Just like the food in the fridge are bound to expire, same will happen with your skin care products. Eventually, everything in your skin care collection expires, and while it’s sad to let go of your favorite face creams, you’ll need to get rid of those expired products before they negatively impact your skin. If you are still not convinced that your old serums are really ready to be tossed, read on how expired products can impact your complexion.
Why Expired products must go
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, 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. The effects of using expired products can be worse than a loss of potency, including irritation and breakouts.
How to to extend product shelf”s life
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. When you dip your fingers directly into face cream, using unhygienic applicators, and exposing products to moisture and/or extreme temperature changes.
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 and cool space.
Here’s a general guide to help you decide if it’s time to toss your expired skin care products:
- Cleansers: One year. Some ingredients such as retinol and alpha hydroxy acids may actually increase in potency after long periods of storage.
- Moisturizing Creams: One year. Though a plain moisturizer without anti-aging ingredients will last well past this mark, you can contaminate it by dipping repeatedly into the jar.
- Acne Products: Four to six months. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, two of the most common pimple fighters, decay quickly. Keep them in the refrigerator for maximum potency. Products with active ingredients are often labelled with expiration dates.
- Sunscreens: One to two year. Most sunscreens are labelled with expiration dates and if they are stored unopened you can expect them to be effective until this date. Once opened they start to lose their efficacy and should be discarded within a year of opening.
- Natural products: While there is a trend towards using natural beauty and skin care products bear in mind that ‘natural’ preservative systems may not be as robust as those used in traditional cosmetics. Shelf lives may be shorter so you must be diligent in watching out for changes in smell, color or consistency.
Also when it comes to assessing safety that there are no set rules when it comes to expired skin care products. Changes in smell, color or consistency are signs to trash your product. In order to maintain healthy skin, replace your skin care products on a regular basis.
The general guideline you should know is that skin care products usually last for six months to one year. If it’s passed this window, it may be time for some autumn or winter cleaning.