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Although the US Food and Drug Administration mandates that commercial sunscreens have stable formulations that last at least three years, knowing if your SPF has reached its end can be tricky.

Purchased by customers FDA-approved sunscreens Expiry date labels can be found printed on the product’s packaging.

For lotion tubes and bottles, the manufacturer’s year and day of production are usually written in an alphanumeric code that appears on the top or bottom of the container. The first two numbers represent the year the sunscreen was applied, the next three numbers represent the calendar day. On the other hand, expiration dates are usually a bit clearer with an “EXP” marker followed by the month and year the sunscreen expires.

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In this photo example of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with Helioplex Technology Sunscreen, the product's lot number and expiration date are listed on the top, back of the lotion tube.  The sunscreen expires in October 2021.  This Neutrogena product is not listed in Johnson & Johnson.  Johnson's current national recall.

In this photo example of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with Helioplex Technology Sunscreen, the product’s lot number and expiration date are listed on the top, back of the lotion tube. The sunscreen expires in October 2021. This Neutrogena product is not listed in Johnson & Johnson. Johnson’s current national recall.
(Courtney Moore/Fox News)

Production date codes and expiration dates are also printed on spray-on sunscreens and are usually found at the base of the bottle.

Sunscreens from other countries, which have become trendy in recent years due to e-commerce, are usually regulated by agencies at their source and have to be reached by consumers. For example, the European Commission, which represents the EU, has its own list of testing, efficacy and labeling standards, while individual countries across Asia, Africa, Australia, and North and South America have regulations that classify sunscreens as cosmetic or over-the-counter. over the counter medicine

In addition to keeping an eye out for expiration labels, consumers should be aware of how they store their sunscreen and the product’s stability.

“To keep your sunscreen in good condition, the FDA recommends that sunscreen containers should not be exposed to direct sunlight,” an FDA spokesperson told Fox News via email. “Protect sunscreen by wrapping containers in a towel or placing them in the shade. Sunscreen containers can also be kept in coolers for extended periods of heat.”

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Leaving a sunscreen container on a hot setting can reduce the product's effectiveness, the FDA and Dr. Anna Guanche told Fox News.

Leaving a sunscreen container on a hot setting can reduce the product’s effectiveness, the FDA and Dr. Anna Guanche told Fox News.
(iStock)

Dr. Anna Guanche, founder and director of the Bella Skin Institute, warns that hot indoor settings can affect the effectiveness of sunscreen.

“Sunscreen definitely expires, and when it does, it loses its strength and becomes less effective at blocking UV rays,” Guanche wrote to Fox News. “If the sunscreen has been left in a hot car for a long time, for example, or separated, it’s best to invest in a new bottle of sunscreen.”

According to the FDA, consumers can find the proper storage and use instructions listed on sunscreen labels.

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“There is no expiration difference between face or body sunscreen. Expiry dates are guidelines, but it’s best not to take the chance of having ineffective sun protection,” advises Guanche. “Lotions versus sprays are the same. You want to check the expiration date on the bottle because if it’s expired, it will lose its protective effect on your skin.”

If your sunscreen has discolored or changed texture before its expiration date, it's best to replace it with a fresh product.

If your sunscreen has discolored or changed texture before its expiration date, it’s best to replace it with a fresh product.
(iStock)

Last month, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. issued a Voluntary recall Affects some sunscreen products in its aerosol product line.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company recalled select sunscreens from Neutrogena and Aveeno for potential benzene contamination, an organic chemical compound known to cause cancer with high exposure.

Benzene is reportedly not part of the recalled ingredient lists for sunscreens, and Johnson & Johnson is looking into the matter, FOX Business previously reported.