Ever wonder why skin-care products come with an expiration date?
It’s not just a marketing ploy to get you to buy new products; it turns out that there is a scientific basis for the shelf life of your favorite moisturizers, serums and lotions.
Skincare product labels are like tiny little books, filled with information about what’s inside the bottle and how to use it. We’ve all been guilty of not reading the fine print, but one thing you don’t want to miss is the expiration date.
If you’re like most women, your bathroom shelves are stocked with an impressive array of skin care products. From serums to moisturizers to sunscreens, you have it all covered. But is there an expiration date on your favorite anti-aging cream or face serum?
More precisely, have you ever stopped to think about when your natural skincare products actually expire?
You spend all this time choosing the most organic and natural ingredients, but do you really know how long they will last in your beauty regime?
While chemically-based skincare items tend to come with expiration dates printed right on them, it’s not quite as straightforward or clearly labeled when it comes to natural alternatives. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even require manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care items to include expiration dates on their labels.
Let’s break down why skin-care products expire and what you should look for when determining whether or not a product has gone bad.
What Causes Skin-Care Products to Expire?
As much as we would love for them to last forever, nothing does—not even beauty products! Most chemically – based skincare products will last for about two years after opening them (but some can last longer). On the other hand, natural skincare products will last a bit shorter, but it really depends on the ingredients.
Make sure to check your product label for an expiration date or a “best used by” date. This will give you an idea of how long your product should stay fresh and effective.
Usually, the expiration date is printed on the bottom or backside of the packaging in small print.
If there isn’t an expiration date listed on the package, then there should be a symbol that looks like a jar with a number and letter inside of it (like 12M). This indicates how many months it will remain fresh once opened. So if it says 12M, then that means your product should last up to twelve months after opening.
The primary reason that skin-care products have an expiration date is because of the preservatives that are used to keep them from becoming contaminated. These preservatives help to protect against bacteria, mold and fungus while also keeping the formula stable so that it works correctly.
Unfortunately, these preservatives can only do their job for so long before they become less effective. Over time, the ingredients in these products can begin to break down, making them less effective and potentially even harmful. That’s why it’s important to be aware of how long your products last and when they need to be replaced.
How Long Do Skin Care Products Last?
The longevity of a skincare products depends on their type, as well as its ingredients and storage conditions.
Most chemically-based skincare products will indicate on their label how long they stay fresh after being opened. Generally speaking, most moisturizers and creams can last up to two years if stored properly (i.e., away from heat and sunlight).
Serums usually have a shorter shelf life of about six months after opening since they contain more active ingredients that can potentially cause irritation or sensitivity over time if kept for too long. These can last anywhere from six months to 12 months if stored properly in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Masks and scrubs—These tend to have shorter shelf lives due to their active ingredients. Most masks and scrubs will stay fresh for up to six months if stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Sunscreen is particularly prone to breaking down since its active ingredients are more sensitive to light exposure; sunscreen should generally be replaced every 12 months or sooner if it has been exposed directly to sunlight or high temperatures.
When it comes to natural skincare products, it really depends on the formulation. Generally speaking, most natural skincare products will last up to six months—but this could be shorter or longer depending on the ingredients used and how they were stored.
For example, some essential oils are known to break down more quickly than other plant-based ingredients like shea butter or jojoba oil.
It is also important to note that some natural skincare products can expire before their expiration date if not stored properly. Even if the products are labeled “all-natural” and “preservative free,” they can still go bad if exposed to heat or sunlight for too long.
To get the most out of your natural skincare products, always make sure to store them away from direct sunlight and in a cool place—like your bathroom cabinet!
If you’re ever unsure about the expiration date of a particular product, check with the manufacturer directly and they should be able to give you an answer.
It’s also important to note that some skin care products do not have an expiration date printed on them because their active ingredients naturally degrade over time without needing any additional preservatives.
Signs Your Products Have Expired
If you’re unsure if your product has expired or not, there are usually signs that can help you figure it out. The most obvious signs are changes in color or texture (think separation or clumping) of your product.
Another sign is a foul smell coming from your product—this could indicate bacterial growth in old creams and lotions which could lead to irritation and infection if used on your skin.
Lastly, if you experience any unusual symptoms such as burning or itching after using a product past its expiration date, then stop using it immediately!
If you’re unsure how long a product has been sitting around your bathroom cabinet, it’s best practice just to throw it out and purchase something new instead of risking potential irritation or infection by using expired skincare items.
While skin-care products (especially natural skincare products) don’t necessarily come with an expiration date printed on them, that doesn’t mean they can be used indefinitely.
Pay attention to any containers or packaging your skin care comes in; many contain information about how long your product should last after being opened (usually indicated by a “Period After Opening” number).
Additionally, keep an eye out for any signs of spoilage—if something smells off or looks discolored, it’s best to discard the item and opt for something new!
Expiration dates are not just suggestions; they actually indicate when a skincare product will no longer be effective or safe for use.
While certain products may last longer than their stated expiration dates, it isn’t recommended to use them past that time period since bacteria can start growing in them quickly and cause irritation and infection when applied to your skin.
So, now you know! The next time you go shopping for skincare products make sure to pay attention to the expiration dates listed on the labels so that you don’t end up with expired items in your bathroom cabinet—or worse yet, on your face!
Staying educated about when skincare items expire is key in helping ensure that you always use high quality, fresh products on your skin!