To Toss or Not to Toss


Did you know that opened skincare products lose their effectiveness after one year and some even sooner? Unfortunately, most cosmetic products don’t include an expiration date on their packaging. That’s because in the US, only products the FDA considers drugs are required to have an expiration date – like sunscreen and acne medicines. Some manufacturers do, however, print expiration dates on their products. You might see something like “EXP 05/2016”, or you might see an open jar with something like 6M on it. This means the product is good for 6 months after opening.

How long do most products last after opening? Moisturizers – up to 1 year; sunscreen – 6 months to 1 year; treatment products in a pump or tube (such as facial serum, retinoids, vitamin C, or AHAs) – no longer than 1 year; treatment products in a jar – up to 6 months; masks – up to 1 year.

If the packaging doesn’t include an expiration date, you should toss it if there are significantly changes in color or odor. Other signs of when a product has gone bad include separating, clumping, thickening, or thinning.

Nothing lasts forever. Keeping that favorite moisturizer for years could do more harm than good. Spoiled skincare products not only lose their potency, but can cause irritation, allergic reactions and even infection.

Maintaining healthy skin includes checking and updating your products on a regular basis.


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