Product Expiration: When Good Skin Care Products Go Bad
Did you know that many active ingredients found in common skin care and makeup products have a limited shelf life? Once these ingredients pass their expiration dates the product can either become completely ineffective or worse: they can cause damage to your skin.
Shelf life of common products
Cleansers & Moisturizers: Most products stay good for 6 months from opening. However, products that are natural or organic can expire much sooner. So, make sure to take notice if you use those types of products.
Toner: Many toners can last up to 1 year from their initial use. Using an expired toner can cause irritation and dryness of the skin. Make sure to stay clear of any toner that is past its prime.
Sunscreen: Many sunscreens can stay good for up to 3 years from when they are produced. Signs that your sunscreen has gone bad (beyond the expiration date on the packaging) can include separation, crystallization, the changing of color, and/or a foul odor. The biggest hazard of using expired sunscreen is that it has a lower ability to protect your skin from UV rays. In many cases, using old sunscreen is equal to using no sunscreen at all.
Makeup: Liquid or cream based makeup products (foundations or concealers) typically go bad within 6 months of being opened. Mineral or powder based makeup products can remain good for up to one year after opening.
Vitamin C Products: Vitamin C tends to oxidize rapidly once its exposed to air (i.e. packaging is breached), resulting in ineffectiveness. As many vitamin C containing products go bad you’ll notice them turn a dark yellow color.
A word on bacteria
Any makeup or skin care product has the potential to be contaminated by bacteria. The use of bacteria-contaminated products can cause irritation and acne breakouts. Liquid or gel based products, in particular, are extremely susceptible to bacteria development. Packaging is important as well – products in open jar type containers that are exposed to air and applied by scooping the product out with fingers are more prone to bacteria than products that come in a pump style container.
Products like serums or mascara and applicators like makeup brushes and loofahs should be frequently inspected and replaced often.
Always check the expiration date
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of periodically checking the expiration dates on all your products. If you find any products that are past their prime make sure to throw them out!
Have any tips or stories about expired product? We’d love to hear from you in comments!