Nicole Davies

Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a Marine spouse and mother of three daughters, ages 16, 10, and 7. I have been a stay-at-home mom most of their lives while also pursuing my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In the past I have worked as a social worker for child welfare in the state of Pennsylvania. I have also taught preschool for ages 2.5 - 4. During my master’s program I interned as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital working with adults, teens, and kids. My ultimate goal is to become an independently licensed therapist. Our family has lived in Onslow County for 10 of the last 15 years, which has given my children a stability that is rare among military families. While NC has been my home for several years now, I am still a Yankee at heart! I will always choose a Philly cheesesteak over a pulled-pork sandwich. In addition to taking care of my family and my educational pursuits, I enjoy traveling to destinations near and far; a novel in which I can get lost; and chatting with friends over a good cup of coffee.


Sunscreen Expiration Dates

The Sunscreen Collection

I’ve been on my soapbox once this week already about the use of sunscreen (read that post here), but I wanted to add one more practical tip about sunscreen before I stepped off that soapbox completely.  And here’s the tip:

Make sure the sunscreen you’re using is not expired!

If you’re anything like me, you have about 300 bottles of sunscreen around the house.  It seems like I pick up lots of bottles of the stuff each year, and it’s hard to remember which are new and fresh.  A couple of years ago I was in just that situation and we were getting ready to head off on a trip to the sunny Caribbean and I got worried about which bottles were new enough to actually do the job.  I thought I could just look on the back of the bottles for an expiration date and do a little weeding out and be good to go.  Once again, I was completely wrong!

If I haven’t already confessed to this, I am both paranoid and cheap, so I hated the idea of throwing out all that sunscreen almost as much as I worried about using the bottles with no date on them.  So I did a little digging and found that most of the bottles without expiration dates on them had funny little codes that included both letters and numbers.  Those bottles also had toll-free numbers or web addresses on them to use to contact the company.  So that’s just what I did!

Here’s what I learned…those codes tell you when the sunscreen was manufactured, if you just learn how to read them.  And I learned that the key to deciphering those codes is different for each manufacturer.  I also learned that some of the sunscreen that I’d more recently purchased was not all that fresh when I bought it!

So…I spent an hour or two calling the toll-free numbers on my sunscreen bottles, deciphering the codes, and using a sharpie marker to write the expiration dates on the bottles myself.  It was a little bit of a hassle for sure, but I left for vacation sure that the sunscreen I was taking was going to be effective for my family.  I avoided wasting money by tossing all those bottles of sunscreen that were still good, but lacked clearly marked expiration dates.  And I must admit that I’m such a geek that I also found the whole thing kind of fun and educational!

Okay, I am stepping off my sunscreen soapbox for now.  If anybody has any other sun safety tips, I’d love to hear them!

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2 Comments on “Sunscreen Expiration Dates”

  • Onslow Theckla Onslow Theckla August 5th, 2010 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much for passing along this information, Karen. I bet many people (myself included) don’t always think to check the expiration date on their sunscreen, but it is absolutely critical to do so in order to ensure they are well protected from the sun. Great tips, indeed.

    Two more important things to remember:
    1. Always make sure your sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF number refers to UVB only. Look for a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” which means it protects against both types of harmful rays.

    2. Heat can decrease the effectiveness of sunscreens, so make sure to store your products inside and not outside, or in a hot car.

    The American Cancer Society has a lot of great information, if anyone wants to know more!

  • Karen August 5th, 2010 10:28 pm

    Good points, Theckla. My girls are off to the beach again tomorrow and Katie (the too-pink one in the picture with my first sunburn post) has already asked me to apply her sunscreen before she heads out. Maybe they are learning?!

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