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Yes, your sunscreen can go bad

Even if it doesn't have an expiration date, it's good to consider a fresh bottle.

WASHINGTON — Your towel, your water bottle, your sun glasses and your sunscreen –they’re the must-have accessories of the summertime!

But when you’re lathered up in last season’s SPF, is it more than just out-of-fashion?


Does sunscreen expire?



Yes, sunscreen expires – after which there’s no assurance the product remains effective, according to the FDA and dermatologists.


Packing a bag for a day in the sun? Checking your sunscreen means more than just looking for the right SPF. It’s a good idea to check the expiration date too, according to experts.

“I would take it seriously. About one in five Americans get to skin cancer at some point in life,” said Dr. Kathleen Ellison. “If you're putting it on your skin, it's important that it does the trick for you. So I would take a look at that bottle.”

However, you might not see that date printed on the sunscreen. According to the FDA, their regulations require sunscreens and other non-prescription drugs to have expiration date labels unless testing shows the product will remain stable for at least three years. The agency also advises: anything that doesn’t have a printed use-by date should be considered expired after three years.

Store sunscreen away from too much heat and direct sunlight to keep it from going bad prematurely. If you can’t be sure you did that even with last summer’s stash, you might consider a trip to the sunscreen aisle.

“It is important to get fresh sunscreen,” said Dr. Allison Larson. “If you've got sunscreen that's been hanging around since last year, it will still work, but it won't be as effective as it would have been if it was new.”

On long days in the sun, no matter the SPF, experts say sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours to ensure continued sun protection.

Watch Next: VERIFY: Can heat cause your windshield to crack?

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