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Creams and cosmetics: how to understand when they expire

cream jar

Not everyone knows it but creams and cosmetics have an expiration date. Let's find out what it is and how to recognize it.

The creams and cosmetics we use every day have an expiration date even if this is not always easy to recognize.
In addition to worrying about their integrity during use, it is therefore important to understand everything there is to know about the expiry date and, last but not least, the PAO. A very important fact in order not to risk applying a product to the skin which, in addition to having lost most of its effectiveness , could even be harmful .

PAO: what it is and how to recognize it

All the bottles, creams, jars and cosmetic packs we have at home contain an important wording called PAO (Period After Opening) and which indicates the period in which the product can be kept after it has been opened.
This data, which is usually indicated in months, is extremely important and required by law. Even more than the expiration date, which does not matter when a package is opened, knowing how long it can last when in use is really important.

cream jar
cream jar

The PAO obviously varies from one product to another and depends in particular on the type of ingredients (INCI) that compose it. Having said that, it may be useful to know that, in general, opened products also last based on the type. Mascaras, for example, last about six months while creams can last up to twelve. Pencils and eyeliners can last up to two years while face powders, blushes and powder products go up to three years.

Having said that, the PAO is indicated with the word M anticipated by the months of duration of the product. Examples are, therefore, 6M or 12M and in turn indicate 6 months and 12 months of duration.
Of course, you can't always remember exactly how long you've been using a product. Especially if this is not always used and tends to last longer than the others. An example could be sunscreen, hair color or anti-cellulite creams. In these cases you can rely on the expiry date which, however, as already mentioned, is not mandatory.

Fortunately, many companies still tend to indicate it on the various products or on their packaging. In its absence it is important to check the product as best as possible by evaluating its colour, smell and appearance. For example, a cream must not have lumps, while a lipstick must be firm and with a homogeneous color. Having said that, when in doubt, you can follow the general indications given above.

How to act with products still closed

It often happens that you stock up on a certain product and don't know how to handle it in the absence of an expiration date. Although closed, their deterioration still takes place and for this reason it is preferable not to go beyond a time that can be determined indicatively.

For cosmetics in general, it should never go beyond two years but face powders, eye shadows and some lipsticks can last up to five. Also in this case, once opened, it is important to check them carefully in order to ascertain possible problems in time.

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