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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Should you use sunscreen after it has expired?

A doctor explains that when sunscreens expire, they either become ineffective, or cause a reaction like redness and irritation on the skin

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
July 5, 2021 8:00:56 pm
sunscreens, what are sunscreens, what is sunscreen made of, can you use expired sunscreen, sunscreen lotion, what happens if you use expired sunscreen lotion, indian express newsA lot of times, heat can damage the sunscreen as well, and even if it is not expired, it can get spoiled. (Representational image/Pixabay)

The one most important ingredient that you can and must add to your skincare routine is sunscreen. A steady flow of sunscreen every day can protect your skin from great damage, irrespective of the weather, and whether you are stepping out of the house or staying indoors.

But what happens after your sunscreen lotion expires? Should you continue to use it if the tube is still full?

Dr Devayani Barve, an internationally-acclaimed plastic and cosmetic surgeon tells indianexpress.com that expired sunscreen can be detrimental to the skin, and even lead to some reactions.

“Sunscreen is basically made of chemicals — some kind of skin-protective chemicals, along with some emulsifying agents which hold it together. It can be a cream or a lotion depending on what the formulation is. Each of these things can go bad, because if they expire either they become ineffective, or cause a reaction like redness and irritation on the skin,” she explains.

Barve adds that the emulsifying agents can also go bad or “split”. “When you sometimes squeeze out old sunscreens, you notice they are not consistent anymore. The oil and the water have separated from the actual medical component of it. It can cause a lot of skin reaction, besides not providing any protection. Expired sunscreens fail to serve their purpose and lead to these common problems,” she says, adding that people should discontinue its use even if they do not have any visible skin reaction.

According to Dr Barve, another common mistake that people make is when they store their sunscreen in the car or an office which is not air-conditioned. “A lot of times, the heat can damage the sunscreen as well, and even if it is not expired, it can get spoiled. Storing it at a proper temperature is also important.”

Not a lot of people follow this skincare routine, but even as they work from home, they must wear sunscreen, “just about twice a day, sometime in the morning, and then late in the evening”, the doctor advises. “If they are stepping out, it depends on how much they are sweating, wiping and washing their face. But, two to four times, is recommended.”

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