SPF: How old is too old?

·2-min read

If you're heading out in the sun, you must make sure your skin is protected. But is it OK to bring out last year's leftover sunscreen?

If you have a decent amount of lotion left in your bottle at the end of summer, it's very tempting to stow it away in a cupboard in the winter and bring it out in the spring to finish the product off. But does it still offer good enough protection against the sun? Boots Soltan Scientific Advisor, Clare O'Connor, recommends doing the squeeze test.

"Squeeze a little out, if it smells good and is shiny and glossy it probably is still good," she advises. "If it's dull, grainy, separated or smells bad, I would recommend disposing of it. For full protection, never use sun cream that has been opened for over 12 months. Always store unopened bottles in a cool dark place."​

When it comes to choosing your SPF, Clare recommends picking one that is suitable for your skin type.

"For the U.K., if you are very fair skinned, use SPF 50+ with 5* UVA protection. More Mediterranean type skins can use SPF 30 and darker skin tones should always use a minimum SPF 15," she adds, before recommending choosing a product that has 5* UVA protection.

And once you've picked up the right SPF for you, how should you apply it correctly?

"Apply sun cream 15 minutes before heading out into the sun to allow it to sink into the skin. As a guide two tablespoons should provide enough sunscreen to cover your body, and be sure to rub it in properly. Don't forget to reapply every two hours and cover up with clothing, or spend time in the shade to reduce sun exposure," Clare advises.

Top sun protection products include Soltan Active Lip Suncare Stick SPF30​, Soltan Once Kids 8hr Protect & Play Sun Lotion SPF30, and Soltan Face Protect & Moisturise SPF30.