Can Lotion Go Bad? Does it Expire?

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It’s always a good idea to use lotion to keep our skin moisturized, particularly in the cold, dry months. If you’re like most people, you probably have a huge bottle of lotion because you can save more when you buy the larger size. It’s cheaper, and there are fewer trips to the store (or Amazon orders). 

That big bottle of lotion can last for a long time. But how long do you think lotion lasts?

Can lotion go bad?

The short answer here is yes, lotion can go bad. But it can last for a long time. 

Do you know when it expires? How can you tell when it has gone bad, and how can you prolong the shelf life of lotion?

Those are the questions that we’ll be answering for you below. 


Can Lotion Go Bad?

Cerave Lotion

All skincare and makeup products will go bad at some point, whether they be argan oils, makeup wipes, hair oils, even powder makeups! Lotions go bad too, unfortunately.

Whether you are referring to lotion that’s used for the face or the body, they both can still go bad. 

Whether you are referring to lotion that’s used for the face or the body, they both can still go bad. 

That’s why some lotions come with printed instructions on the bottle to dispose of the product after several months of opening it. The duration will vary from brand to brand. Most of the time, it ranges from 12 to 24 months. 

Some come with an explicitly-written expiration date. Others will have a badge stating “use within 12 months of opening”. These are helpful guidelines when they are present.

However, not all come with an expiration date, because it isn’t really a requirement. But that doesn’t mean that you should use your lotion that was made in the 90s!

Most lotions are water-based. And that moisture content becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria once the preservatives mixed with it stop working. Although preservatives are added to lotions, eventually the preservatives will stop working.

There are oil-based lotions that may be thicker in consistency. As compared to those that are water-based and are more fluid in consistency, the oi-based usually last a bit longer. 

There are oil-based lotions that may be thicker in consistency. As compared to those that are water-based and are more fluid in consistency, the oi-based usually last a bit longer. 

If you like creating your own DIY concoctions when it comes to lotions, the water-baed ones may typically last for a month. That’s because of the absence of preservatives. 

DIY lotions that are free of any liquids can last longer for up to a year. That is if you make sure that you don’t contaminate it.

Whenever you use the product, make sure to use a clean and dry finger or a clean spoon to avoid getting bacteria into your stash. 


How To Tell If Your Lotion Has Gone Bad

Lubriderm Lotion

Although there may be expiration dates on the lotion bottles, it is still possible for the lotion to go bad before it reaches the expiration date. This is more common for the lotions packed in jars as compared to those that have pumps and are airtight. 

That’s because dunking your fingers into the lotion could introduce bacteria, light, air, and water into your lotion. All of which could lessen the shelf life of your lotion. 

Dunking your fingers into the lotion could introduce bacteria, light, air, and water into your lotion. All of which could lessen the shelf life of your lotion. 

There are several ways to tell if your lotion has gone bad and they are as follows:

1. Change In Odor

One of the things you can do to check if your lotion has already gone bad is to smell it. If the odor has changed into something a bit rotten, pungent, rancid, or just different, then it is time for a new bottle. Even if it’s not fully bad, do you really want to slather smelly lotion on your skin?

2. Change In Texture

Another sign to look out for is the change in texture. Sometimes, the components separate as the product expires. Lotions are usually a mix of water and oils plus emulsifiers to form the right consistency. As the degradation of emulsifiers happens, oil and water will naturally separate. 

This can be seen as a watery or oil layer over a clumpy texture at the bottom. When you see this, it’s time to throw that bottle of lotion away. 

3. Change In Color

Most lotions and moisturizers are whitish. Lotions could be white or colorless too. They are packed in air-tight containers or those that are opaque to prevent light and air from getting into them. 

That’s because they can be oxidized, which would lead to a yellow, brown, or orange discoloration of the product. No matter what color your lotion originally has, a change to a more yellow, brown, or orange tinge signifies that it is already expired.

It would be best to dispose of lotion that seems bad rather than risk using it. Lotion that has gone bad can cause skin sensitivity. It may also cause you to develop pimple breakouts.


How To Make Your Lotion Last As Long As Possible

Lotions will go bad eventually. But wouldn’t it be nice if you can get the most out of it when you use it for as long as you can?

Lotions that are expired should be thrown out. But if you want to make sure they don’t go bad before the expiration, then here are a few things you can do. 

1. Proper Storage

You usually see instructions on the lotion to store the bottle in a cool, dry place. That’s exactly what you should do. Exposure to moisture will just speed up the expiration, which could lead to faster degradation of the formula. 

2. Use Clean Fingers

If your lotion is packaged in a tub, always make sure that your fingers are dry and clean when getting some product.

It would be better to use a clean and dry spoon to prevent any bacteria from getting into the product. 

3, Pumps Are A Better Option

If you can choose the packaging, it would be best to get those that come with pumps. In that way, you lessen the risk of contamination. Pumps also make it easy to dispense the product.

4. Always Close The Lid Or Cap

After using the lotion, make sure that the cover, lid, or cap is tightly closed. This will prevent the lotion from getting contaminated. It will also help lessen exposure to light, water, and air which could increase the rate of product degradation. 

Written by Kayla Young

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