You wouldn't drive with an expired license, you wouldn't eat expired food, so why would you use expired skincare?
Hi, James Vivian here, coming to you from my bathroom.
Do you eat expired food?
Do you tolerate expired relationships?
Well, hopefully not!
Then let’s talk expired skincare. It’s pretty gross, unsafe, ineffective and its taking up essential space in your bathroom cupboard that you could be using on new skincare purchases.
As a dermal clinician, my passion for skincare runs very, very deep. I love using it personally as I am aiming to look 35 forever, and I also love recommending skincare for clients and their concerns.
Skincare has the ability – when of good quality and when selected appropriately – to work incredibly well.
However, even the best skincare in the world has an expiry date. It’s beyond the expiry date that a product's active ingredients have become deactivated, where its preservatives no longer work and where it may even become harmful for you to use!
In the perfect world, the skincare you buy comes home with you and goes directly to your skin. You’re so obsessed with it that you use it until its finished, you even crack open the bottle to ensure you get every last drop. And then you buy another, and the circle of skincare life continues.
However, there are a multitude of reasons why skincare doesn’t get used this way and over time we begin to accumulate lots of skincare that runs the risk of becoming out of date.
Some skincare is made to be used once or twice daily, a cleanser is a fantastic example of this. Whereas, other products like a mask are designed to be used every other day. Regardless, every product you purchase has a defined use by date, and this is made obvious to us by an icon that should be on every skincare product you buy.
It’s an outline of a jar with a number followed by the letter M. The letter M denotes the word month and the number is the number of months that the product will last following its opening.
One thing I often think about is how long a product has actually been around for before I buy it. Let’s say it was made in the US; it then sat in the company's warehouse until it was shipped to Australia to its distributor; it was then ordered by a clinic; and then finally it was purchased by a customer. Skincare is made to be active and effective for 2-3 years, and it may be pushing this before it even gets to you. It’s for this reason that I am a big believer in following suggested use by dates.
If you ask me, if you haven’t yet fallen in love with a product or haven’t used it before its suggested use by date, it’s time to turf it, recycle it or use it on your feet (seriously). And chances are, by now you’ve probably purchased something in its place that you think is the bees knees.
Good quality skincare is often housed in airless containers to preserve the integrity of it's active ingredients and to reduce the amount of preservatives that are required. For products not housed in airless containers, please be mindful that these can even expire sooner.
Storing your skincare out of heat and direct light is also going to ensure that it ages in a predetermined manner, and does not expire sooner.
Signs that your skincare has expired can usually be detected by noticing if there is a change to its original appearance, colour, odour, feel, look and sensation.
Just like with food, it doesn’t look or smell good, bin it baby!
Recently, I gave my bathroom some shelf care. A detox of sorts where I went through all my skincare and threw out what had passed its expiry. It was really interesting to note what I was throwing out and of course recycling where possible.
For anyone considering a shelf care session of their own, pay attention to what you’re discarding as moving forward you can put your resources into the products that you’re using well and truly before they expire. The products that you rrrrreally love.
Skincare isn’t cheap, and skincare does consume a lot of the earths resources, so if we can really pay attention to what we’re buying to ensure that its right for us and we’ll actually use it, we wont run the risk of our skincare expiring. AMEN to that.