Unopened and opened skin care expiration date

expiration dates

Cosmetics actually have two validity terms that we must pay attention to. The one related to the manufacture date and the one valid from the moment the product is unsealed. We can find the information on the packaging box in the form of an M (month) within an open box symbol, and it can be 6M, 15M, 18M, 24M or 36M. Unfortunately the manufactured date is not always written down.

If you have an unopened (sealed) skin care product with an expired date on it and you wonder if you can still use it, the answer is that it depends on the product itself. Usually these products are additionally 1 to 3 years valid. This also depends from a suitable condition how the product was kept and deposited.

But the sunblocker will not do ”his job” anymore after the official expiration date.It won’t protect you as well once it’s expired, producing various health problems, from premature aging to more serious cancers. Also expired acne treatment is not good as when it was purchased. In addition, it presents health risks by exposure to bacteria and various germs. That goes also for natural or handmade skin care products .

From the moment of opening the product it can be valid and safe to use only for a certain period of 3 or 6 months.


Here are the main skin care products expiration date

Face cream and moisturizer – 1-3 years

Eye cream – 1 year

Cleansers: 2 years

Acids and retinoids: 1 year

Serums: 9 months to 1 year

Body lotion – between 6 months and 1 year

Soap or liquid soap-1-2 years

Shampoo – up to 3 years

Shower gel-6 months

Suncream – 1 year

Why some products shelf life is longer than others?

The longer a product expiry date is, like 12M, 18M, 24M, 36M, the more preservatives (parabens) contains that will adversely affect the health of your skin.

And yet what is the role of preservatives? They are those substances that are meant to prevent the development of microorganisms in cosmetic products. For maximum efficiency, the preservative must provide protection against a wide range of bacteria and mold.

In standard cosmetic products, chemical preservatives are being used, with the mission of destroying microorganisms, but they have unpleasant effects on the skin and mucous membranes.

Chemical preservatives are very powerful, destroying both harmful and good bacteria that protect our skin. These preservatives are quickly absorbed into the skin, so that they remain in the body creating allergies, skin irritation and risk of toxicity.

expiration date cosmetics

What about the bio/natural and handmade cosmetic expiration date?

Cosmetic products from the BIO category will always contain preservatives of plant origin. A BIO product has a shelf life of up to 6 months. They benefit from preservatives of plant origin and for this reason the conditions of storage and use should be strictly observed.

Handmade products have a shorter life when compared to BIO-certified cosmetics. Usually these products are created by small manufacturers/entrepreneurs who use natural perishable ingredients such as honey, shea butter, coconut oil etc.

Usually, homemade cosmetics that have a large amount of water in the composition, have a low shelf life (maximum 2 weeks), in the absence of a preservative.

Oily cosmetic products, which have a high concentration of fatty acids at the base, last longer (depending on the oils and active ingredients used, as well as the antioxidants from the product formula).

The optimal use of skin care products

Usually for facial cosmetic products after opening, the recommended usage validity is 3 to maximum 6 months, depending on the product. The body cosmetic products can have a term between 3-6 or maximum 9 months.

The only products that fall within these safety limits are organic cosmetics, because they do not contain huge quantities of parabens like the conventional ones.

But you should be very careful not to exceed these terms, because in the case of organic cosmetic products they do not contain preservatives and may proliferate bacteria in the product, in which case they also become dangerous for the body.

Always check the packaging. If the expiration date is not written on it, according to the law, it means that the product can have any term over 30 months. If you see a term over 12 months, that product already contains many parabens and is considered harmful.

Helpful tips to avoid harmful makeup and skincare products

-It is very important to always check the shelf life of all cosmetic products before you buy them. They come into direct contact with the skin of your face, your lips, your eyelids or the skin of your armpit, which are very delicate places.

-Check the expiration date whenever you use a product and remember how long they are valid. Any old cosmetic product can have harmful effects. From irritation and itching, to long-lasting dermatitis, painful pustules or conjunctivitis, expired cosmetics cause many discomforts and are dangerous to health.

-Products containing water as one of the first ingredients have the shortest shelf life after opening, because the water encourages the development of bacteria or other microbes.

-If you see on the product label the note “without preservatives”, you should be very careful, because in a product without any preservatives, bacteria can develop easily.

– If ordering online, open your products until you check the expiration date. If expired, send it back for a refund. Most companies are happy to accommodate you on this.

-Dipping your fingers into an open jar is a NO GO. Do not place your finger directly in the container, remove the cream with a spatula or wash your hands beforehand.

-After each use of a product, tighten the lid tightly on the bottle. If you accidentally drop the lid on the floor, clean it. Use soap and water or rub it with alcohol, then dry the lid thoroughly.

-The room temperature and humidity will shorten the term of validity of your cosmetic products.

-Write with a marker on your cosmetic products the date you opened and started using it.

-If you receive a cosmetic product as a gift, but it’s not suitable for your skin type or is expired, don’t use it. Even if your consciousness tells you otherwise, your skin will thank you.

How often do you check the validity of your cosmetic products?