Do Tanning Lotions Expire? (How Long Do Tanning Lotions Last?)

woman using tanning lotion

Tanning lotions are a great way to give you bronzed skin, keep your skin hydrated and even enhance the effects of your natural tan. But do tanning lotions expire?

Yes tanning lotions will expire with time. As with all beauty and skincare products, tanning lotions do have a shelf life. They will stop being effective and could smell or look different after this time.

Let’s take a more detailed look at tanning lotions and expiration.

Do Tanning Lotions Expire?

As with all cosmetic and skincare products, tanning lotions will expire. Even with the preservatives used in the lotion, the ingredients will eventually expire, meaning the lotion will not work in the same way.

The good news is, it is unlikely to be a danger to you if you use a lotion that has expired. With eye make-up products, for example, using them after the expiration date can lead to nasty eye infections. This is not the case with tanning lotions. But the product probably won’t work anymore.

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is often included ingredient and will affect the shelf life of a sunless tanning lotion. DHA is the pigment that reacts with your skin to give you a long-lasting sunless tan, and over time, it will expire. This ingredient will also start to smell funny after a while. Keep in mind that not all tanning lotions have DHA included so this too can mean a longer shelf life if that’s the case. For more on stopping this smell – how to get rid of self tanner smell.

If you are using a tanning lotion to enhance the effects of your natural tan from using sunbeds or sunbathing outside, you may not see the same effects if the lotion has expired. The ingredients lose their abilities over time, making the product less effective.

If your tanning lotion promises SPF protection, it is important to replace expired bottles, as using an expired lotion and expecting sun protection could lead to burning, if the ingredients aren’t working.

How Long Do Tanning Lotions Last?

Now we know that tanning lotions can, in fact, expire, you probably want to know, how long is tanning lotion good for?

Most tanning lotions will last for a year after you have opened them. Follow the one-year rule if you can’t see an expiry date on the bottle. Otherwise, use that date as guidance.

There are some signs to look out for to check if your tanning lotion has expired. The smell-test is a good place to start! Most tanning lotions smell amazing, so if you opened a bottle a while ago and the smell has changed and isn’t good anymore, it’s a sure sign that the lotion has been around too long.

Looking at the lotion is another way to tell. Cream-based lotions may start to change color and appear more yellow or green. Oil-based lotions may separate to the extent that a quick shake of the bottle doesn’t fix the separation. Both are clear signs that it’s time to invest in a new lotion.

It is possible, however, that even if the smell and appearance of the tanning lotion are fine, that the bottle has still expired. If it has been more than a year since you opened it, or it is past the date printed on the bottle, then the product probably won’t work as well as it did before.

To enhance the shelf-life of your tanning lotion, always make sure that the lid is on tightly, and store the bottle in a cool, dark place. This will avoid contamination and overheating of the product, which can both lead to faster expiration.

Related Questions

Is it OK to Use Expired Tanning Oil?

Whilst it will not be a danger to you to use expired tanning oil, the ingredients will not work in the same way after they have expired, and you will not get the benefits that you might have hoped for.

This could lead to an uneven appearance if it is a sunless tanning product, or the effects of a natural tan enhancing oil not delivering on their promises. It’s best to replace the bottle and start again.

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