened bottle of sunscreen usually lasts for up to 5 years, if stored correctly.
Throw out expired sunscreen
You should immediately discard any product that has expired, but it is also important to check if the sunscreen has developed an unusual odour or become discoloured or watery. This may have happened because it was left too long in the sun, and it’s best to throw it out as a safeguard.
If you have used a formula that is out of date, then it is likely to be ineffective and could, therefore, lead to sunburn. There is also a risk that the product could react with your skin and cause irritation.
Store your sunscreen correctly
Care should be taken when storing sun protection products as exposure to heat and light may cause degradation of the product. You should always store your sunscreen somewhere cool, dark and dry, and while you might think that the bathroom cabinet is the most suitable place, moisture from baths and showers can cause it to become unstable. It’s best to avoid humid areas and anywhere that the product will be exposed to direct sunlight.
Apply sunscreen every day
If you’re taking proper care of your skin, then there’s no reason why you should have sunscreen bottles sitting for a year at the back of your cabinet. It’s vital to apply sunscreen every day to achieve maximum protection from the sun as we are constantly exposed to UVA rays. They are independent of cold or hot weather, and they penetrate your skin more deeply than UVB rays. We recommend using our Once a Day Sun Protection as it only needs to be applied to the skin once and protects you all day long.
By following our top tips for storing your sun protection products correctly, you can not only ensure that your skin is always protected, but that you also save money as you won’t be continually replacing expired or unreliable sunscreen.