Feeling Burned by Expensive Sunscreen? Save Money Using These 6 Easy Tips

Best sunscreen
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No one wants to spend this summer huddled up in the house with cardboard over the windows to keep out the sun’s damaging rays.

We want to be outside at the beach or a park, or having a picnic. Those kinds of activities aren’t as much fun in the dark.

But you need to protect yourself because too much sun exposure causes wrinkles, sunburn and even skin cancer.

You already know to stay covered up, wear a hat and slather on the sunscreen. But did you also know sunscreen has an expiration date?

The Skin Cancer Foundation says sunscreen that’s more than 3 years old should be tossed in the trash because it no longer offers the sun protection you need.

Sunscreen is Expensive

The cheapest bottle of sunscreen I could find at my local Publix was $7.79, and that was on sale! At the neighborhood Walgreens, the least expensive brand cost $8.29.

Is sunscreen made of some rare earth mineral I’m not aware of? Perhaps its active ingredients are harvested from the north side of the tallest mountain in a rural section of central Europe?

I don’t know why it’s so expensive, but it’s worth the price to keep us safe from sun rays that want to set us ablaze.

How to Save Money on Sunscreen

Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Try these tips to save money and get the most out of your sunscreen.

  • Sometimes a higher sun protection factor (SPF) means a higher price tag. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun’s harmful rays. But no sunscreen will block them 100%. Save your money and don’t buy sunscreens with a super-high SPF.
  • Make sure you’re using sunscreen correctly so you get the best results and aren’t wasting your efforts (or lotion!) by getting a sunburn anyway. Always apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go out in the sun so it has time to absorb. Keep rubbing it on every two hours.
  • We usually think of groceries when it comes to buying in bulk, but membership stores like Sam’s Club and Costco usually sell packs of sunscreen that contain multiple bottles at a lower cost than comparable individual products.
  • Sign up for services that pay you to shop to recoup some of the money you spend on sunscreen and overall save money on groceries.

Whether you’re going to the beach, camping or an amusement park, or just gardening in the backyard, don’t forget your sun protection. I know it’s sticky, goopy and a real pain to put on, but future you will thank you for it.

Disclosure: A toast to savings! Thanks for allowing us to place affiliate links in this post.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She practically bathes in sunscreen since she lives in Florida, which seems to be the sunburn capital of the world.