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Why You Need To Look For This Symbol On Your Sun Cream Bottles

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Why You Need To Look For This Symbol On Your Sun Cream Bottles

Those in the UK are bracing themselves for the incoming heat wave and many will be armed with suncream ready to protect themselves and their families from the risk of burning in the sun.

But, those keen to protect themselves from harmful UV rays and the risk of skin cancer that is associated with hot weather, may not realise that sun lotion, like all other cosmetic products, can actually expire.

In fact, people should be aware of the symbol on the back of sun cream bottles which will give users information as to when products like sun cream will be out of date and therefore no longer effective in protecting them against the sun.

People may not realise that sun lotion, like all other cosmetic products, can actually expire. Credit: Alamy.
People may not realise that sun lotion, like all other cosmetic products, can actually expire. Credit: Alamy.
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In the shape of an open jar, the handy symbol is placed on all beauty products and shows a number inside it next to an ‘M’.

The number that’s inside the jar reflects how long to continue using the product from the moment someone opens it.

For example, ‘12M’ means it should be used within 12 months of being opened, whilst ‘18M’ means it should be used within 18 months.

And for sun cream especially, it’s important not to ignore the symbol as after the expiry date ends, the active ingredients in the product begin to decompose and can become ineffective.

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Elsewhere, beauty buyers have been warned by a scientist that using a moisturiser with added SPF may not provide adequate protection against UV rays in the summer months.

People should be aware of the symbol on the back of sun cream bottles. Credit: Alamy.
People should be aware of the symbol on the back of sun cream bottles. Credit: Alamy.

Bruce Green, a chartered scientist and founder of SOS Serum Skincare said: “Whilst double-duty products may make steps shorter and seem more efficient, you cannot always rely on your daily moisturisers or make-up products to give you adequate protection.”

He explained that in these products, ‘often the SPF is too low (SPF 15) and to maintain an optimum level of sun protection requires regular application and re-application.’

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“If you’re using a serum or cream that is less than SPF 30, you should opt for a higher SPF in order to have effective skin protection,” he added. 

It’s important not to ignore the symbol as the product can become ineffective. Credit: Pexels.
It’s important not to ignore the symbol as the product can become ineffective. Credit: Pexels.

“There’s also the matter of whether you’re relying on a makeup product with SPF such as foundation to protect against SPF, as this won’t give adequate sun protection.”

Instead, Bruce suggests that Brits should take care to ‘wear a separate SPF product and apply this last in your skincare steps’.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Shutterstock

Topics: Beauty, Shopping, News, Weather, Health

Gabriella Ferlita
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