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Skin care shelf life: Do you need to toss your products?

Skin care shelf life: Do you need to toss your products?

We all know that food products expire, but did you know skin care does, too? It's crucial to throw out old skin care, but most people don't know when their products have gone bad. Keep reading to learn about skin care shelf life so you can "deep clean" your skin care routine.


Why you need to throw old products away

Invisible bacteria can thrive in products past their prime, especially in hot, humid environments like your bathroom. If you don't throw away old products, they will become contaminated with bacteria. When applied on the skin, this bacteria could cause irritation, rashes, blemishes and even skin infections.

Even if your product isn't contaminated, its active ingredients become ineffective over time. This is especially necessary with products designed to protect the skin, like broad spectrum sunscreens.


Skin care shelf life: OTC products

Over-the-counter, or OTC, products (like SPFs and many acne treatments) make it easy to know when they expire; they list an expiration date on the back of the package. If they are expired, throw them away. No exceptions.

The expiration date lists when the active ingredient in that product will become ineffective. So if you use your OTC acne line past the expiration date, the products won't be as effective at keeping acne at bay. If you use your sunscreen past its date, you leave your skin vulnerable to UV damage, premature aging, hyperpigmentation, dehydration, and even skin cancer. Always read your labels.


Skin care shelf life: Unopened products vs. Opened

Unopened skin care products will last longer than opened products because they have less chance to be exposed to bacteria. Be conscious of when you purchased your skin care and when you first used it. Specific products can vary, but in general, unopened skin care can last from one to three years. After opened, you should use a product as directed promptly, within one year.

Always throw away a product if it seems discolored, develops a strange odor, or the consistency changes (if it becomes lumpy, runny, etc).


How to make your skin care last longer

The best way to avoid contamination is to use a skin care "spatula." Any Bioelements product that comes in a jar includes one of these handy applicators. They are small plastic applicators that you can use to scoop the product onto your hand instead of sticking your fingers into the jar.


This lessens the risk of contamination, because even when you wash your hands there could be lingering bacteria. Some products come with pumps, like Plump Start, that help keep bacteria out.

Make sure to wash your hands before using products, even if you use a spatula or a pump to help lessen the risk of contamination even more.

The last tip to making your skin care last longer is to use the right amount!


Most people use too much product without realizing it. While using the right amount won't prevent contamination, it will make your products last longer.


If you have any questions or comments about your skin care shelf life, sign up for our newsletter here or comment below!

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