Does Moisturizer Go Bad? An Expert Weighs In On When You Should Toss It

If you're a dry-skinned person or a person who appreciates a good dewy complexion, the likelihood of you owning more than one moisturize is high. If you're anything like me, when winter rolls around you've got about eight. So does moisturizer go bad? If you're a cream hoarder like I am, it's a very serious question. No one wants to apply a moisturizer to fix their dry skin or protect their complexion only to have it not work or expose your skin to harmful bacteria. So should you toss out a few of those moisturizers from last year? An expert is here to let you know.

While most beauty lovers know that makeup products can expire, when you think of moisturizers, the answer may not be so obvious. Plus, many moisturizers don't feature clear expiration dates leaving many wondering if there even is one. The truth, however, is that moisturizers do actually expire. That means you'll probably want to start looking through that drawer of cream you've got and try racking your brain on when the purchase was made.

According to Dr. Heidi Waldorf, the Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital, "Anything can go bad. If it is kept at room temperature or cooler, a plain moisturizer may be good for several years." However, Dr. Waldorf explains that there are certain cautions she gives about keeping moisturizers for too long.

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So what's the fuss if you're using an expired moisturizer? According to Dr. Waldorf, they can become less effective, certain types can loss their consistency, and some can even become contaminated. She explains more in-depth stating, "1. Specialty anti-acne of anti-aging ingredients may become less effective, 2. Some ingredients like oils or particles in suspension can separate, 3. Anything in a jar accessed with your fingers can become contaminated with yeast and bacteria."

So what can you do to make sure your moisturizers stay good for as long as possible? Dr. Waldorf says, "To be safe, use your products while fresh. If it is something you use seasonally, store the residual in a room temperature or cool cabinet (a refrigerator can change the consistency of creams containing oils — think of butter). If the product changes color, aroma or consistency, throw it away — or, if it was particularly expensive or newly purchased, contact the manufacturer.

Now that you've got the 411 on whether or not moisturizers expire, check your dates, store your favorites well, and stay hydrated, everyone.