How long should we be keeping our skin care and cosmetic products for?
Many of us are guilty of holding on to all sorts of skin care and cosmetic products for prolonged periods of time for whatever reason – be it forgetting how long you have owned the product, thinking that the product still looks good and works, or even feeling bad for throwing it away because you remember how much you spent on it!
However, there are serious implications to be aware of when you use expired cosmetics, and we’re here to discuss the dangers of this that not many of us are aware of.
So, how do you know how long to keep a product for?
On all products sold in the EU, there is a symbol known as the “Period After Opening” symbol that looks like an open container with a number in it. This denotes the number of months after opening the product that it should be used for.
You can also tell if a product should not be used if you notice any changes to the smell, texture, colour and feel of the product. If in doubt, err on the side of caution – especially if you cannot remember how long you have had a product.
Why should we be cautious about the shelf life of cosmetic and skin care products?
The power of the preservatives found in skin care and cosmetic products starts to deteriorate once the product has been opened. This is because exposure to air introduces bacteria which breed in the product, and in turn this eventually causes use of the product to become harmful as the preservatives can no longer counter the bacteria and microbes, so ingredients in the product can start to disintegrate. In addition, using your fingers in the product and storing it in warmer conditions or in direct sunlight are all practices that are beneficial for encouraging bacteria growth in the product and will exacerbate the rate at which the product deteriorates.
Consequentially, the active ingredients within products like Vitamin C and other antioxidants will become unstable within the formulation and no longer be effective. In addition, using expired cosmetics and skin care can also cause breakouts and a variety of skin irritations and infections due to the bacteria. In rare but severe cases, a particular type of fungal growth in expired products can even cause blindness!
How can skin care manufacturers mitigate this?
At Elethea, our products have been specifically manufactured such that, with regular usage, they will be fully used within the time specified on the packaging. We use pumps on Elethea products to reduce the risk of contamination due to air exposure and by using fingers, in turn prolonging the life and effectiveness of Elethea’s products. Elethea products are also in tinted glass bottles, which means a reduced risk of the deterioration of actives within our formulation from sunlight. We are against plastic packaging as chemicals from this can leak into the skincare formulation during storage.
We recommend storing all your skin care products in a cool, dry place and out of direct sunlight.
Remember, this doesn’t apply just to your skin care products – you should think about all of these issues for all of your makeup as well as brushes, sponges and applicators. As a rule of thumb, if in doubt, throw it away! And help us make other people aware please.