It is easy to tell when your household items are bad or expired and need to be thrown away, but it isn’t as easy when it comes to skincare products. It’s not always clear if the shampoo, foundation, mascara or even lipstick is okay to keep using, or if it is time to trash them.
It is important to understand the expiration date of your skincare products if you don’t want to risk experiencing any skin problems.
You’ve opened a product and it’s been some time, and you’re not sure if you should still use it — or you’ve just bought a new product, and you’re confused because there are two dates written on the bottom.
Not all skincare products have expiration dates and this is because they don’t have to. In the United States, only products like sunscreens and products for acne, which are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, have official expiration dates on them.
However, other skincare products are left to the discretion of the manufacturer. Brands from other countries but sold in the US also operate under the US laws.
Do Skin Care Products Expire?
Checking your skin care product for the expiration date is key because buying an expired product would mean you can’t use it. This is also true for skin care products with a ‘Period After Opening’ date: 2 months, 6 months, 12 months or 13 months. For products with the ‘Period After Opening’ date, it is important to use within the specified period.
How Long Have You Been Using the Product?
Also, it is important to remember when you opened the skincare product. Even when you get a skin care product that is freshly produced, once the skincare product is opened, the shelf life starts ticking.
The more you open the product to use, the more it is exposed to moisture, oxygen, bacteria and possibly sunlight. This means that skin care product contamination could occur at any time.
When In Doubt, Throw It Out!
Since it is better safe than sorry, your intuition is also necessary in determining if your skincare product is safe for use; given that environmental factors also affect the efficiency of your product, such as heat.
Should your product start to separate, for example, having a layer of oil on top of the cream or ointment, it is probably no longer desirable for use. If you have any doubt at all, we suggest throwing it out.
Considering this before using skincare products that are “iffy” will save you from skin irritation or other skin problems which will cost more to treat.
Is It Time to Replace That Skincare Product? Signs Your Skin Care Product Has Expired
Here are some tips and signs for how to tell if your skin care products aren’t great anymore.
Shampoo – While it’s for your hair and not your skin, we felt it helpful to include here. Shampoos last longer than most skincare products and are even exhausted faster than some, like sunscreens.
Your shampoos can last years if the container is tightly closed. Once you notice a change in texture or fragrance of the shampoo, it is time to throw it out and get a new one.
Soaps & Cleansers – Bar soaps last a very long time and are usually exhausted before any changes occur but liquid soaps and cleansers might change color, texture or fragrance. This tells you it is contaminated.
Suncreens are as the name implies: to prevent sunburn. This means you are to wear it every day. However, sunscreens typically last quite a long time for many, probably because some people apply a thin layer each time.
They officially take two years to expire but may become bad if left in sunlight or near heat. If you find yourself throwing out significant amounts of sunscreen, maybe opt for a smaller bottle to avoid wasting any product.
Serums are not easily contaminated as they are dispensed from opaque tubes or a pump bottle. There is also not as much concern about UV exposure and thus, degradation.
Moisturizers are a part of the daily routine. It shouldn’t be difficult to notice a change in color, texture or smell. Once this occurs, it is ready to be discarded. Many times people will go through the entire container well before the expiration date or period after opening.
Liquid Foundations are usually effective for use up to a year. Also, some foundations require dipping with sponge blenders to be able to use them. These could expire in six months due to easy contamination.
Mascaras are for your lashes, but again, we felt it helpful to add to this list. Mascaras do not last as long because of the site of application. More so, if you develop pink eye or any other eye infection during use, you need to discard it. However, other signs to look out for are clumps, changed color, and thick texture.
If kept properly, your lipstick and nail polish should last up to a year. However, your lipstick could dry up, change color or crack while your nail polish could dry up or form clumps. It is necessary to discard at this time.
And of course, the most obvious sign of your skin care product being expired is a skin reaction after using it. This is obviously not the best way to determine if the product is bad but if you’ve already been using it for a good amount of time without having a reaction, it’s likely happening now because the product is no good anymore.
If you have sensitive skin you likely have a better understanding of what your skin likes and doesn’t like. Time to replace it and keep taking great care of your skin.