How to tell if your protective cream has expired: expert advice

Every year, the heat of takes us by surprise. Suddenly, the first baths on the or in the pool appear. We reach into last year's cosmetics bag for the remaining sun creams and calmly apply them to our face and body. Ringing a bell?

A woman applying sunscreen.

How to identify the expiry date of a sun cream?

“All sun creams have an expiration date beyond which their effectiveness, and integrity are no longer guaranteed. To find out if a sun cream has expired, just take a quick look at the product to find the icon representing a bottle with the number of months you can use it after opening. This is the product's PAO (Period After Opening), which indicates how long the product will last after opening. If, for example, you see 12M, this means that the is still valid for twelve months after opening. Beyond this date, the product is considered expired and should not be used, as it will not protect you properly”, explains the pharmacist.

“There are ways to quickly and easily see if a cream is still effective after its expiration date, by the smell (it becomes unpleasant and rancid), the texture becomes more viscous and dense, the product separates into two phases, the color tends to darken and be more yellow, and small white spots may even appear if a liquid appears when you apply the product. Keep in mind that the filters that make up sunscreens are extremely unstable… If you plan to expose yourself to the sun, invest in a sunscreen. Your will thank you,” says Acero.

Sunscreen expiration date: should I keep it or throw it away?

What should you do if you're using expired sunscreen and you don't know it?

“In short, your skin can have an allergic reaction after application and especially if you expose yourself to the sun. If a sunscreen product has deteriorated, there is theoretically a risk of chemical alteration of the ingredients. In other words, there's a certain likelihood of reactions or irritation, and of course the sunscreens will no longer be effective. As a result, you run the risk of , premature skin , blemishes and even more serious ,” he confirms.

How long will sunscreen stay closed?

“Another tricky question: how long can you keep an unopened tube of sunscreen? As you can imagine, unopened sunscreens have a much longer shelf life. But they can't be stored for several years either. In general, an unopened sunscreen will keep for a maximum of 36 months or 3 years. Of course, the tube of sunscreen must have been properly stored, otherwise the quality of the product may be affected. Make sure it is stored in a dark place, away from moisture. If products are exposed to direct sunlight, even the most stable formulations can degrade,” concludes the pharmacist.

If we do that, we're making a mistake, because like all cosmetics, sunscreens are not permanent.

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