Does sunscreen, insect repellent expire?


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It might have been a rainy day Wednesday, but this weekend, there’s a good chance you’ll have to crack open the sunscreen.

That means the insect repellent won’t be too far behind.

So, that has Jim from Spicer wanting to know: Do they expire?

Sunscreens are made to keep their original strength for three years. After that, the chemicals can start to break down.

The FDA does require sunscreen to have an expiration date unless the manufacturer can prove its product will remain stable for three years.

How long an insect repellent lasts varies by product. The EPA does not require expiration dates on insect repellent.

SC Johnson, the company that produces OFF, says a damaged can should be replaced.

According to John Smith, an engineer with Sawyer, says its products with DEET will last 10 years depending on storage. For its products with picaridin, those can last three years.

Tender Corporation, the company behind Natrapel, suggests replacing insect repellent every three years.

Brad Buehler, a spokesman for Vertellus – the company that sells DEET directly – recommends a new can of insect repellent every year.

If someone is concerned about insect repellent, Judi Anderson, communications director for the DEET Education Program, says they should call the number of the packaging of the repellent and ask.


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