So here's the deal... I am a super irritated consumer of sunscreen. I see warnings all over the news and internet about expired sunscreen and how it could harm your child. We wouldn't want our innocent little babies to suffer a sunburn, now would we?
Here's the problem....
there's no flippin' expiration date on the bottle!
... or the 12 other bottles crammed in my cabinet.
Before I had kids, I didn't even know sunscreen lotion expired. Now that I have two little ones, I find myself tossing sunscreen left and right in fear of it being expired. I search, and search... and search the bottle over and over trying to find this magic date to calm my fears. As I'm trying to run out the door to the pool, I grab the "newest looking" bottle and throw the older ones in the back. Here's to hoping this one is still good!
Today I started packing for vacation. First order of business was to organize the pool bag.
1. Floaties - check!
2. Sunhats - check!
3. Swim Diapers - check, check, check!
4. Sunscreen... and here we go again...
As I am staring at easily $100+ in sun lotion, I decided to investigate this issue. Yes, I first spent 10 minutes of my already busy day reading each bottle, top to bottom. Then, I called each company separately to get some answers... and I was pleasantly surprised!
Here's what I learned, and I hope it makes your summer season a little easier!
I have 7 bottles of Banana Boat sunscreen, and not one has an expiration date. BUT, they all have a super special code on them. After talking to a representative from the company, I learned this trick!
1. Find the 5 digit + 2 letter code. If you have a tube, it will be stamped at the top (see picture below). If you have a spray can, it will be on the very bottom.
2. On this bottle, the code reads "11036LC". This tells when the lotion was manufactured. The first two numbers are the year (11=2011). The next three numbers are the day of the year (036 = 36th day of the year = February 5th).
3. The Banana Boat representative told me that each bottle has a 3 year shelf life. Add 3 years to the manufacturing date, and you will get you expiration date. In this example, this bottle expired on February 5, 2014!
A representative with Coppertone told me all bottles should have an actual expiration date stamped on the bottle. On the tube, it would be located in a white rectangle on the back (see picture below). Obviously my white rectangle is empty. If you have a spray can, it should be printed on the bottom.
Before offering anything, the Coppertone representative asked if I know when I purchased the lotion and stated they have a 3 year shelf life. I want to point out that this does not matter. Stores can keep lotions in stock for years, yes YEARS! In April 2012 I purchased a 2 fl oz bottle of Coppertone Pure & Simple for my diaper bag, and today I found an expiration date stamped on top - 11/2012... SERIOUSLY???
... that's not 3 years.
Anyways, in my cabinet I have two bottles of Coppertone lotion with no expiration date. Coppertone offered to supply with me a postage paid shipping label to return my lotion to them. Once received, they will ship me back two brand new bottles! Score - that's easily $20 in lotion, free!
If you have Coppertone bottles with missing expiration dates:
1. Call 866-288-3330.
2. Give the bottle's UPC bar code, your name, and address.
3. Return your bottle using the postage paid shipping label Coppertone will provide.
4. Get a brand new bottle, FREE!!
Considering these easily run you $10 a piece, it is definitely worth the call!
Thank you Aveeno....
For those who have never seen a sunscreen bottle properly labeled, here it is...
... and of course, this one expires this month!
Have a safe, sunburn free summer!