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A 32-year-old member asked:

is it better to replace sunscreen every season or once every 2 years?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Tholen
Plastic Surgery 41 years experience
Buy smaller bottles: And use it up each season! or, better yet, stay out of the sun. Really, the loss of potency or protective capability is quite minimal even after one year, but fresh is always going to be better, including the manufacturer's own recommendations. It is still better to use "old" sunscreen than none at all. Just try to limit exposure for any reason, including tanning beds!

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Similar questions

A member asked:

Does sunscreen expire?

5 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Melissa Arca
Specializes in Pediatrics
Yes: Sunscreens have a shelf life of three years. After this, they start to lose their stability and efficacy. You should see an expiration date on your bottle of sunscreen and should use it before that date. If you don't see an expiration date, write the month and year you purchased it on the bottle and toss after three years. Do not use any sunscreen that has become lumpy or has turned an odd color.
CA
A 21-year-old member asked:

Should I use a special sunscreen?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Pollard
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 21 years experience
You Choose: Sunscreens work via 2 possible ways: 1) chemical blocks that breakdown the uv rays as they pass through the skin and 2) physical blocks that prevent the uv rays from getting to the skin. I recommend the physical blocks (zinc and titanium) because they have a very good safety profile and work very effectively. If you are going to be in the sun - use a minimum of SPF 15 - follow product directions.
CA
A 24-year-old member asked:

What makes sunscreen so important?|

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Pollard
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 21 years experience
Skin Cancer: Sunscreens protect your skin from the harmful uv rays of the sun. In addition to damaging the quality of the skin, they can cause cancers to develop. I recommend the physical blocks (zinc and titanium) because they have a very good safety profile and work very effectively. If you are going to be in the sun - use a minimum of SPF 15 - follow product directions.
A 31-year-old member asked:

What is the active element in sunscreen?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeffrey Pollard
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 21 years experience
Sunscreen: Sunscreens work via 2 possible ways: 1) chemical blocks that breakdown the uv rays as they pass through the skin and 2) physical blocks that prevent the uv rays from getting to the skin. I recommend the physical blocks (zinc and titanium) because they have a very good safety profile and work very effectively. If you are going to be in the sun - use a minimum of SPF 15 - follow product directions.
A 39-year-old member asked:

How often do I need to apply sunscreen?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Laura Webb
Pediatrics 13 years experience
Lots!: Put on sunscreen about 20 minutes before heading into the sun. Then reapply every 2 hours (more often if you get sweaty or wet). Make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both uva and uvb rays. Also- remember your hat and sunglasses!
Dr. Jan Lei Iwata
Ophthalmology 26 years experience
Most sunscreens last only about 80-88 minutes. So this may require more frequent application if in direct sunlight. Not as important if in shade or using physical barriers like hats, umbrellas or clothing.
Dec 29, 2014

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Last updated Jan 15, 2019

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