We have all done it before … using that precious last bit of makeup, even though it may be expired. Whether it is because of not wanting to waste the money you’ve spent or just because you are in a pinch and can’t make it back to the store, using expired makeup can ultimately have harmful health effects on your skin.
Much like food expiration dates, timetables for makeup do serve a very important purpose. As Hadley King, M.D., and the dermatologist at New York City’s SKINNEY Medspa notes, your makeup’s texture, moisture, and the product in general changes over time; regardless of whether you are looking at blush, eyeshadow, mascara, or lipstick. As such, the active ingredients within your makeup change as well, causing it to become less efficient. King uses the SPF within foundation as a fine example, noting the sun protection within the product will not be as effective past its date of expiry.
However, MSN says the real concern is how expired makeup can damage an individual’s skin. As the molecules within your makeup break down over time, the real risk is your skin’s reaction to it; which can lead to irritation and inflammation, which further translates into bumps, redness, a rash – or even worse – swelling and blisters on your face.
Lastly, expired makeup is a haven for bacteria; which mean more irritation, and bumps on your skin that can resemble acne. When thinking of the makeup you use around your eyes, expired products like mascara, eyeliner, or even eyeshadow can produce bacterial infections such as pink eye; which are not only harmful, but quite painful and itchy as well. Expired lipstick can result in swelling and blistery lips.
So what is the rule of thumb? Lipstick can be replaced every 18 months; blush, powder, and foundation yearly; eyeshadow and eyeliner every six to twelve months; and the average expiration date for mascara is only three months.