What Is The Shelf Life Of Your Sunscreen?

Last week, the blazing heat felt more like mid-August than the 1st of June.  My clan headed to the beach and I grabbed my Badger sunscreen to use up from last summer. I spent about 10-15 minutes applying the sunscreen with each of my children because none of their skin had been exposed to the sun this year so I wanted really good coverage.  I re-applied 2 hours later on their faces, shoulders, and arms just to make sure they were protected.  Well imagine my surprise to discover one of my three year old girls got burned and so did I.  At first I decided to blame the sunscreen ~ because it’s organic had it gone bad since last summer?  ~ because it’s organic does it dissipate from the body more quickly?  I didn’t purchase my sunscreen from Gwen (owner of Nayla Natural Care) but I really trust her opinion on personal care products so I asked some questions and got some great answers I wanted to share with Mommy Footprint readers.

Gwen mentioned the shelf life on the all natural sunscreen that Nayla carries is 2 years. I also did some research and found out the same result with most organic lines.  My Badger sunscreen did have an expiry date and that date hadn’t passed, but it was something I hadn’t thought of to check so thanks Gwen!  However, when I checked my bottle of California Baby sunscreen I noticed it doesn’t have an expiry date, but has a lot number. Gwen recommended contacting the company to check the expiry date because a two year shelf life isn’t very long, especially if a product sits on a store shelf for awhile.  This is a great tip that I never thought of and I recommend if you are carrying over organic sunscreens from last summer.

I’m sure that organic, all-natural sunscreens do dissipate more quickly because they don’t have the chemicals that preserve them to sit on store shelves for x years.  I had to remind myself this is a good thing!  Here are some ‘don’t forget’ sunscreen tips that are worth reviewing with the hot summer approaching!  I hope to cover sun suits and hats in future articles, because these clothing items are extremely helpful with protecting children’s skin from damaging rays.  I also realized with my girls being 3 and really having no exposure to the sun yet, their skin is very sensitive and no matter how strong, organic, or high-quality the sunscreen is, their skin should not be exposed to the sun all day so I’ll have to do some research on protective sun suits. 

Don’t forget:

Tips of the ears, behind the ears, the scalp with scarce hair and your feet

Your lips..use a sun screen for your lips because cancer can later form here.

Don’t apply sunscreen to eyelids, just use protective eye glasses with 100% filter instead.

Moisturizers and sunscreens at the same time are not recommended.  The sunscreen will become diluted from the moisturizer, minimizing its SPF.

insect sprays and sunscreen at the same time are not recommended.  Like moisturizers, the bug spray will disrupt the integrity of the sunscreen.

And last from Gwen, after 1 year, the zinc oxide might have settled in your sunscreen, so ‘massage’ the bottle before using to ensure the zinc is properly re-distributed.

Related Articles:

Top Organic Sunscreen 2009

Banana Boat Oxybenzone and Badger Sunscreen

Safe Sunscreen Guide For Children


One Response to What Is The Shelf Life Of Your Sunscreen?

  1. Poly June 8, 2009 at 8:54 am #

    I also was wondering about the expiry date on my California Baby sunscreen. I contacted the company and they told me that on the top of the tube (where it is crimped) there is a lot number. The first number is the year it was made (ie my tube started with the number 8, so it was produced in 2008). The sunscreen is good for 2 years from that date.

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