Can your beauty products expire?
Many active ingredients in skin care, especially anti-aging and acne treatments, degrade over time from oxygen and heat. Depending on the ingredients and the packaging, different products follow different rules for when you should toss them. Anything in an ampoule is meant for one-time use only and usually contains ingredients like Vitamin C or E that oxidize upon air exposure. For peels and masks, buffering agents begin to evaporate after three months and can make active ingredients like glycolic acids more irritating. Acne products with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid begin decaying after four to six months of opening the product. You can keep them in the refrigerator for maximum potency.
The FDA doesn't require comestic companies to provide expiration dates on their products, so beware of the shelf-lives on unmarked beauty products. Mascara has a shelf-life of two to three months, or as you start noticing clumps and weird smells. Lotion has a longer shelf-life of about two years, so a bottle with a pump is recommended over a jar. To protect your liquid foundation and concealers, keep it away from UV rays which can destroy preservatives. These have a shelf-life of about 6-12 months.
There's a risk with using expired makeup. Lip color cosmetics can carry bacteria since they're constantly exposed to your mouth. Using eye pencils and mascaras beyond their expiration dates sets up the risk for eye infections. Next time you're in your makeup bag, be prudent and check when your products are no longer usable.
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