Most people will not consume food once it goes bad, as we know the risks associated with putting spoiled products in our body. But did you know it’s just as important to make sure you are not using spoiled products on your body? Yes it’s true, your skin care products can go bad. While they may last longer than the yogurt in your fridge, there is a point at which their shelf life comes to an end.  It’s important to pay attention to this detail, especially if using these products somewhere as delicate and prominent as your face.

Why should I stop using my product beyond the expiration date?

Some expired products may be irritating.Beyond the expiration date, chemicals within the product may begin to break down which can be irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Some products may harbour bacteria.

Certain products, especially those in tubs or jars, may be exposed to bacteria once opened. The bacteria may accumulate and risk infection, which may result in rashes, blisters, or swelling. To prevent bacteria build-up, you should always use a small spatula or stick to remove product from jars rather than your finger or nail. 

The product may not be as effective.

If your product contains active or medicinal ingredients, they may no longer be as efficacious beyond the product’s expiration. In the case of sunscreen products, this can be risky, as you are not guaranteed full protection from harmful UV rays.

While there may not be any severe risk or danger associated with using expired products, these are a few good reasons for ensuring you stick to the recommended dates.

How do I know if my skin care product has expired?

One of the most indicative signs that your product has gone bad is a change in colour. For example, Vitamin C products are typically clear or white in colour, and when they oxidize they turn orange or brown, a clear sign it’s time to replace it. Other things to look out for include a change in texture, a funky smell, or indication of mould growth.

How can I extend the shelf life of my products so that I get the most of it?

  • Keep your products out of direct sunlight, storing them somewhere dark, dry and cool.
  • Ensure caps and lids are on tightly after using your product.
  • Avoid touching dispensers, applicators or droppers directly to your skin.
  • Pay attention to “Period After Opening” dates and be sure to follow the recommendation. You can even use a sharpie to write the date you opened your product directly on the package so you know when it needs to be replaced.
  • Wash your hands before applying your products.
  • If you drop the container or lid on the floor, be sure to wash and sanitize it before replacing it for storage.
Look for this “Period After Opening” symbol to determine how many months your product can be used for after you have opened it.

Melissa Rossi, Master Skin Therapist