When it comes to beauty and body products, you often don’t think about the shelf life. But letting that expiration date sit at the back of your mind isn’t always the best thing. As it turns out, most of these products do go bad after a period of time. One of these products is lotion.
So does lotion expire?
Yes! Not only does it expire, but expired lotion can cause topical irritation to your skin. But it is also absorbed into the bloodstream which can end up causing further health issues. Also, expired lotions and moisturizers are not nearly as effective as they were when you first bought them. So even if expired lotion won’t necessarily hurt you, it also isn’t helping your skin either.
Unfortunately, not all lotion has a set expiration date. The FDA doesn’t have any official statements stating the shelf life of lotions and different moisturizers. In fact, they don’t even require companies to put an expiration date on these products. But there are some guidelines that can guide you in the right direction.
Under ideal conditions, lotion can last up to three years. Ideal conditions for storing lotions and moisturizers include proper lighting and temperature.
Since ideal conditions aren’t always to easiest to maintain, these types of products will likely expire before the three-year mark. As a good rule of thumb, the best shelf life for lotion and moisturizer is about one year.
Since there is no exact time period that lotion or moisturizer goes bad, it can be tricky to figure out when you should throw something away. Here are some signs to look for that will reveal if your moisturizer is expired yet.
For one, you should know that lotion and moisturizers are emulsions. This means that, over time, the solution will begin to separate in the container. When this happens, you can try to shake the mixture back up. But if it is too separated, that’s generally a pretty obvious sign that it’s not worth using anymore.
More signs that your moisturizer is expired are any physical changes. A pretty noticeable physical change to look out for is the color. Another one is the odor. If there is any change in color or odor, you can safely assume that the expiration date has passed.
Like we said before, ideal conditions for storing lotion and moisturizer consist of two things: lighting and temperature. Here’s how to store these types of products properly to increase the longevity of their shelf life.
When it comes to temperature, room temperature is best for storing lotion. Keeping it in a cupboard or container that isolates the lotion is going to help keep the temperature stable. This is important because heat contributes to the multiplication of bacteria. So if these products are exposed to heat in any way, bacteria will grow and expire at a faster rate.
You also want to keep lotion and moisturizer out of the light. For one, light is a heat source. Heat is only going to contribute to the growth of bacteria.
Those are the main two factors that contribute to properly storing lotion. But something else that can help is the container. Using a pump is best, as it works against cross-contamination. But for lotions and moisturizers in a jar or a tub, you often would have to use your fingers to scoop the product out of the container. If this is the type of container you have, we recommend using a wooden stick or any other applicator to scoop the product out instead of your fingers.
The first and main reason why you shouldn’t use expired lotion is its effectiveness. The truth is that when your lotion or moisturizer expires, it simply will stop working nearly as well as it used to. This is because the active ingredients that have benefits for the skin become inactive.
Another risk of using expired lotion is the consistency. When you first buy a lotion, the consistency is creamy and refreshing. On the other hand, expired lotion has a lumpy consistency that doesn’t feel nearly as good on the skin. In fact, it can even cause some skin irritation.
Lastly, don’t even get us started on the bacteria in expired lotion. Since not a lot of people can keep their products in ideal conditions most of the time, bacteria are bound to multiply. So imagine putting all of that harbored bacteria on your skin? It’s not surprising that it would cause some irritation and possibly other skin concerns.
If you’ve ever wondered if your lotion or moisturizer has an expiration date, the answer is yes. They usually have an expiration date of around one year. If used beyond this date, you run the risk of skin irritation or the product simply not working any longer. So store your lotions and moisturizers properly by keeping them at room temperature and out of the light. You’ll thank yourself later.
As we mentioned before, there are actually a lot of risks of using expired lotion. If you are someone with a history of sensitive skin or skin concerns, stay away from any expired body product. Some people can get away with using expired lotion without having a reaction. But we advise everyone and anyone to not take the risk of using expired lotion.
The best container for properly storing lotion and moisturizer is anything where you don’t have to stick your fingers in the product. Containers with a pump are often the best choice because it’s easy to use and prevents cross-contamination. Avoid containers like tubs or jars because you have to stick your fingers in the product.
There are some tips to maximize the longevity of lotions and moisturizers. You should only buy products from brands that you trust and not third-party sellers. Along with that, make sure that any product you buy has a seal and has never been opened. Although a lot of these products don’t have expiration dates, still check the packaging to see if there’s one there. Lastly, make sure you’re keeping your products in the best conditions possible.