By Dr. Covington / Dermatology
As the weather starts to warm up in Central Oregon, it’s time to break out those pool toys and sunscreen bottles to prepare for a day in the sun. So there is no problem with using that old sunscreen in the bathroom cabinet right? There just might be. Sunscreen should be discarded if it is three years old, was exposed to high sun temperatures, or if there is obvious changes in color and/or consistency. Most sunscreens include the expiration date at the top or bottom of the bottle. If the expiration date is not included, the easiest thing to do is write the date of purchase on the bottle. That way you are able to look back and make sure that the bottle is still effective.
Did you know that you need to apply at least 1 ounce (the amount of a shot glass) of sunscreen? With that said, if you are using sunscreen consistently, there should not be much left over in the bottle. An SPF of at least 15 is recommended, but a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or more is typically what to look for. Be sure to apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going outside, and make sure to reapply every 2 hours, unless with heavy contact with water or perspiration. You can use sunscreen left over from one year to the next, just make sure that it is not over three years old and does not have obvious changes. Enjoy the summer, but make sure that before you go outdoors, to check your sunscreen for worry-free adventures.