It goes without saying that you wouldn’t drink bad milk or eat wilted veggies. So don’t use expired products on your face and body. Fact is, just like the perishables you consume, your skincare also has an expiration date.
But does that really mean you need to throw out products past their prime—even if they seem ok? Yes!
Using skincare past its sell by date at best can mean loss of potency (so why bother?), but could also cause adverse skin reactions…and don’t even think about using expired SPF formulas.
Don’t use SPF past its best. Applying and relying on old sunscreen means leaving your skin vulnerable to damaging UV rays and environmental stressors. Even worse—because it feels like you’ve done “the right thing” by applying, you’ll likely spend more time exposed and unprotected. It’s not worth the risk of using less than fresh SPF, leaving your skin defenseless against burning, increased aging, sun damage, melasma, or skin cancer.
It’s time for a Spring clean to ensure your skin stays (and looks) beautifully healthy.
Here’s what we know:
Believe it or not, skincare is not regulated by the FDA—we’ll say that again. The FDA doesn’t monitor skincare. Translation: brands are not required to display expiration dates on MOST packaging. We’re happy to report, however, that it is mandatory for two categories that directly effect your health—SPF and acne products.
Here’s what you can do:
Be a detective:
Look for the PAO (period after opening). Products that DO display expiration dates usually opt for this method. Most skincare has a shelf-life of several years (2-3) but it’s when you crack open the bottle, jar or tube when the clock really starts ticking.
Here’s where to look for the expiration date on our products:
When to Toss & Restock
Use your senses: If you see, smell or feel any of the following changes, your skincare is probably not fit for use. From active ingredients losing effectiveness, to the introduction of unwelcome bacteria and microbes that can harm your skin, be sure to look for the signs.
Don’t use it if…
- the formula has separated
- it has a bad (or different) smell
- it changes color
- it changes texture
- The PAO is expired
Storage is key:
Beyond the POA, there are other factors that can play a big role in your product’s life.
Temperature, time, humidity, and physical stress can all change formulas in a negative way.
Heat and light are big no nos, and contact, like sticking your fingers in a jar, (we all do it!) or applying product to your lips or armpits, can also introduce damaging bacteria. Try looking for pump bottles to avoid contamination with your fingers, and wipe clean lip balms, lipsticks and SPF sticks routinely.
Now that spring is in full swing, take a moment to check and refresh any expired products— your skin will thank you later.