Can Your Face Cleanser Expire?

Let's face it: we've all forgotten at one point or another when we bought our skincare products. If you are a skincare lover with tons of products, odds are you have plenty of products that have been sitting in your cabinet for a long time. While it's always nice to have some variety in your products and a collection to choose from, when you don't remember when they were bought, it's hard to know when they expire. Many products will last you for a long time before they need replacing, but it's always difficult to decipher when it's time to throw a certain product away. Products like facial cleansers are essentials in our routine and hold a significant role in our skincare. Knowing if and when they expire is vital in keeping our skin healthy and glowing.


According to Neostrata, the role of a facial cleanser is to rid the skin of dirt, dead skin cells, makeup, and pollutants so that the pores don't get clogged and cause acne. Cleansers can typically come in one of three forms: gels, creams, and foams. With so much banking on a good working cleanser, it's important to know the status of your product.

Do face cleansers expire?

Like other skincare products, face cleansers have an expiration date. Abigail James, an international facialist and Liz Earle Global Treatments ambassador, explains to Women's Health that the prime age of face cleaners is only up to six to eight months after opening. Depending on the type of cleanser that you have, the ingredients in the cleanser may last sooner or longer than this timeframe.


Curology adds that while it might be difficult to remember the exact date you first opened your face cleanser, there are signs that you can tell if the product has gone bad. Signs include a change of color or texture, the product has separated, or there is a bad smell. Water-based cleansers can even show signs of mold once it has gone bad. Even though your product doesn't show these signs but is still over six months old, it's still possible that your cleanser is no longer working. Many times, these products will include an expiration date in smaller text on the bottle, making it easier to know when to use it. If it doesn't you will simply have to go by the date of opening.

Why you shouldn't use an expired face cleanser

Like you wouldn't consume an expired food product, you should avoid using a face cleanser. Skincare Geeks adds that one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn't use an expired face cleanser is because it's useless. The actives found in your cleanser have a shelf life of six to eight months, after this, they lose their potency. So while your cleanser might look the same, if it has been part of your routine for longer than six to eight months, it's essentially not doing anything that it is supposed to do. Tightly enclosed products may last longer, but there is still a time when they must be thrown away.


According to West Lake Dermatology, the other reason you want to keep a close eye on the expiration date is due to bacteria. Expired products can become a prime location for bacteria to grow and prosper. If you continue to use these products, you run the risk of getting a rash, infection, or acne breakouts. This same risk is run when you apply products by using your fingers to scoop out the product. Unlike food, this bacteria may not always visually present itself for you to see. That's why it is best to keep a running tab of when your products will expire — so you can avoid running any of these risks.