SKINCARE PRODUCT SHELF LIFE & EXPIRATION
Under current United States law, there are no regulations or requirements that mandate cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to determine shelf life for products as part of their responsibility to substantiate product safety.
The Expiration Date is the date after which the cosmetic product will be expired and should not be used anymore. To clarify how long you can use a product once it is opened, the Period After Opening (PAO) sign is more frequently being utilized by American cosmetic companies. An open jar sign is followed by a number and the letter M, where the number indicates the number of months the product can be safely used after opening. For example, 12M would indicate that the product is safe for use for 12 months after opening. If a product does not show an expiration date or a PAO sign, the user may contact the customer care department of the company that produced the product and ask for it.
Shelf life guidelines developed by the cosmetic industry varies depending on the product and its intended use. The shelf life for eye-area cosmetics is usually more limited than for other products. Due to repeated microbial exposure during use by the consumer and the possible risk of eye infections, manufacturers usually recommend discarding mascara three to four months after purchase. When mascara dries out, discard it. Do not add water or, even worse, saliva to moisten it, as that may introduce bacteria into the product.
Other cosmetics that may have unusually shorter shelf lives include "all natural" products that often contain plant-derived substances conducive to microbial growth. In addition, products that contain non-traditional preservatives or no preservatives at all may have an increased risk of contamination.
Expiration dates are simply "rules of thumb," and a product's safety may expire long before the expiration date. Cosmetics exposed to high temperatures or sunlight, or opened and examined by consumers prior to being purchased may deteriorate substantially before the expiration date.
Sharing makeup increases the risk of contamination. "Testers" commonly found at department store cosmetic counters are more likely to become contaminated than the same products purchased for individaul use. To test a cosmetic before purchasing it, apply it with a new, unused applicator, such as a fresh cotton swab.
Makeup Longevity Industry Recommendations (approximate)
- Lipstick: 1 year
- Foundation: 1 year
- Mascara: 4 months
- Powders and Eye Shadows: 2 years
Parabens are preservatives, a class of compounds that prevent the inevitable overgrowth of a wide spectrum of bacteria, fungus and yeast from contaminating a skincare product. Parabens are effective, very stable compounds and lack side effects. Parabens are derived from PHBA, para-hydroxybenzoic acid, which occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables including carrots, onions, and blueberries. But they have a bad reputation.
In the 1990's, several studies suggested that parabens have very weak estrogenic activity. In 1998, a study concluded that the most potent paraben, butylparaben, had 10,000 to 100,000-fold less estrogenic activity than estradiol, a naturally occurring estrogen. In 2004, a British study found traces of parabens in breast cancer tissue but failed to look at the presence of parabens in the normal tissue. The study failed to show that the parabens caused the tumors or were harmful in any way. Regardless, the fear of parabens propagated rapidly and manufacturers were quick to appease consumers by offering "paraben-free" skincare products. To date, there is still no conclusive scientific data that proves deleterious effects of parabens. Nor is there epidemiological evidence linking parabens to breast cancer. Regulatory organizations in Japan, Europe, and the United States continue to support the use of parabens as a preservative.
THE BEST ANTI-AGING PRODUCT
Other than sun avoidance, sunscreen application is the single most effective anti-aging preventative.
Poison Ivy, also known as rhus dermatitis, is caused from an allergic reaction to the oil resin, urushiol, found in the leaves, stems and roots of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. It is very common in the summer months.
The classical rash is a red blistering eruption seen in straight lines due to the way the plant brushes against the skin. If contact to the resin is a result of touching a piece of clothing, or from touching a pet that has been romping through the woods, the rash may appear more spread out. Inhaling smoke from a burning poison ivy, sumac, or oak plant may even cause a dangerous irritation to the nasal passges and lungs.
Once the oil resin is on the skin, it can be spread to other parts of the body by sctratching. Rhus dermatitis is often a very itchy rash and if untreated may last for several weeks. The rash itself is NOT contagious.
If contact to any of these plants occurs, immediately rinse yourself off with lukewarm water. Use a cleanser to wash away any remnant oil resin from your skin. Oil from poison ivy can stick to many different surfaces. Wash the clothing that may have contacted the plant. Rinse off patio furniture, garden tools, golf clubs, and even the fur on a pet.
A mild case of poison ivy may be treated at home with calamine lotion, over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistamines to control the itch. Do not open a blister as this may lead to infection. Cool compresses may help relieve the itchy symptoms. If the rash is severe or widespread, affects the face or genitals, if blisters are oozing pus, or if a fever develops, seek medical attention immediately.
BROAD SPECTRUM Explained
What does Broad Spectrum mean on a sunscreen label?
The sun emits two types of harmful rays: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays are the dominant tanning rays and are a major cause of skin aging and even skin cancer. UVB rays are predominantly the cause of sunburn and skin cancers, but can also contribute to the development of fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles. UVA rays penetrate through glass windows, UVB rays do not.
Broad Spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Purchase sunscreen that says "broad spectrum" on the label!
Search Our Blog!
Welcome to Fully Exposed
Hello, and welcome to FryFace!
I've been a New York based dermatologist for over 25 years. I love music. I love triathlons. I love chemistry. (I love petroleum jelly.) I study skincare ingredients and product formulation. I listen to skincare "advice" from self-proclaimed ......Read More