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You Probably Didn't Know Your Skincare Products Have an Expiration Date

You Probably Didn't Know Your Skincare Products Have an Expiration Date

This is kind of important.

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There are lots of advances in the beauty world that exist, but alas, no one has invented products that don’t expire. Beauty products are like food. They have a limited shelf life, and there isn’t that much we can do about it. Although you probably are familiar with the expiration dates of your makeup products, you might not think about your skincare products in the same way. Unlike that crusty mascara or that weird-smelling lipstick, a lot of skincare products don’t go noticeably off the way makeup does.

Although a lot of products have guidelines or expiration dates written on them, it’s important to have some idea of when things expire once you open them. The last thing you want to do is put something on your face that is expired. That isn’t going to do your skin any favors. So, we asked the experts for some easy guidelines.

Creams and Lotions: 2 years

Dr. Karyn Grossman, celebrity dermatologist and creator of KARYNG states that most creams and lotions have been given an expiration date of about two years. She writes that it’s a good idea to stick with that because over time contamination, separation, and changes to the formulation can occur.

Cetaphil moisturizing cream

Try: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream 


Retinoid Creams: 9 months

You should have that retinoid cream in your cupboard for nine months, max. After that, it starts to lose potency, according to Dr. Ava Shamban, Beverly Hills Dermatologist and Founder of SKINxFIVE.

algenist retinol

Try: Algenist Retinol Firm and Lifting Serum 


Acne Creams: 4 to 6 months

If you have acne products that contain benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid, note that they only have a shelf life of about four to six months. The reason is that the actives in them start to deteriorate.

Olay Fresh Effects

Try: Olay Fresh Effects Clear Skin Spot Zinger 2-in-1 Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment 


Hydroquinone Creams (Skin lightening or brightening creams): 6 months

Dr. Shamban says once it turns brown, it’s time to put it in the trash. And that normally happens around the six-month mark. To help it last longer, try putting it in an airtight pump and popping it in the fridge. 

Murad Age Spot

Try: Murad Age Spot And Pigment Lightening Gel 


Sunscreen: One year

Did you have that bottle last summer? It’s time to chuck it. If you exposed your bottle of SPF to heat thanks to storing it in the car or having it out at the beach, you need to replace it sooner, cautions Dr. Shamban.


Try:  Neutrogena Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen 


Single-Use Serums: One Day

If you have a vitamin C or E serum in single-use ampoules, you need to use them in one day. Don’t try to be frugal and try to make them last longer. Dr. Shamban explains that once they’re ripped open, the contents become oxidized thanks to the air.


Try: Mesoestetic Antiaging Flash Ampoules 

Bottom line–while these are good guidelines and so are the ones labeled on your product, note that they are guidelines and not hard and fast rules. Dr. George Sun, renowned plastic surgeon and creator of MDSUN explains, “Realize even during the shelf life, if the products are exposed heat, light, or temperatures changes, many sensitive cosmetics may degrade and also become ineffective as well.”

Have you used any of these products? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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