Does Tanning Lotion Expire? How Long Will Tanning Lotion Last?

How Long Will Tanning Lotion Last

As summers approach, the use of tanning lotions increases because no one wants to sit under the scorching sun for hours to develop a tan. People who desire beautiful bronze golden skin tone love to wear tanning lotions.

It is when they start searching for the bottles of tanning lotions that have been sitting all year round in the drawers. At the same time, a question ponders the mind- does tanning lotion expire, and if so, when and how?

If you are also one of them, this article will provide all the info you are looking for regarding tanning lotion expiration and how to maximize its shelf-life. Keep reading!

How Long Will My Tanning Lotion Last?

There could be two scenarios when we talk about the expiry of tanning lotions-

1. You Haven’t Opened The Bottle Of Tanning Lotion Yet

If the bottle is unopened, the effectiveness of your tanning lotion could stay for three years. So, if some sale or discount is happening, you can buy them in bulk and use them for three long years to maintain the stunning bronze golden glow.

Properly sealed lotion in which ingredients are not exposed to the air retains its properties and can be used. Put the bottle safely for future use.

Even though the ingredients of tanning lotion are not exposed to the air, the breaking process still happens inside the bottle. However, this process is very slow. On an estimate, the chemicals and other components in the unopened tanning lotions separate and lose their effectiveness after three years.

2. You Have Opened The Bottle Of Tanning Lotion

Generally, the shelf life of tanning lotions is around one year. If you use the product regularly, the bottle will finish easily before its due date.

However, if you are an occasional user, it is important to know that once you have opened the bottle, the ingredients are exposed to the air. It means their tendency to separate and become less effective has increased. Still, they will give results for 12 months without any issues.

But once this period is over, the product will start losing its functionality and eventually becomes unstable. It happens mainly because of the expiration of DHA, dihydroxyacetone- the major component of tanning lotion.

At the same time, the water content of the lotion will start evaporating, leaving behind only DHA, which will tend to become more concentrated and denser. It will cause a decline in tan quality.

What Affects The Lifespan Of Tanning Lotions?

It’s not only DHA but other components as well, like preservatives, that start deteriorating after a period of time. The function of preservatives is to retain the product’s shelf life.

As a product comes in contact with air, it is the preservative that makes a protective layer around it and starts expiring first. As soon these preservatives expire by coming in contact with air often, there is nothing left to protect DHA from expiration.

The cumulative effects of all these lead the tanning lotion to expire.

What Will Happen If I Use Expired Tanning Lotion?

It is advised not to use any expired product- be it a cosmetic, skincare product, or tanning lotions. It is better to dispose of the bottle past their due date.

While most tanning lotions claim to have organic ingredients and preservatives, making them non-toxic past their due date, it is better not to trust them completely. Certain chemicals have non-toxic effects on the skin after some time and can be detrimental to the skin.

Using expired tanning lotions can also lead to the development of uneven tanned patches and paler tanning. It can also cause skin irritation and mild rashes.

At the same time, even if the tanning lotion is not damaging the skin, it will not be able to darken the skin tone. Applying expired tanning lotions will be a waste of time and effort. Therefore, it is better to dispose of them.

How To Increase The Shelf-life Of Tanning Lotion?

Taking a few measures can help extend the life of tanning lotion. Here are the do’s and don’ts to increase and maximize the usability of tanning lotions-


  • Always store your tanning lotion at room temperature, anywhere between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Avoid exposing the tanning lotion to direct sunlight. Heat and UV rays can affect the lifespan of your lotion negatively.
  • Close the lid after every use as it will prevent the lotion from being exposed to the air and bacteria, which can accelerate the decomposition of this product.
  • Try to finish the bottle before expiry to experience the intended results.


  • Do not leave your tanning lotion bottles inside the car as the temperature of your vehicle may reach critical temperatures, resulting in the tanner melting.
  • Do not leave the bottle open in the air, and try to avoid air and sun exposure.
  • Do not store the bottle of tanning lotion in moist and humid places as the chemicals present in them may react with water, ruining your lotion forever. Also, humid places attract bacterial and fungal infections that again aid in degrading your product.

Final Words

So, the answer to whether tanning lotions expire is yes; they do expire, and using an expired product can cause more harm than help. Not only because it is less effective, but it can also be toxic to your skin. So check carefully and never use an expired tanning lotion.

It is better to be safe than sorry!

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