The Shelf Life of Skin Care Products
Posted On: - 2012-01-23 09:39:44
Skin care products don't have an expiration date. So, this makes things a bit tricky in figuring out when to toss out skin care products before they go bad.
As chief officer of an online skin care product store, a producer of my own product line, and operation of a new day spa, it's important to understand the potency of a product and when it's time to pitch it. Our health always comes first.
To keep track, some suggest writing a date on the packaging but so many of us forget to recheck it. Instead, a better way is to use your computer or cell phone calendar with "alarm" reminders for a 3, 6, 9 and 12 month checkup to see if it's product trashcan time.
While many think their products may last up to two years that really may not be the case on all types of skin care and beauty products.
For example, if a cream or lotion product has turned thin or lumpy, chuck it. Other signs to watch out for are:
- Changes in smell
- Has a different feeling on the skin when applied
- Turned darker in color
- Product divided itself into visible layers
And anti aging products which contain antioxidants, retinol, and vitamins are always at a higher risk for a sooner expiration date. So be sure lids are replaced tightly.
To keep bacterial contamination from happening, keep your fingers out of those containers. When bacteria gets in there, the product is ruined and there's no turning back. A perfectly new skin care product can go bad instantly once bacteria invades it.
Other helpful tips are:
- Store your products in a cool place such as a cabinet.
- If your new product has a broken seal return it immediately.
- Keep your products away from the sunlight.
- Always wash your hands before using skin care products.
- If an infection or rash is brought on by a product throw it out.
- Do not add water to a formula.
Because there are no regulations and expiration dates, it's really up to you to figure out when it's time to part with your products. At first, it may feel like you are throwing away money, but in the end, you are saving your body from the threat of bacterial contamination. And no one wants to risk that.
Remember, these products only last so long once that lid is officially unscrewed.
Although moisturizers, serums, and creams tend to last 6 months to a year, some product ingredients can speed up the expiration date such as:
- Plant Extracts: known for its wonderful skin care properties, plant extracts have a shorter shelf life.
- Preservative-Free Ingredients: while many enjoy the thought of not putting preservatives on their bodies, do keep an eye out for changes since preservatives help fight off bacteria.
- Water: if this is the first or second item on the list of ingredients it has more of a chance to promote bacteria.
- Wax: this ingredient may also offer a shorter expiration date especially if it has little water in its formula.
It's important to point out that if you stick with your skin care routine and are mindful of bacterial contamination, chances are you'll use up your product before it expires.