Does Tanning Lotion Expire?

Does Tanning Lotion Expire

Does tanning lotion expire? Most self-care, beauty, and makeup products have an expiration date on them. This date represents the day you should stop using the product and get a new bottle. Depending on the type of beauty product you’re using, you’ll find different ranges of shelf life and expiration dates.

For instance, some makeup products like mascara and eyeshadow have shorter shelf lives because they can collect bacteria and cause eye infections if expired. Other products like lotion, shampoo and conditioner, and tanning lotion have longer shelf lives.

Are you asking yourself, does tanning lotion expire? We’ve got answers! Read on to learn everything you need to know about the shelf life of tanning lotion if it expires, and how long you have until you need to toss your tanner and get a new one.

Does Self Tanner Expire?

Tanning lotion comes in many shapes and sizes. Some tanning lotions, self-tanners, and tanning mousses look different and behave differently on the skin. While tanning lotion has a shelf-life and will expire eventually, do all tanning products? Does self-tanner expire?

The answer is yes. Like most cosmetics and tanning lotions, self-tanner does have an expiration date. In other words, there is a specific life span of your self-tanner until it will no longer function like it used to.

Why does self-tanner expire? Let’s break it down! Essentially, the lifespan has to do with the ingredients, chemical makeup, and more. All ingredients expire naturally at some point. Even with the use of preservatives and chemicals, products still expire.

The most important ingredient that influences the expiration date of self-tanners is known as DHA, or dihydroxyacetone. This ingredient is responsible for the smell most self-tanners are associated with. This ingredient goes out of date eventually and can lose pigment when you try to tan.

Read on to learn how long you have before self-tanner expires!

How Long Does Self Tanner Last Before It Expires?

The majority of self-tanners have a shelf life of about one year after use or the opening of the product. If your product is sealed and unopened, don’t begin your countdown until the first time you use it.

Other self-tanners have a longer shelf life, too, so if you see a “best if used by” label on your self-tanner, the date listed is a good indicator of when your self-tanner will expire. Always look at the label of your tanning products to gauge how long you have to use them.

Best Self Tanners That Are Highly Rated

1. Coco & Eve Self Tanner Mousse Kit – All Natural Sunless Tanning Mousse

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2. MINETAN Body Skin 1 Hour Express Dark Self Tanner Treatment Foam

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3. St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse

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4. Beauty By Earth Self Tanner

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5. Tan Physics True Color Sunless Tanner Tanning Lotion

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Can You Use Expired Tanning Lotion?

You’ve shaved your legs, exfoliated your skin, prepped your clothes, pulled out your tanning lotion, and are ready to spend a relaxing night tanning your skin. When you look at your bottle, you realize it expired a few months ago.

Can you use expired tanning lotion? The answer is yes, using expired tanning lotion won’t hurt your skin or cause a reaction. However, it’s often not ideal to use expired tanning lotion as it may produce an imperfect tan result. If you do choose to use an expired tanning lotion, you risk getting a splotchy, uneven tan, so it’s important to weigh your options beforehand.

How to Tell if Tanning Lotion is Expired

Does Tanning Lotion Expire

Most tanning lotion and other self-tanning products indicate their expiration date on the bottle. Whether on the lid, on the side of the bottle, or even printed on the bottom or the label, you should be able to find some mark of how long you can expect your tanning lotion to last.

However, if you can’t find this mark, if it’s worn off, or if it’s not readable, don’t panic. There are a few ways to tell if your tanning lotion is expired. Let’s take a closer look at some indicators for how to tell if tanning lotion is expired.


Likely the first thing you notice when you crack open your bottle of tanning lotion is the smell. Most lotions have a beachy, coconut, or summer-like smell. However, if your tanning lotion has expired, you may notice a different, adverse smell.

If you’re unsure whether your tanning lotion is still usable, check the smell. If you notice a particularly bad smell that’s different than the usual tanning lotion scent, it’s probably time to get a new one.


Next, the consistency of your tanning lotion may change after your lotion has lived past its shelf life. Most tanning lotions and products are made with oils, water, and other ingredients. After a few years, these ingredients begin to separate, altering the consistency of your tanning lotion to a watery, mousse formula to a chunky, separated, uneven consistency.

If the consistency of your tanning lotion has changed, the ingredients won’t be able to work together to produce the tan you love. Plus, the texture may allow for uneven distribution on the skin and an uneven, splotchy tan. It’s best to find a new tanner if you notice changes in your tanning lotion’s consistency.

What Happens if You use Expired Self Tanner?

Using an expired tanner isn’t usually dangerous. If your tanning product contains harmful chemicals, toxins, or dangerous ingredients, it may cause a reaction, but most self-tanners are made with natural ingredients and gentle preservatives that aren’t harmful when expired. So, in most cases, you won’t experience any dangerous side effects from using an expired self-tanner.

However, it’s best to avoid it if possible. An expired self-tanner won’t be able to give you the results you’re looking for. You’ll likely have an uneven tan, splotchy outcome, and even have a worse smell on your skin after using an expired tanner.

The general rule of thumb is to avoid this if possible, but if you accidentally use an expired tanner, don’t worry. Aside from a bad tan, you shouldn’t experience any negative reactions.


Like most beauty and tanning products, self-tanner and tanning lotion don’t last forever. However, they tend to last a long time. If you use these products regularly, you should be able to avoid running out of them. Simply keep an eye on the expiration date and pay attention to things like consistency, smell, and tan outcomes.

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