The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 2-3 years, and in order to make these claims the sunscreen formula has to undergo a series of real time or accelerated stability tests to prove that the ingredient is still active up until the time of expiration. It’s important to point out at this point that if you’re using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a tube should not last that long. Most clients don’t realize that their sunscreen has a limited time in which it can be used effectively, so it may be a good idea to point out the expiration date to the client when they purchase their next sunscreen product from you. Most expiration dates can be found stamped on the crimp of the product packaging tube or printed on the bottom of the product carton. If sunscreens have expired there is a good chance they are still good for a few months; however once you reach the expiration date there is no guarantee that the level of activity is still present.
Here are some great sunscreen tips:
• The best place to store your SPF product is in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat.
• Buy smaller sizes of your SPF product vs. larger “30% extra for free” products, which will inevitably expire before you get a chance to use them all and you’ll end up having to throw them out.
• Don’t use any SPF formulation that contains fragrance or perfume as this may cause hyperpigmentation and, in some cases, a photosensitized reaction on the skin.
• If your client has a more sensitive skin she or he would be better off using a physical SPF (containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), as these formulations tend to have a larger molecular size that does not penetrate and potentially cause irritation.
• Try to look for a formulation that can potentially deliver additional skin health benefits, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to the skin, as these types of sunscreens help to minimize the amount of free radicle damage to the skin, thereby offering a more advanced level of protection.
• Many clients are hesitant to use sunscreen because they feel the formulations are too thick, heavy or pore clogging. Professional products, however, use new technology that delivers more sophisticated SPFs, which have the ability to benefit different skin types and conditions. This allows you to prescribe a sunscreen that’s perfectly customized to your clients’ needs.
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