Does Face Wash Expire?

With so many options on the market, it’s easy to get carried away when buying our skincare essentials. Before we know it, the products have piled up, and some of them are barely used. So you’ve probably wondered at some point if facial washes expire, especially since some products don’t have expiration dates on the tube or bottle. 

Face wash does expire after two years. Some facial washes don’t have an explicit expiration date. Instead, they go by a “Period After Opening,” which indicates how long a product remains in optimum condition once opened. This can be anywhere between six months to a year or beyond. 

The rest of this article will answer commonly asked questions about facial washes by skincare lovers. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, keep reading. 

Does Face Wash Expire?

Technically facial washes do expire, as there is a certain point until which specific ingredients in the product start to degrade and lose potency. So they may no longer be effective and may even have unwanted effects on the skin.

To make the most of your facial wash, check the expiration date before purchase. The expiration date is usually fixed and is set after a certain period post-manufacture. If you can’t commit to using the product consistently, don’t buy one close to this date. 

However, if you want to buy multiple facial washes without racing against a looming expiration date, you can opt for products with a PAO instead. You can keep these in your drawer longer without worrying about the timer running. 

One thing to remember, however, is that some expiration dates, like on the food you see in grocery stores, are the sell-by dates and can be used past the dates indicated on the package.

Is It Okay To Use Expired Face Wash?

Unlike medications that must be immediately discarded when they expire, the rules aren’t as rigid regarding skincare products. These dates usually only indicate that beyond that point, the product may lose effectiveness. 

It’s okay to use an expired facial wash for a while until you can replace it. If the product’s consistency, scent, or color remains unchanged, it is considered safe for use. However, if there are any changes, discard the product to be on the safe side. 

There are conflicting schools of thought on this subject. Some people say it is safe, while others would beg to differ. Your safest move would be to check the tube or bottle for any explicit warnings not to use the product after the expiry date or PAO. 

Does Expired Skincare Cause Acne?

If a product is not too far past the expiration date or PAO, most people consider it safe to use with no unwanted effects on the skin. However, remember that after these dates, the product ingredients may start to lose potency or effectiveness. 

Expired skincare does not cause acne. However, if you use an anti-acne product beyond its expiration or PAO, you may no longer see the results you previously enjoyed. It might seem like the product is causing acne when all that’s happening is it’s simply less effective in preventing it. 

The primary function of facial washes is to cleanse the skin by removing makeup and sebum buildup. If the ingredients lose their potency, the cleansing action may be diminished, resulting in acne breakouts

There’s no way to predict what chemical reactions may occur after a product expires or if the formula is still stable after the expiry date. Thus, if you start breaking out, stop using the expired product altogether.  

How Do You Tell if Beauty Products Are Expired?

To tell if your beauty products are expired, check the packaging. If there’s no explicit expiry date shown, then look for the PAO. The Period After Opening usually appears as a jar icon, with a number followed by “M” to indicate months. 

If 12M is indicated on the product, it means it is good for 12 months after opening. You are strongly advised against using products beyond their PAO. However, if you are unsure about when the product was first opened, you can tell if the product is expired based on the following:

  • Color: Any discoloration should be considered a clear sign that the product has expired and is no longer safe to use.
  • Consistency: Changes in consistency sometimes occur before changes in color. When the product starts to feel stickier or more diluted, the time has come to discard it. 
  • Texture: When a smooth product starts to feel grainy or starts clumping together, discontinue use immediately.
  • Smell: Any changes in smell indicate that the product has started to go bad and is unsafe for use. 

If these changes start to occur even before the expiration date, you should still discontinue usage immediately. It may mean the product has become contaminated or may signal a problem with the formulation. 

In some instances, the changes in the product are not detectable and may appear perfectly fine. The only indicator of the product going bad is your skin’s reaction to it. 

Here are some adverse reactions to look out for:

  • Itching: The itching may affect only the face, or it may include the hands or any skin surface that came in contact with the product.
  • Redness: Unusual redness signals a reaction, especially if accompanied by itching.
  • Tingling: A tingling sensation may start immediately upon contact with the product or even after you’ve rinsed it off. 
  • Burning sensation: One of the more severe reactions is a burning sensation that usually begins soon after contact with the product. 

If any of these symptoms occur and worsen, get yourself checked by a professional immediately. You can also use body wash as a conditioner, as I indicated in this article.

Final Thoughts 

Face washes can be safe for use for as long as two years. However, some have a much shorter expiry date, usually indicated on their packaging. When an expiration date is not indicated, the PAO shows how long the product is good for. If both of these dates have elapsed, you are strongly advised to discontinue usage of the product.

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