MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA/ NBC) -With just a couple of weeks left of summer lots of us are are planning that last trip to the beach or the lake before school starts. Before you go, double check your sunscreen. Did you know it expires?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says sunscreen typically expires three years after it’s manufactured but it can go bad even quicker depending where it’s stored and what the sunscreen is made of.
The FDA recommends sunscreen containers be kept out of direct sunlight, even suggesting we wrap the containers in towels or keep them in coolers if they’re going to sit outside for long periods of time.
Any bottle older than three years, or showing changes to its color or consistency isn’t guaranteed to protect you.
“I put it on my child because of skin cancer and my step mother has it so I’m very cautious with it.” VANESSSA GARCIA says.
“The bottle looked a little old and I thought I might as well just look and see if it would still be affective and it was two or three years expired so I went and got some new sunscreen that day.” JENNIE BADOVINAC says.
Assuming you’ve stored it correctly, there are different ways to decode whether it’s still effective. Those depend on when you bought it and the brand you bought. Some sunscreens will have a written expiration date on the back or on the bottom of sprays others may need a little more decoding.
For brands like Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic, there’s a nine-digit code. You’ll want to look at the first five numbers. The first two are the year it expires. The last three you’ll add up for the date in that year.
Sunscreen is an FDA regulated product that must pass certain tests before it’s sold.