How to tell when your sunscreen will expire

We’ve all been there – digging out that half-empty bottle of sunscreen from the back of the cupboard.

But the thrifty habit could be causing you to burn – as sunscreens lose their effectiveness after their expiry date.

So when is it time to part ways with your bottle of SPF? Martin Lewis has revealed a handy trick to tell if your sunscreen has expired – saving you from unnecessary waste.

Speaking on today’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ show, the money saving expert revealed all you need to do is turn your sunscreen bottle around in order to check it’s still good to use.

woman holding and applying suntan lotion on a beach
Using expired sunscreen could cause you to burn (stock photo). [Photo: Getty]

READ MORE: Your sun protection guide – SPF, UVB and UVA explained

He explained that each sunscreen bottle has a handy pot icon on the back of it which tells you how many months it is good for, e.g. 12M, 18M or 24M.

If you have owned that particular bottle of sunscreen for longer than this period – for instance, if you know you purchased that bottle of Nivea en route to Majorca 2016 – then it’s time to chuck it away.

Alternatively, if your bottle is from this time last summer, then it’s OK to keep using it. Waste not, want not.

Vector set of expiration date after opening, labels for products.
Vector set of expiration date after opening, labels for products.

Best of all – this trick doesn’t just work for sunscreen. Most skincare products also feature the useful pot icon, which proves invaluable when you’re doing a bathroom cabinet clear-out.

READ MORE: People share their worst sunburn pictures

While heeding Lewis’ advice may see you running out to buy more sunscreen bottles, you need not break the bank.

The personal finance guru also shared that cheap sunscreen is just as effective as any other – as long as you’re using the correct SPF (he advises SPF 30 and above).

Just don’t forget to apply it properly to avoid the risk of skin cancer.