It always happens. It’s a brilliant Spring day. You’re eager to go out and frolic in the sun. Then you reach for your sunscreen, but realise when you touch its sand-caked exterior that it’s been 12 months or more since you used it. Is it still effective?

This is the question that’s been under discussion around the Costhetics water cooler. (We wanted a wine cooler, but the boss said no.)

We like questions at Costhetics, but we like answers even more. Our team conducted thorough research and put together a list of five tell-tale signs that the sunscreen you love isn’t loving you back.

Your Sunscreen Is Celebrating Its Fourth Birthday

As a rule of thumb, sunscreens are designed to remain effective for three years. Before you use your thumb, however, use your eyes. Check the bottle to see if it has a printed expiration date. Depending on its formulation, a product may lose its potency in less than three years.

Your Sunscreen Feels Like It’s Made of Sand

When it’s fresh, sunscreen feels smooth and creamy. Over time, however, two chief components of sunscreen – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – break down and start to clump together. This causes your once smooth sunscreen to go all lumpy.

Your Sunscreen is Having a Breakdown

When sunscreen is past its prime, you will notice that the ingredients begin to separate, with a liquid forming on top of the cream.

You Turned Up the Heat on Your Sunscreen

You should toss sunscreen that is less than three years old if you’ve stored it in your glove compartment or the boot of your car. Active ingredients in sunscreen are rendered powerless by long-term exposure to high heat.

Your Sunscreen Is Aggravating Your Skin

Even if your sunscreen passes all these tests, there’s one more test you need to do, and that’s a skin test. If your sunscreen has begun to deteriorate, it can trigger a contact allergy, and you don’t want red, irritated skin, do you? Smooth a small amount of the sunscreen in question on the inside of your arm and check to see if any reaction occurs.

May We Ask You Something?

Team Costhetics has a question for you: why do you have old sunscreen lying around? To protect your skin, you should be using your sunscreen each and every day. In the summer months, when you’re on the beach, you should apply sunscreen to your face and body and reapply it every two hours.

If you’re using it correctly, your sunscreen will never get old and neither will your skin.

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