Have your products changed consistency? Maybe even changed color or have a different smell? They may be expired!
Most skincare and makeup products will have a PAO or period-after-opening symbol. This symbol identifies the shelf life of a product after its packaging has been open.
You’ll see the product marked by an open jar symbol, usually with a time period given in months, followed by the words “month(s)” or with an “M” inside or next to the jar symbol, such as “12M.”
How To Tell If Your Skincare Products Have Expired.
Typically, you can tell if your products have expired by their consistency. It may have separated, becoming either runny or lumpy. If it hasn't changed consistency, maybe it has a strange smell or doesn't feel the same on the skin as before.
Both PAO and expiration date are determined by factors including where a product is stored, how it’s handled, and its chemical makeup. A product’s expiration date or shelf life determines the amount of time it takes for the product to be as effective. Usually the PAO symbol is written on the outer box your product comes in.
How Long Most Skincare Products Last?
Cleansers: 1 year
Toners: 6 months to 1 year
Face Masks: 6 months
BHA or AHA exfoliants: 1 year
Moisturizers and serums: 6 months to 1 year
Lip balm: 1 year
Using products after their PAO or expiration date won't be as effective. Products with ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will be less effective at treating acne. SPF products past their expiration date or PAO will not be as effective as protection your skin from harmful UVA or UVB rays.
Just remember, expired products lose their efficacy! Be sure to keep track of when they have been opened for best results. You can do this by using a permanent marker to write the date the product was opened, along with the expiration date for best results. And if your products have expired, just throw them away!