Sunscreen safety is in the spotlight as summer approaches its peak and a national recall of spray-on sunscreens from Neutrogena and Aveeno under Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., has caught consumers’ eyes.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has regulations that require commercial sunscreens to have stable formulations that last for at least three years, it can be tricky to know whether your SPF has reached its end.
Consumers who have purchased FDA-approved sunscreens can expect to find expiration date labels printed right on the product’s packaging.
For lotion tubes and bottles, the manufacturer’s production year and day are typically written in an alphanumeric code that can appear at the top or bottom of the container. The first two numbers represent the year the sunscreen was made while the next three numbers represent the calendar day. Expiration dates, on the other hand, are usually a bit clearer with an “EXP” marker followed by the month and year a sunscreen should go bad.