Central New York, Community, Consumer, Health, Weather

Last Year’s Sunscreen May Not Protect You

By Christine Morton SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) Have you ever been packing for the beach and just grabbed whatever bottle of sunscreen you could find? Well, you might want to make sure that bottle hasn’t expired or else it might not be giving you the full SPF protection labeled.

The US Food and Drug Administration states that the life expectancy of a tube of sunscreen is about three years if stored in proper conditions. But Dr. Ramsay Farah, Chief Dermatologist at Upstate Medical University, says depending on the ingredients and where you store it can make the bottle only last about a year.

Farah suggests when you first buy sunscreen to smell the lotion. If it smells noticeably different the following year, it has expired. Other ways to tell if the tube is expired is if the consistency of the product becomes clumpy or watery along with a change of color.

Farah also gave tips on purchasing and using sunscreen this summer season. He recommends people apply sunscreen every 2-3 hours no matter the SPF on the bottle. He also says to not bother with buying a bottle with more than 30 SPF because if your applying regularly, it will do the same job. In addition, he recommends people to wear hats since it is difficult to apply sunscreen to the scalp and a full head of hair is only an SPF of 5. He suggests to have ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for the best protection.

Farah says don’t forget to lotion your hands, back of the neck and the top of your lip.


Various sunscreen products are seen in Washington, Wednesday, May 26, 2010. Long-awaited changes are coming to improve sunscreens, but not in time for this summer. Even so, experts say the best advice for those heading to the beach is to glob on that sunscreen, and plenty of it. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)