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It’s summertime already and the sun is basking in all it’s power, and now the first thing you reach out for is sunscreen.The problem which is found in many of us don’t apply SPF liberally during the colder months (when we should!), meaning the bottle you’re reaching for was probably resting in your cabinet for at least a year but you didn’t pay any heed to it.


So, can you still use it? It actually depends. Here, dermatologists talk about those expiration dates on your bottle of SPF.It acts just like medicines, sunscreen too holds an expiration date, so that old bottle may not do you much good. Even though you may somewhere believe that the “use-by” and “best-by” dates imprinted on your favorite bottles and sprays are just a suggestion, that’s simply not the case.


“Sunscreen does indeed expire and will always have an expiration date printed somewhere on the packaging,” says Lauren Fine, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago at Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. “A sunscreen that’s expired will not work as well and increases your chance of getting a sunburn.” Getting a burn is badly painful, also, it increases your risk of skin cancer—the most common cancer in the United States. Therefore, don’t use an SPF past its listed expiration date.


To make sure whether your SPF, is about to get expired, keep an eye out for any changes in its texture. If it starts to look, smell, or feel not in a way as it should be—get away with it. Your sunscreen shouldn’t change in color or consistency, the AAD says.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to apply enough sunscreen if you want full UVA/UVB protection. Aim to use a shot glass-sized amount to cover exposed parts of your body and reapply it every two hours, says Dr. Fine. It suggests that you shouldn’t even have to worry about expiration dates if you’re applying your SPF properly—a 4-ounce bottle should technically last four applications.

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