Why You Should Be Checking Expiration Dates
We are always careful to double check expiration dates on our food labels; but, what about the dates found on skincare products? It is not common for skincare products to last much longer than the date printed on the label. Take for instance, moisturizers usually come in larger packaging and if you're not using it as directed, chances are you'll have plenty left over.
Well it is understandable that you wouldn't want to toss out a product that appears in pristine condition; on the other hand, there are a number of risks using past date. According to the FDA, “There are no U.S. laws or regulations that require cosmetics to have specific shelf lives or have expiration dates on their labels. However, manufacturers are responsible for making sure their products are safe.” Now this is where it can get a little murky, dates printed on the label are not always 100% accurately regulated. By taking the time to be diligent about tracking when you open products and using as directed, you shouldn't run into this problem.
The Risks Using Products Past Date
If you have any beauty hoarding tendencies, you probably have a cabinet full of products that you rotate through. Now using a product a couple days past date is not gonna wreck havoc on skin. However something that has been laying around for months or even years will have chemical breakdown and bacterial degradation. This causes lose of effectiveness, risk to eye infection or rash development. Eye based products carry the highest risk due to the area of application and the tendency to develop infections.
How to Interpret Symbols
The open lid symbol is commonly found on cosmetics and skincare products. This symbol simply tells you how effective a product is from the time you remove the safety seal (if applicable). Now take into consideration the factors that expedite the process.
Expiration of Common Products
1. Sunscreen, 12 months (1 Season Cycle)
Over time, the UV protecting ingredients lose their effectiveness and leave you vulnerable to sun damage, skin cancer and sunburns.
2. Retinoid Based (Anti-Aging), 9 months-1 year
Over time, the active ingredients such as Vitamin A become dormant and the ability to jump start collagen production is no longer a benefit.
3. Acne Based Creams/ Spot treatments, 6 Months
Using these products past expiration date can cause your skin to flair up and have an adverse reaction to the treatment.
4. Moisturizer, (Varies Typically 6-24 months)
The problem with using this product past date is that they are often multi-tasking . These days moisturizers not only replenish skin; but, they are anti-aging agents, skin restoration or acne fighting. Using them past date may cause skin to dry out or break out from the contaminated oils. You may be tempted to add liquids to bring products back to life; but, you should avoid doing this at all costs.
5. Toners, 1 Year
Toners often contain strong alcohols that can lose potency over time and even age skin. Ailments such as styes can arise due to using expired toners around the eye area. Considering that a large portion of the population uses toner as an eye makeup remover, this is a high risk.
Factors To Consider
- Exposure to bacteria (from fingertips upon application)
- Oil and water separation
- Products drying out from oxygen
- Extreme temperatures (Products are best stored at room temperature)
As always, use best judgement before use: if a product has discoloration, smells bad or has emulation