Don't get burned: Check your sunscreen because it can expire - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Don't get burned: Check your sunscreen because it can expire

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People are learning the hard way when it comes to having too much fun in the sun. When you use sunscreen, you need to pay attention to more than just the SPF. Experts say the expiration date is just as important.

Now on sunny days it's important to put sunscreen on to make sure you don't get burnt, but if you don’t read the labels carefully you could leave your skin exposed to the sun.

ABC FOX Montana ran into one mother at the pool who says her family learned that the hard way. 

"We just used to keep our sunscreen, because we always buy too much and we would use it year after year and then we all got burned so now we typically throw it away.,” said Heidi Long, mother.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation sunscreens expire in one to two years.  This is something Long and her family learned after getting too much sun.

"I always read the label and always check the expiration date usually the bottles will say it somewhere," said Long.

ABC FOX Montana asked other parents if they knew their sunscreen expires.

Most of them didn't know that each year your sunscreen loses its protection for your skin.

One mom said, “I usually buy every season so I didn't know that."

While another mom said, “I didn't know that either, we usually get something once a year each summer because we do go through it so much but I'm sure there's been times that we put on and it's been expired."

To check when your sunscreen will expire you can usually find a stamp on the bottom of the can or the side. It's also important to check when you buy them in the store so you don't buy one that could be expired. 

Most sunscreen bottles say to reapply the product at least every two hours.

That's because sunscreen degrades over time and dilutes or runs off with exposure to sweat and other forms of moisture.

One mother says it's just a great habit to start kids at a young age

Dermatologists say the sun is strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, so this is time you need to be most aware of your exposure to the sun. has 9 tips on how you can keep your skin safe while still having a fun in the sun.

  1. Use sunscreen every day, even if it's cloudy.  
  2. Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen  at least 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. 
  3. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure it is water resistant and has a SPF of 30 or higher. 
  4. Reapply every two hours. Reapply every hour if you are swimming.
  5. Be extra careful around water and sand. These surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of getting a sunburn.
  6. Keep babies younger than 6 months old completely covered and in the shade.
  7. Limit the amount of time you’re in the sun between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. 
  8. If possible,  look for clothes made with special sun-protective materials.
  9. Accessorize with a hat that shades your face, neck, and ears and a pair of sunglasses. 
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