A woman holding up a skincare product

Can You Still Use Expired Face Cleanser?

Using expired skincare products like face cleansers is a bad idea. Here's why you should never use out-of-date cosmetics.
Updated: November 9, 2022
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Skincare products are like food, they expire after a certain amount of time. However, the question is, can you still use them after this has happened?

While eating expired food can cause food poisoning, skincare products like face cleansers can bring their own set of issues. Let’s get to the bottom of this.

Expiry dates are important

It’s astonishing how many people either ignore or simply don’t understand the importance of skincare product expiry dates. Most people wouldn’t eat a slice of moldy bread, but apparently have no problem using a face cleanser that is 6 months out of date.

To run you through why keeping track of expiry dates is so crucial, we have written an article HERE that explains everything you need to know. Check it out!

Why you should NOT use expired face cleanser

We’d highly recommend never using expired skincare products in general, but we’re especially hard-line on facial products like cleansers.

Your face is the window to the world, and you need to take care of it to the best of your ability. Here are some reasons why you should avoid using out-of-date cosmetics.

The ingredients are not as effective

The active ingredients used inside skincare products have a shelf life. Once that shelf life has passed, their potency and effectiveness diminish the longer time goes on. In other words, the product becomes essentially useless, and can’t deliver what it was designed to do. We’d love it if ingredients stayed efficient forever, but that’s just not the case.

The skin can become damaged

Not only can the active ingredients become less effective, but they can also cause problems as they expire. The risk of your skin having reactions to expired products is greatly increased. Rashes, redness, irritation, sensitivity, and other unpleasant responses are all quite common when out-of-date products are used regularly. This is obviously something that is best avoided.

How to correctly store products

The way you store your skincare and cosmetics can have a huge effect on how long they are good to use. Storing them incorrectly can have a hugely negative impact on their longevity, and you’ll find yourself needing to go out and spend the pennies more regularly than you’d like.

Always avoid keeping your products within reach of direct sunlight or heat. These elements can damage the active ingredients inside and accelerate the expiration process. The ideal way to store your products is in cool, dark areas like bathroom cupboards, away from windows, or any heat sources. This way you can ensure your creams, serums, and other products will last as long as they are supposed to.

In conclusion

Facial cleanser, and every other skincare product, should only be used within their recommended window. Once a product expires, the effectiveness of its ingredients decreases, while the risk of side effects increases.

We know the desire to save money is a strong one, but putting your skin at risk might see you paying a bigger price.

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.