Skin Health Magazine Issue #10 / Winter 2019 - Page 13

HOW TO... Tell If Your Beauty Products Have Expired N othing lasts forever, no matter how much we want it to. Unfortunately, that means your long-loved moistur- iser won’t stand the test of time and that lipstick you save for special occasions probably won’t make it to the next family wedding. Just like the food you consume, the products you apply to your skin have best before and use by dates that you need to stick to, otherwise be prepared for a spate of unwanted breakouts, inflammation, dryness and irritation. European cosmetics regulation states that all skin care and beauty products must display details of how long a product can be safely used for somewhere on its packaging. This is shown as a Period After Opening or PAO symbol. This looks like an open jar with a number followed by a capital M next to it. The number and letter indicate how many months a product is safe to use after opening, for example, 12M means 12 months after opening and 24M means 24 months or two years. Another symbol to look out for is the Best Before Date, which is used on products that have a general lifespan of less than 30 months, shown as an egg timer with a date next to it such as 04/2019. Most products have a shelf life of 30 months if left unopened and it is on these products where a PAO symbol is used instead. But what if you are unsure how long a product has been open for? Luckily, there are ways to determine if a product you are using has gone bad. If it’s a product you are familiar with, look out for any changes in texture (has it become lumpy and gloopy or turned thin and runny?), appearance (has the colour become dull?) or scent (does it smell funky or has the floral scent turned sour?). For liquids and creams, check if the product has separated and test it on the back of your hand to see if it applies differently. If you can answer yes to any of these, it’s time for your much-loved product to find the bin. Powder products tend to last the longest while cream, liquid and water-based formulas tend to go off quickest, as it’s easier for bacteria and microbes to grow where moisture is present. Eye products are also prone to bacteria and can cause a nasty infection in some instances, so keep a close, erm, eye on those. The best way to keep your skin care and beauty products useable for as long as possible is to limit their chances of contamination. Keeping them somewhere cool and dry will help prevent bacteria growth, while replacing the lids on jars and compacts properly after use will ensure oxidisation is kept to a minimum. It might sound obvious, but applying your skin care with clean fingers and your make-up with clean tools that only you have used will ensure bacteria and microbes can’t be passed around your collection. As a rule of thumb, if it looks weird, smells odd or feels strange, it’s time to say goodbye. Product Expiry Dates Cheat Sheet Cleansers and Toners: 6 months to a year AHA and BHA Exfoliators: Around 12 months Moisturisers: Around 12 months Sunscreen: 12 months to 2 years Liquid Foundation: Around 12 months Pressed and Loose Powder: 2 years or longer Mascara and Eyeliner: 4-6 months Lipstick and Gloss: Up to 2 years ISSUE #10 | 2019 | 13