Does Zinc Sunscreen Expire?

Sun & Earth tinted zinc cream in 3 shades held in hand in the water

A question that we get asked regularly is: Does zinc sunscreen expire?

Well, the answer is not as simple as a yes or no - hence why you’re reading this. We won’t bore you by reiterating that wearing sunscreen every day is essential to protect your skin against sun damage. But like most, you probably only wear it in the summer - or worse, just at the beach - and put it away until the next hot day. 

Sure, you look after your sunscreen, and it seems completely fine when reopening the tube a year later. However, there are a few things you should know about the longevity of your zinc!

Zinc oxide doesn’t expire…

Zinc Oxide is a natural metal element created from a combination of zincite mineral and oxygen. A sunscreen made of zinc will primarily contain non-nano zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, and because of its mineral nature, it does NOT lose its ability to protect you over time. Unlike regular sunscreen, zinc oxide sits on the skin to reflect UVs rather than absorbing them. In short, it technically doesn’t expire.

However, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration TGA assert that any sunscreen on the market must be labelled with an expiration date or “use-by” term, to prevent sunscreen from being degraded. And there are a few reasons why. 

However, your sunscreen can!

Any sunscreen - mineral or not - must have an expiry date because of both its ingredient list and its exposure to heat. See, zinc oxide isn’t the sole ingredient in your sunscreen

Within Sun & Earth tinted zinc cream, it is mixed with other natural components like coconut oil, cacao butter, beeswax, and olive oil. In other sunscreens, it can also be mixed with certain chemicals, which ultimately influence the stability and durability of a product

When a sunscreen changes in colour, smell, or consistency, it is a sign that the ingredients have become unstable, and therefore, no longer safe for your skin. 

One of the main reasons for an unstable sunscreen is heat exposure. Sunscreen melts off your skin when you’re sunbathing - which is why you’re always advised to re-apply every few hours. Well, the same phenomenon happens to the product in your tin left under the sun: it melts and becomes inconsistent. You can learn more about it by reading “This is why you should never leave your sunscreen in the sun”.

Along with heat, time always runs out for sunscreen. Most mineral sunscreens can last up to 24 months, as long as you keep them shaded and cool. This is the case for our SPF30 tinted zinc cream

However, we do advise to get a new tin if:

  • The colour has faded
  • The consistency has changed
  • You left it melting in the sun several times
  • You had it for more than 1 year and half
  • You’re almost empty!

Shop your preferred shade of the SPF30 tinted zinc cream.

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