Can you still use sunscreen after it expires and will it still work?

On a typical British summer afternoon, the sun is shining, but it’s hidden behind a wall of cloud.

But the UK has been enjoying (and enduring) another heatwave, and millions of Brits are taking to beaches, parks and (of course) beer gardens.

Sunscreen is an essential item for the rest of the summer as more sunny spells will inevitably sweep the nation.

Many of us have some sunscreen left over from holidays or previous years and will be wondering whether we can still use it to save a few pennies.

However, it is important you check the expiry date on the bottles, as they may not have the impact you want otherwise.

Can you use sunscreen after its expiry date?

It is so important for people to double-check the expiry date on sunscreen before using.

If stored correctly and kept in good condition, your sun protection will still be effective right up until the expiry date.

This is because when it’s left in heat, sunlight or in moisture, it can degrade faster.

However, it shouldn’t be used after the expiry date, as it can no longer be relied upon to provide protection.

Out-of-date sunscreen can also cause soreness and red skin.

Why does sunscreen expire?

As sunscreen is a photoprotective topical product, it can go out of date like any other item.

Over time it expires because the ingredients that are used to reflect sunlight and protect your skin begin to spoil.

As a result, it loses its strength over time, which can be accelerated due to heat.

Besides from obviously checking the expiry date, another easy way to see if it has spoiled is by looking at its colour.

It may appear more washed out, with a looser consistency.

It may also have a different odour, no longer smelling as fresh as it did before.