Cleaning Out Your Beauty Cabinet

We clean out our cabinets and our refrigerators. We donate clothes from our closets. We toss outdated medication. However, many of us neglect our health and beauty items as they often become quite abundant. This leads to many products expiring before they are used in their entirety. It is essential that we give care to these items and stay vigilant of expiration dates and signs of products degrading in quality. Let’s explore why it is vital to clean out your health and beauty product storage regularly! 

How to Tell if Your Beauty Stash Has Gone Bad

  • Expiration Date
  • PAO Date
  • FDA Requirements

Curious if your stash has gone bad? If so, read on as we are going to discuss how to tell when your stash needs to go to the trash as well as the importance of never using an expired beauty product! Color and consistency can tell you a lot about your health and beauty products. If the texture or color isn’t consistent with how the product was when first opened, they likely are expired or otherwise degraded and shouldn’t be utilized.

Have you ever wondered what the small icon that resembles an open jar with a number inside of it was on the bottom of a skincare product? If so, you are not alone. This number is the number of months that the product is good for after it is opened. If you can remember when you purchased a product, then you can easily determine whether or not a product is past its PAO (period after opening) date; if so, to the trash it should go!

Sunscreens should always have a specific expiration date; however, if one is not able to be located on the container, it is required by the FDA to be shelf-stable for three years. Eye creams, acne products, and anti-aging products also fall under the same FDA guidelines.

Unfortunately, expiration dates aren’t as common on beauty products as they are on food and other substances. However, the general rule is that most are good for six months to 1 year.

Why a Bad Stash Should Go to the Trash

Now that you know more about how to determine if a product is expired let’s look at what actually happens when they expire and the risks it presents.

  • Ingredients Lose Their Effectiveness
  • Risk of Bacteria Growth
  • Oils Spoil
  • Oxidation Can Occur
Loss of Effectiveness and Instability

Over time and especially after their expiration date, many beauty products will degrade in quality as their active and key ingredients begin to lose their effectiveness for products such as SPF, that could mean exposure to harmful UV rays. Other ingredients present their own risk when they degrade, such as vitamin C and retinol, which both become unstable after expiration.

Risk of Bacterial Growth

If you are a fan of water-based products, it is important to remember that these types of products are susceptible, especially after expiration, to bacterial growth. Bacterial growth presents a high risk for irritation, breakouts, and more. Additionally, products that you dispense by placing your finger into the container are also more prone to bacterial growth and should be disposed of after expiration or first signs of degradation.

Oxidation Risks

Air can also be a nuisance on some products as many common ingredients found in skincare products, such as vitamin c, begin to oxidize with air exposure. Some signs of oxidization are a yellowish or brownish color that is not the norm for the product. Oxidization does not always equal expired or degraded; however, if severe enough, it could impact the efficiency of the product. In the case that you notice signs of oxidization before a product has expired, It is wise to contact the brand for further guidance or simply toss it and don’t risk it!

Spoiled Oils

Many health and beauty products are made utilizing oils of various types. If you have ever noticed a smell similar to melting plastic, it is likely that what you experienced were the oils within a product spoiling and becoming rancid. This occurs over time with exposure to air and light. It is highly essential that you always do the sniff test when utilizing oil-based products. This is because once oils spoil, not only do they lose their potential benefits to the skin, but they even present the risk of free radical damage. 

To prevent unwanted degradation from air and other aspects such as light, it is recommended to store your beauty products in a cool dark place out of direct sunlight.

Potential Skin Issues from Degraded/Expired Products

As with any product that is out of date, there are significant adverse reactions that may occur with the use of outdated skincare formulas as well as other health and beauty products. Some of the most common reactions to expired products include but are not limited to the following.

  • Rash
  • Allergy
  • Acne
  • Abscess
  • Infection

Key Takeaways

It is vital that you pay close attention to when you purchase products and become familiar with their intended shelf life. Understand when products expire and make it a routine to clean out your beauty cabinet every couple of months to ensure that you are never using outdated, degraded, or expired products! To best prolong the shelf-life of any skincare product, simply store it in a cool, dark, and dry area out of direct sunlight! To experience the power of plant-based skincare products formulated by an experienced licensed aesthetician, check out our selection here at Potency No. 710!

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