Sunscreen Expiry Dates: Are They A Good Barometer?

Despite the benefits the sun provide us, it is imperative that we use the right sunscreen and replace them each year for the best results. Most of us have accepted that sunscreen is an essential component to the fight against aging and cancer. Keep reading to find out a few bits of information you may not realize about the sunscreen you are using and the additional ways the sun is harming your skin.


Sun and Your Skin: The Game of Chicken

Your skin and the sun is like a game of chicken. The moment you are unprepared, the sun wins on a number of levels. The sun has the ability to damage your skin in more ways than your realize. Skin cancer is absolutely a real threat. And, not to minimize the seriousness of such an issue, the sun can damage your skin in a number of other ways, as well. Sun damage acts as an age accelerator to your skin. The more unprotected sun exposure your receive, the more quickly you will age as a result from dry skin, rough skin, damaged cells, damaged collagen, increased wrinkles, and brown spots. And, keep in mind that it is a myth that the majority of your skin damage is completed before the age of 18. This has been proven untrue by countless studies. While you may be using sunscreen daily to prevent these potential issues, if you do not replenish your sunscreen each year, your efforts may be useless.  


Replace Sunscreen Each Year

Even though bottles of sunscreen often feature an expiry date to increase your chances at the greatest protection, it is recommended to replace your sunscreen each year. Over time, the chemical makeup of sunscreen ingredients can change causing your sunscreen to lose effectiveness. Even though the expiration dates are put into place to provide you with a guideline for an approximate length of time by which the structural integrity of the product will remain effective, it is not a guarantee. This date often does not account for the amount of time your bottle of sunscreen is exposed to the sun or kept in hot places such as your bag or automobile or even the number of occasions it is left in direct sunlight for hours at a time. All of such scenarios can change the color and consistency of sunscreen resulting in the perfect storm of the breakdown of your sunscreen’s ingredients. This often leads to rendering it ineffective in a faster amount of time. It is recommended to replace your sunscreen each year, according to the associate professor of clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, James Spencer, MD, and many other medical professionals.


Sunscreen and Beyond!

Sunscreen is a must-use daily product; however, it is possible to take your protection to the next level by also focusing on your insides. You can increase your protection by using products with various natural ingredients and by consuming certain foods. Products with topical antioxidant formulas provide even greater protection, as does the food you consume. Research from Newcastle University shows that various antioxidants can provide additional cell protection, and the antioxidant iron can even provide 100 percent protection against UVA damage from the sun.

Seek out foods rich in antioxidants such as those published by the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University: prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell peppers, onions, corn, and eggplant. Also, omega 3s are crucial food components that will help to minimize sun damage risk by up to 50 percent and heal damaged skin cells. Top foods that provide high amounts of omega 3s include walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, flax seeds, tuna, hemp seeds, sardines, anchovies, and egg yolks.


Sunscreen should be one of the biggest priorities to your skincare routine. Be sure your everyday moisturizer has SPF protection and use it throughout the year. And, be sure to replace your sunscreen every year to ensure the ingredients are still effective.

*One quick tip to leave you with: The day you purchase the sunscreen, write the date of purchase directly on the bottle with a permanent marker to make sure you replace them no sooner or no later than you have to.

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