Skin-care Products – How Long Do You Keep Them


As a follow-up to our blog on the safe-keeping of makeup products, we have had enquiries around the subject of skincare items. 

Skin care, of course, is just that – care of the skin – and outdated or contaminated skin products will damage the skin and likely cause breakouts or other signs of unhappiness for this most vital organ of the body.


Most people have a collection of old, outdated or little-used products or backup supplies and multiples of their favourite, or not-so-favourite brands. ‘No, no, no!’, we cry! Skincare is one area where hoarding is really quite common and also totally inappropriate. Even our most organised clients often have a collection of various creams and potions lying forgotten in the deep recesses of the bathroom cabinet.

New laws in the States and the UK have made it imperative for companies to post use-by dates on their skincare products, which only serves to back up what we’re saying here. Even your fave body lotion in that neat pump-action bottle is probably out of date if you purchased it more than a year ago. Oh, no – and I’ve been ‘doing a granny’ on that Estee Lauder fragranced lotion! Quick! I need a date!

Here’s a guide to help you decide!

  • Cleansers contain active ingredients which may become MORE potent in time. This isn’t good news – it won’t save you money. It may however cause breakouts or skin damage. One year at most.
  • SunscreenOne year. If you haven’t used it by then, you’re working too hard!
  • Moisturiser One year. Pumps are better (more hygienic – read below). If you can smell it and it’s not good, bin it. Particularly if it contains alpha hydroxy acids. Do you really want that on your skin, being absorbed into your body? Face it; you should be using it all up.
  • Acne treatmentTwo years. You get a bit longer on this product. Look for expiry dates on products with benzyl peroxide and use your common sense. Does it smell? You know what to do…
  • Natural products? What do you think? Yep! Look for changes in smell, colour and consistency (you know, that dark, sticky ring around the top of the jar?). Natural products happily don’t contain much in the way of preservatives so that makes them vulnerable to spoiling. Use them. No saving.

It makes sense to look after your skin care products by keeping them in a darkened place (that’s why they can get lost below the sink…), use clean hands when dipping your fingers in the jar and close the jar tightly between uses.

Use pump-action products where possible, to keep bacterial contamination to a minimum – they’re easier, anyway. Don’t keep you make-up in the bathroom – perfect areas for bacteria and mould to flourish, and – this must seem obvious (be we all do it – admit it!) don’t leave make-up or skincare in the car. Forget sharing if you haven’t already got that message.

If you do buy doubles of your body lotion or moisturiser when they are on special – yes, they do last longer if they haven’t been opened. But do put them in a place where you regularly keep a stock of bathroom supplies and check if you need more before you hit the shops.

Make it a job, today, that you can complete in a few minutes, and which will truly make a difference to your sense of order and clarity of vision. Go to the dark den of the bathroom cupboard.

Look through your supplies. Smell, touch and check use-by dates – these will become more common in time.
Make three piles: Keep, discard and multiples. Store the multiples where you can find them easily, discard the out-of-date or unloved skincare items, clean the cupboard and return the remaining products with confidence. 
One small task accomplished! Ten minutes. If it takes longer – wow! How much do you own? You really do need to do this! Well done.

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