Expired makeup? Watch out for bacteria

Sunnybrook dermatologist warns old products could cause infection

With bleary eyes one morning last month, I noticed a teeny tiny date on my skin coverup. And it was a teeny tiny date that had long passed. (Though, I just bought the coverup a couple months ago, I swear.)

I didn’t realize that kind of thing has an expiration date. Did you?

Dr. Kucy Pon, dermatologist at Sunnybrook, says not all skin care products are required to have an expiration date. Many do, though. And you should look for it.

“Generally, cosmetic products — makeup, lotions, creams and sunscreens — can become contaminated over time with bacteria and/or other microorganisms,” she explained. “That is because when we dip our fingers into the creams we introduce contaminants into the products.”

Over time, the preservatives in the products can expire and allow bacteria and microorganisms to grow, she added.

“The ingredients in products can degrade over time, so preservatives may not work as well at preventing bacteria and microorganisms from growing in the creams or makeup,” Dr. Pon said.

Keep a particular eye on the date on your sunscreen, she said.

“Sunscreen ingredients also lose efficacy over time and may not protect your skin from sun damage as well as it should. Active ingredients like vitamin C, glycolic acid or vitamin A acid can also degrade so you are not getting the benefits of these products.”

So, should we toss the expired products from our shelves? Yes.

“Firstly, you may not get the benefits of the active ingredients as they may have broken down and become less effective.  Secondly, the preservatives in the products may not work as effectively and the product may be contaminated with bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms.”

These could potentially lead to a skin infection, or eye infection in the case of mascaras or other eye makeup), Dr. Pon said.

How you dispose of expired products depends on where you live and what is it.

“Things like nail polish, nail polish remover, hair sprays contain chemicals that may be classified as hazardous household waste so best to check with your city’s waste management policies.”

Next rainy Saturday, I better clean out my makeup bag.


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Posted: Oct 7 2018 8:41 am
Filed in: Health & Wellness