Aging Well
Beauty & Style

Critical Information About Expired Anti-Aging Products

A lot of people hold on to their anti-aging skin care and cosmetic products for months on end, especially if they’re expensive. But just like the food in your refrigerator, anti-aging skin care products and cosmetics have expiry dates.

There are plenty of anti-aging tips about which products to use to get a gorgeous face and how to use them, but it’s just as important to be able to determine when a product has run its course. Expired anti-aging skin care products are not only ineffective, but they can also end up doing more harm than good.

There are some telltale warning signs that it might be time to toss your anti-aging skin care products. If the smell has changed or it’s been exposed to heat for a prolonged period, throw it out, because it’s likely that the active ingredients have been compromised. If the color has changed or you see signs of mold, then again, toss it out. Also, if you use an anti-aging skin care product on your skin and it feels different, or if it leaves a tingling sensation, it’s probably reached its expiry date.

Luckily, common anti-aging skin care products, like moisturizer, typically last anywhere from one to two years when they’re unopened. However, once a cream is opened and exposed to outside air, it should be used right away in order to reap the benefits. Plus, most formulas are intended for daily use, so if you’re using them properly, you shouldn’t be using the same jar or bottle for longer than a month or two, depending on its capacity. Serums usually have a maximum shelf life of six months to a year.

The other thing to keep in mind with respect to anti-aging skin care products is that if they’re labeled as being preservative-free, you should be extra cautious. Although it’s good that they don’t contain preservatives, it also means that they’re an easier breeding ground for bacteria.

If your anti-aging skin care product does come with an expiry date, it isn’t always clearly visible and can fade from the packaging. One way to make sure you know when it’s nearing its end is to write the expiry date on the packaging in permanent ink.

This advice doesn’t just apply to anti-aging skin care products; it’s also one of the anti-aging tips you must follow for your makeup as well. Water-based cosmetics, such as mascara, can become contaminated with bacteria, which in turn can lead to infections. Since mascara is used on and around your eyes, you should be especially vigilant. As a general rule of thumb, you should change your mascara every three or four months. On the other hand, powder-based makeup products usually last longer because they don’t contain as much water, which means there’s less chance of bacteria growth.

Here are some guidelines for when to toss other common makeup items:

• Lipstick: 1 year

• Creamy makeup (e.g. blush, eye shadow): 6 – 12 months

• Power Makeup (e.g. eye shadow): 1 – 2 years

• Eye and Lip Pencils: Maximum 2 years

• Liquid Foundation (including concealer): 6 – 12 months

If you take good care of your cosmetics and anti-aging skin care products, you can extend their life. For starters, wash your hands before using them, store them in a dry area away from heat and sunlight, and don’t dilute them with water. It’s also advised that you limit sharing makeup and/or anti-aging skin care products in order to avoid cross-contamination.

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