Iv been doing some research on a few sunscreen products including Mary Kay. From what I have learned some companies could afford to be more open and specific about this information. I'm guessing a lot of people are using these products thinking the are being protected when it lost its protecting qualities already! Finding this can be kind of disappointing, but when you know better you can do better!
So here is what ive learned so far...
Does Sunscreen expire? YES!The molecules in suntan lotion (such as homosalate and octyl salicylate) block the penetration of UV radiation by acting as filters and absorbing and reflecting high energy UV. Over time these molecules break down and lose effectiveness, kind of like expired cold medicine or vitamins. ALSO i know some people are very anti anything "Paraben" and that's fine. BUT if you insist on getting these products make sure you are using up your paraben free products faster!
What is a Paraben?Parabens are antifungal agents that are used as preservatives in foods, pharmaceuticals and skin care products. In fact, parabens are the most widely used preservatives in the cosmetics industry. They're used in makeup, hair care products, moisturizers and shaving products. There are several types of parabens, the most common being methylparaben, probylparaben and butylparaben.
How do you know when it's expired?Some will have expiration dates printed on them. However, most sunscreens do not have "Expiration" dates printed on them. Instead "lot numbers" can be used to determine the date the product was "manufactured"and typically will say they are good for 3 years from manufacture date...
BUT what isn't clear is that the 3 year window is only good as long as the product is not opened and must be kept at consistent cool to warm at max temperatures. Once that product is opened, for the average SPF containing products *that typically do have some kind of paraben in it* then starts counting down 6 months ahead of protecting use. For products without Paraben less the loss of protection can brake down even faster. (still trying to research a more specific number)
`For Coppertone products, the first character of the lot code represents the year of manufacture (7=2007, etc). The second character is a bit more involved. It will tell you the month of manufacture using this code: A=Jan, B=Feb, C=Mar, D=Apr, E=May, but then G=June, H=July, J=Aug, K=Sept, M=Oct, N=Nov, and P=Dec.
Per Scherring-Plough (the mfr of Coppertone) their SPF sunscreens have a shelf life of 3 years from the date of manufacture.
`For Banana Boat products, the first 2 digits of the code represent the year it was made (07=2007, etc.) and the next 3 digits represent the day of the year (32=Feb 1st, 365=Dec 31st, etc). They also state a shelf life of 3 years.
`For Exp and Manufacture code info on Mary Kay Products, visit a earlier Blog posting i did specifically on How to read Mary Kay's ... BTW on anything with SPF Mary Kay will straight add a Expiration date so there is no guessing games beause they know SPF is lost much faster then other containing ingredeants of other types of skin products :)
Where to look for both EXPiration and or Manufacture codes
So what can you do to make sure you are getting the most of your product?Pay attention and get a Sharpie!! If you have any current products you cant remember when you got and or more importantly, Opened it. might want to scratch it and get somthing new. Then once you have purchaced product you have first looked up its manufacture date (unless it clearly lists a straight up EXP date) As soon as you open it, either write that date opened and or write the 6 months following date straight on the product!
So don't be miss lead. 3 years from manufacture is only its unopened shelf life!
Hope this helps! Any other info or questions please feel free to comment. Im not a specialist just like to try and do my homework best i can and share what i learn :0)
Learn More about SPF and click pic!