Stopping the Suncream Overload


Many of us have several bottles of suncream hanging around and leftover from last year. I for one always seem to buy extra bottles or tubes as I can never find it when I need it, my husband likes a different brand to me and my son likes a stick on his face, has a roll on for school and then a normal bottle for the rest of his body. It’s easy to see how they quickly multiply.

I can quite easily get to the next year and have at least 6 or 7 half used tubes sitting in the cupboard.
Did you know that suncream expires?

According to the NHS most suncreams last 2 to 3 years, BUT you probably didn’t know that there is a “secret” symbol on the back of suncream telling you how long it lasts:

Too many bottles of open suncream is wasteful and creates clutter.

This is all very well and handy but how on earth are you supposed to know when you bought the suncream????

The reality is that we shouldn’t really have any left over after a holiday - unless you’ve bought LOADS! Guidelines state that you should apply approximately 2 tablespoons of suncream to a swimming attire cladded body AND reapply approximately every two hours.

On top of that, if you’ve left your suncream out on your sun-lounger or by the pool and left it on a shelf in the sun when the you got home, it will deteriorate quicker. Suncream does not like to be stored in heat or light.


  1. USE A SHARPIE OR MARKER PEN TO WRITE ON THE BOTTLE THE DATE AND MONTH YOU BOUGHT IT (you’ll then easily be able to tell when the “secret” amount of months is up and you’ll be able to tell which tubes you need to use up first)

  2. IF YOU HAVE ONLY GOT A TINY BIT LEFT IN THE BOTTLE, DON’T HANG ON TO IT - just use the dregs up like holiday smelling moisturiser and get rid of the old container.

  3. TRY NOT TO BUY TOO MUCH - easier said than done but the more you have, the more you will have left over and lets face it, suncream isn’t cheap so if you are throwing away half full bottles, you are throwing away money.

  4. MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING ENOUGH SUNCREAM - this will not only stop you burning but also make sure you are not left with too much left over.

It’s also worth noting that some brands are more ethical than others. In my continuing commitment to do my bit for our planet, I am buying brands that:

  • rare reef-safe and free of oxybenzone - my personal favourite is Green People and;

  • recycle their packaging - Kiehls is a great example

So enjoy your summer holiday, make the most of the sunshine and don’t be left with lots of half used suncream!!

Tips for making sure your summer doesn’t become cluttered.