Tips from docs, and the importance of the expiration date

Since we seem to have skipped spring and gone right into summer, it’s a good time to think about sunscreen, which should always be part of your warm-weather routine—even on cloudy days. That’s because some of the sun’s harmful rays can pass through clouds, smog and glass and lead to skin damage.

Memorial Day weekend may be one of your family’s first prime opportunities to enjoy some outdoor family fun in the sun, and it’s also when Don’t Fry Day—a creation of the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention—is observed. Yes, even sunscreen has a holiday! 

It’s a good reminder to check whether the products in your medicine cabinet are expired, and an opportunity to review some important tips from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 

For optimal safety, experts recommend discarding sunscreen when it reaches the expiration date. If your product isn’t marked, keep it no more than three years, according to Karen Burke, a dermatologist who contributes to the website of The Skin Cancer Foundation, skincancer.org. She suggests writing the purchase date on any sunscreen that doesn’t have an expiration date. For more information about why sunscreen expires, go to skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/does-sunscreen-become-ineffective-with-age.

Also, the doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital remind parents to apply sunscreen early and often: early in the day for maximize coverage, and early in your child’s life so they develop it as a lifelong habit. For more tips, go to 700childrens.nationwidechildrens.org/sunscreen-sun-safety-tips.