What Can Happen When You Use Expired Skin Care Products
Think about your fridge. When your food is past its prime, what to do comes easy to you. That sour milk goes straight in the trash. Just as you want to observe food expiration dates, you should do the same with your skin care products. It’s never going to be quite as simple to part with that expensive eye cream you were never able to finish up, but that doesn’t make it any less of a must. Eventually, everything in your skin care collection expires, and while it’s unfortunate your favorite face creams and products can’t last forever, you’ll need to get rid of those expired products before they negatively impact your skin. If you aren’t convinced your decades’ old serums are really ready to be tossed, just wait until you hear how expired products can impact your complexion.
Why Expired Skin Care Products Need to Go
What’s really going to happen to you if you slather your skin with expired skin care products? Well, it could be worse than you think. According to the FDA, a product’s shelf life refers to the length of time you can expect a product to look and act as expected and stay safe to use. Once your products have expired, no matter how much you may have left to use up, they lose their effectiveness. That means at the very least you’re coating your complexion with something that isn’t delivering the benefits you seek. Of course, the effects of using expired products can be worse than a loss of potency, including irritation and breakouts. Better safe than sorry, aka, it’s time to trash anything out of date.
When You Should Toss Expired Products
Beauty products aren’t always handily marked with an expiration date like your bread and butter, which means it may not be so obvious when you should ditch your products. The general guideline you should know is that skin care products typically last for six months to one year. If you’re outside of that window, it may be time for some spring (or summer, or fall, or winter) cleaning.
If you aren’t sure exactly when time is up for yours, the first thing you can do when attempting to clear out and clean up your skin care collection is to put your senses of smell and sight to good use. If a product smells or looks off, it’s a sure sign that you should part ways with it.
Another helpful hint is to try flipping products over and perusing the bottoms of the bottles for the lifetime of the product. You’ll often find an image of an open jar with a number inside, that indicates how many months a product should last. As long as you know when you first opened the product, you can use that number as a helpful guide. Certain products, like sunscreens for instance, have more specific expiration dates to follow. This is something we can be thankful for, since this protective product is a must every day.
How to Help Your Skin Care Products Last
No matter how long a product should last, if you don’t handle properly, it can impact the shelf life of your skin care products, potentially causing them to break down and degrade at a faster pace. A few common culprits, confirmed by the FDA: Dipping your fingers directly into face cream and mask jars, using unhygienic applicators, and exposing products to moisture and/or extreme temperature changes.
While we can’t offer you any tips that will make a product last past its expiration date, there are a few things you can do to avoid decreasing their shelf life. To start with, don’t stick your fingers into your products. The bacteria on your hands can mix into your skin care, and there’s no coming back from that. Use applicators and spatulas that are regularly cleaned to apply product instead. Also, be sure to store your products properly. The bathroom or shower may seem like an obvious spot for some of your skin care products, but the heat and moisture may impact certain formulations. Instead, store products in a dry, cool space with a consistent temperature, which is a better fit.