Last Updated: October 04, 2022, 10:18 IST
Picture this: You enter your favourite cosmetic store, buy your favourite cream, and return home. You apply a pea-sized cream daily and before you know your skin starts to itch after application. Rings a bell? Yes, creams and in fact all cosmetics have an expiry date.
Even the priciest face creams, serums, and masks have a shelf life, and at some point, you will need to dispose of them because they will no longer be effective. There is in fact an expiration date on every skincare product.
The date the product was manufactured and the date it should be used by are both typically printed on the product or its packaging. “In addition, the period-after-opening symbol or PAO symbol can be found on a variety of cosmetic products (a number followed by an M in an open jar icon). After a product has been opened, the PAO symbol will indicate how many months later it should be thrown away. For instance, a “12M” on a product’s label indicates that it should be thrown away 12 months after it has been opened,” says Dr Niketa Sonavane, Celebrity Dermatologist and founder, Ambrosia Aesthetics, Mumbai.
- If you are unsure of how old some product is, the general rule is that you should toss anything that has significantly changed in colour or odour, or that has separated, clumped, thinned, or thickened over the course of its lifetime. These are all signs that the product has lost its quality and should not be used.
- The shelf life of unopened skin care products ranges anywhere from one to three years, depending on the formulation. “After a product has been opened, it must be used in accordance with the instructions provided by the PAO symbol. If a product changes its consistency, smells strange, or turns a different colour, it should never be used and should instead be thrown away when if it is earlier than what the PAO symbol indicates,” adds Sonavane.
- Most skincare products, such as moisturisers, eye creams, face masks, and serums, have a shelf life of between six months and a year. A product that is packaged in an airless pump tube will have a longer shelf life than one that is packaged in a jar.
- If you use these products after their expiration date, they will no longer be effective, and you will forego all the benefits that a good serum or essence can provide for your skin.
- It is highly unlikely that using products after its expiration date will cause any harm. “The one and only exception to this rule is jarred lotion, which has a greater potential to grow bacteria over time. Especially if you have sensitive skin, using products that have passed their expiration date can cause irritation to your skin in the form of a rash, acne, allergy, or infection,” opines Sonavane.
- Serums containing vitamin C, have a shelf life between three and six months. But they begin to oxidise and change colour earlier. It is possible that using an oxidised vitamin C serum, which can be identified by the brownish discoloration it has, will not only be ineffective but also cause your skin to become stained or discoloured.
- Besides this, if your sunscreen has expired, it will no longer provide protection against the sun, increasing the likelihood that you will suffer from sunburn or sun damage as you are not getting any protection from the sun’s rays.
Read all the Latest Lifestyle News and Breaking News here