How Long Do Skincare Products Last?

How Long Do Skincare Products Last?

 

On average, skincare products can be used safely for up to two years after they are manufactured. At that point, you can still use them, but it is likely they will be less effective. Light, oxygen, and heat all break down actives in skincare products. Bacteria can also break down ingredients, so be sure to use clean fingers when you apply products and clean your containers to reduce the potential of contamination. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have a negative reaction such as a rash after using a product, you should throw it out.

 

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Ever stared at your favourite moisturiser, baffled by the lack of an expiration date? Unlike food, Australian skincare products often leave us guessing about their shelf life. The Austin Skin team hears that often. That’s why we’ve created a simple guide to help you crack the code on how to maximise the lifespan of your products to keep your skin healthy, happy, and gorgeous.

You’ll discover the surprising reason why expiry dates are uncommon in Australia and get an introduction to the PAO symbol. It’s your key to understanding a product's post-opening lifespan. We will also show you how to decipher cryptic symbols and discover the telltale signs that your beloved serum or cream has gone rogue.

But wait, there's more! We'll explore expert tips for proper storage to extend the life of your skincare heroes. From temperature control to hygiene practices, we'll equip you with the knowledge to get the most out of your investment. So, ditch the confusion and embrace informed skincare choices. Let's embark on a journey to a future where every product reaches its full potential, leaving your skin radiant and healthy.

 

Expiration vs Period After Opening (PAO)

Unlike many countries, Australia follows a different approach to product labelling for cosmetics. Here, expiry dates are generally absent, leaving consumers wondering about a product's shelf life. This stems from a focus on product stability testing, ensuring the formula remains safe and effective for a set period after opening. The key to understanding this lifespan lies in the PAO (Period After Opening) symbol.

This nifty little icon, often depicted as a jar with a number and the letter "M," indicates how many months a product remains good once opened. For instance, 12M signifies the product retains its efficacy for twelve months after you first break the seal. So, while you won't find a traditional expiry date, the PAO symbol empowers you to make informed decisions about using your products before they lose their potency.

 

5 Ways to Spot a Spoiled Skincare Product

We've all been there: you reach for your trusty face cream, ready to conquer the day, only to be met with a funky smell or a suspicious change in texture. But fear not, skincare sleuths! Deciphering whether your favourite product has gone bad is easier than cracking a cryptic code.

Here's your guide to sniffing out a spoiled stash:

  • The Power of the Senses: Your nose is your first line of defence. Give your product a good whiff. Fresh creams and serums typically have a faint, pleasant scent, or none at all. If yours reeks of playdough gone wrong, rancid oils, or anything vaguely off, it's time to say goodbye.
  • The Great Texture Transformation: Next, inspect the texture. Lotions that were once smooth and silky might separate or become clumpy. Gels that were transparent could turn cloudy or develop a film. These changes indicate a breakdown in the formula, rendering the product potentially ineffective or even irritating.
  • The Colour Caper: Keep an eye on the colour of your products too. A slight shift might be okay, but a dramatic change is a red flag. For example, a white moisturiser turning yellow or a clear serum developing a green tinge suggests bacterial growth or oxidation.
  • The Performance Puzzle: Finally, consider the product's performance. Is your hydrating serum suddenly drying? Is your brightening cream no longer giving you that healthy glow? Reduced effectiveness is a sneaky sign that the product's magic might have faded.

While these are the main culprits, a few other factors can shorten a product's life.

 

Top 3 Threats to Skincare Product Effectiveness

Imagine your favourite moisturiser waiting for you in your bathroom, ready to do its duty – hydrating, brightening, or banishing blemishes. But lurking in the shadows are villainous foes: oxygen, light, and sunshine! 

These three factors can weaken your skincare's superpowers, leaving your products less effective. Here’s how:

  • Oxygen: The Silent Spoiler – Think of oxygen as the ultimate party crasher. When a product is exposed to air, oxygen molecules can mingle with the ingredients, causing them to break down and lose their potency. Vitamin C serums, for example, are particularly vulnerable to oxygen's mischief, turning brown and losing their brightening power.
  • Light: The Sneaky Saboteur – Light, both natural and artificial, can be another skincare kryptonite. Harsh sunlight can degrade certain ingredients, especially those derived from plants or retinol (a superstar for anti-ageing). Think of it like leaving your favourite artwork in direct sunlight – it might fade or lose its vibrancy.
  • Sunshine: The Double Whammy – Sunshine combines the worst attributes of both oxygen and light exposure. Those glorious rays might feel good on your skin, but they can wreak havoc on your skincare products. The UV rays accelerate the breakdown of ingredients, diminishing their effectiveness.

 

3 Ways to Ensure Product Health and Safety

Remember, a little detective work goes a long way in keeping your products at peak performance so they can do their best for your skin.

 

  • Premium Packaging: Look for products in air-tight pumps or dark glass bottles. These create a barrier against oxygen and light, keeping your products fresher for longer.
  • Storage Strategies: Store your skincare in a cool, dark place, like a cabinet or drawer. Avoid leaving them on the bathroom sink, especially near windows where they'll get a double dose of sunshine.
  • Travel-Sized Triumphs: When travelling, opt for travel-sized versions of your favourite products. This minimises exposure to air and light, ensuring they stay potent on the go.

 

When in Doubt, Toss It Out

If you're unsure about a product's fate, err on the side of caution. Applying expired skincare can irritate your skin, cause breakouts, or even worsen existing conditions. Remember, healthy skin is happy skin, so don't hesitate to bid farewell to a spoiled product and embrace a fresh start with your skincare routine with the help of Austin Skin.

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