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Does lotion expire? What about moisturizer and cream?

does lotion expire

Is it true that lotion expires? And does that mean that you should just toss out that bottle of expensive moisturizer you bought last year? Or is it that cream doesn’t really expire, but the ingredients do lose their effectiveness over time?

We’re going to cover the question of whether or not lotion expires, as well as what do I do with my old bottles of lotion?

How long does lotion last?

If you have ever purchased a bottle of lotion or another item that says on the bottle “expiration date,” or “best when used by” you may be wondering how long that bottle of lotion or moisturizer will actually last.

And you may want to know if the expiration date on the bottle is really strict so you have to toss out that bottle of lotion that is past its expiration date. Or, maybe it doesn’t matter and the product is still perfectly fine to use.

What is the typical shelf life of body lotion?

Most lotions and moisturizers are designed to be used up within one year of purchase. Although studies show that most lotions can be used longer than one year, but they may start to have limited effectiveness after time.

Tip: if you know you won’t be able to use up that lotion or moisturizer within a year, then just buy it in smaller quantities.

You have heard of horror stories where somebody opened up a bottle of cream and found a cloud of green mold floating around in the bottle. But in reality – that maybe one in a million cases.

There is more that you can do besides looking at the expiration date label.

Did it change its look?

Normally, if you haven’t noticed any mold, then you are fine to continue to use that bottle of lotion past its expiration date.

Read its specific expiration instructions

When it comes to lotions and other items with a label for “best by” expiration dates, the exact date listed there doesn’t matter. Usually, it is just a date roughly a year or two, depending on the product, after manufacturing.  But this practice of course varies among brands.  Read the exact expiration instructions for the product you are using. Then depending on the type of product (a moisturizer or lotion or cream) add a heavy dose of common sense.

Give your lotion/moisturizer a test

There are many different ways to test your lotion to see if it’s still any good.

Here are some tests I use when I am trying to determine whether or not I want to continue using a product that is technically past its “expiration date.”

Test #1 – Look at the bottle and make sure that there is no mold growing in the bottle.

Test #2 – Open the bottle and smell the lotion.  If you notice a strange smell, then it might not be safe for you to use anymore.

Test #3 – Apply a small amount of the lotion to your skin and wait a couple of minutes.

Generally, light-colored lotions are still good.  If the lotion is light-colored, and there is no mold then you can be confident to continue using it.

What does expired lotion look like

Mold.  Green or dark color patches in your cream that don’t belong there.

How you can use expired lotion

If your skin is not particularly sensitive, and you have a bottle of face moisturizer or cream that is past its expiration date, then what I usually do is use it on other parts of my body and just not on my face. This includes your legs, elbows, shins, and knees.

How to properly store lotion and moisturizer

I like to keep my lotions and creams in their original containers. But if you are the type who likes to use a dispenser, then it’s important that you buy a good dispenser. This is because if you store the lotion in a place where it is not covered and is exposed to the air, mold, and bacteria can grow easily.

Plastic is a good option, as it is nice and easy to clean, and will not absorb too much heat making the product expire even faster.

If you have a choice, never store lotions and moisturizers where it’s very warm and humid (like a bathroom where you take steamy showers).  Store them somewhere cool and dry.

If you store your lotions and creams in the fridge, then they will last a bit longer.

Final take

You now know what to do when you have a bottle of lotion technically “expired”, and you know ways to store your lotions and creams better.  If you have any tips or tricks, leave me a comment below.

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