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Expired Products: When to Toss

Expired products contain bacteria, fungus and oxidized oils just waiting there for you smear it all over your beautiful maintained skin. It is such a bummer to get rashes and breakout from expired products. I’ve had countless clients come in to treat break outs because they rummaged through their bathroom cabinets to use up old products, but it’s not worth the risk.

Check your expiration dates ladies! If there isn't one, call the company and give them the lot number. They will be able to give you one over the phone. There is usually a shelf life of a product before it is opened, which you’d need to get from the manufacturer. Preserved products usually only keep for 1.5 to 2 years before being opened. Once opened they have a shelf life listed on the label with a symbol like this:

It is helpful to have a sharpie pen around for your cosmetics in your cosmetics drawer. Put the date of when you opened the cosmetic product on the bottom, so you don't start growing bacteria and fungus unexpectedly. You often cannot see or smell the bacteria or fungus propagating which is why reactions from expired products happen so frequently. It is especially important to label all water and oil mixed products. Not so important for oils as they can oxidize over time, but not necessarily grow fungus or bacteria so easily. And it’s extremely important for organic products which are organically stabilized. Those you should probably keep in your fridge.

I spoke with a rep from 100% Pure and she said before opening, their mostly organic products can keep 1 to 2 years, but after being opened it’s 3 to 6 months. Homemade organic recipes last about a week in your fridge. The difference is the use of Japanese Honeysuckle. They choose this preservative over parabens, but it acts like a paraben killing bacteria and fungus readily. Rosemary extract, essential oils, and vitamin E used in homemade products as preservatives are not strong enough to kill fungus after about a week.

There is a lot of controversy of parabens, but even professional product lines like Dermalogica use them sometimes. While sparingly sometimes formulations really do require using a paraben. I try and avoid them because they can be endocrine disrupting, but on occasion I do use products containing them myself.

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