When you’re off to the beach with the kids for the first time since a few summers ago, it’s only natural to reach for the same baby sunscreen stick that you used before. However, did you know that products like this, like many other perishable items, have an expiration date?
How can you tell that sunscreen has an expiration date? That’s an easy one to answer, as it’s usually printed on the packaging. The thing is, while a sunscreen that’s degraded might have the appearance of being able to be used still, it might not offer the same degree of protection.
Sunscreen has a Three Year Shelf Life
According to the FDA, a baby sunscreen stick or indeed, any sunscreen products sold in America will have a shelf life of 3 years. However, the subject isn’t quite as simple as that, as the equation involves a number of other variables. Other factors include:
- Some sunscreen products might go bad earlier – depending on how the product has been treated and stored, it might have degraded. Ideally, a product like this needs to be stored in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. If it’s kept anywhere else for a prolonged period, it can degrade what it offers.
Also, if any bacteria or moisture is left on the product or in the product (for lotions), it can mean the product loses its protective properties sooner.
- It can go bad sooner once opened – When you’ve used your sunscreen before and it’s been rattling around in your bag for a while, the chemical integrity of your baby sunscreen stick can be impacted. How many of us can say that we treat our sunscreen gently when we’re out with the kids at the beach? Not many.
You can stop this from happening when you’re out in the sun by wrapping your sunscreen in a towel or something else that protects it from direct heat.
How Can You Tell If Sunscreen Has Expired?
As we mentioned before, sunscreen can degrade before the expiration date, so how can you tell if it has gone bad if the best before date is still in the future? Well, it’s all about how it looks and feels and a good rule of thumb would be to be hesitant if it doesn’t look or feel as it normally does, regardless of whether you’re talking about chemical or physical sunscreen.
If you’re using a lotion, be sure to give your mineral sunscreen a good shake before you write it off though, as it’s a product that’s prone to separation, even when in date and still effective.
Use Expired Baby Sunscreen Stick & Risk Your Child’s Health
We’ve done our best to give you the lowdown on why should only ever use ‘in-date’ sunscreen, but it can be broken down into a pretty simple notion. If you have any doubts about the sunscreen you’re using – in line with the tips we’ve mentioned here – just don’t risk it.
If it looks or feels strange going on and it’s been a year or two since you last used it, it’s likely time to go and buy another bottle. It’s just not worth the risk, especially when talking about your baby’s skin, as degraded sunscreen might offer little to no protection.
Keep this in mind and you’ll stand a much better chance of your child ever getting burnt while out playing in the sun.